Decision Time

When I moved, I drastically reduced my book collection.  Since then, I’ve made sure that I only purchase books that I know I will read again.  Otherwise, I get them from the library or borrow them from friends.  The idea is to keep my shelves under control; if I didn’t put a limit on it, I’d have to buy bookshelves all the time.

I’ve loosened on that rule a bit with my new e-reader, but now I find myself facing a dilemma.  There is a book that I’ve read before, which I borrowed from a friend.  I want to re-read it, and I know that it is one I want to add to my collection.  I could get it for the Nook, pay a few dollars less, and have it right now.  Or I could work on acquiring it in paper form.  This might mean ordering it online, buying it at the nearby book store, or hoping that the used book store eventually has a copy. 

This really comes down to a question of why I want to own the book.  If the only point of getting the book is to be able to read it whenever I want, then the Nook version should be sufficient.  If the reason I want it is not only to have it readily accessible, but to also have it displayed on my shelf and available to loan to friends, then I need the paper version. 

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Childlike Reading Habits

When I was a kid, I never read one book at a time.  I might have one book I was reading at school, another in the living room, a third by my bed, a fourth…  Well, you get the picture.  My usual number was three, the most I remember at once was six.  On top of that, I never used a bookmark, or marked my place in any way.  I just picked up the book, flipped to where I had stopped, and kept reading.

Of course, once I switched from young reader and young adult books to adult fiction, I had to start using a bookmark.  And I tried to stick to one book at a time.  (Occasional National Geographic breaks don’t count.)

I find myself falling back into the habits of my youth with the Nook.  It remembers where I am in a book, so I don’t need to use a bookmark.  I can flip back and forth between different books without a problem.  I’ve recently been alternating between Theodore Rex and Pride and Prejudice, with occasional forays into book samples when I feel like shopping.

It feels like a return to my childhood.

The Benefit of Free

In the past two weeks, I’ve seen the advantage of offering a free sample.

When we were on our trip, my parents and I went on a free tour of a Black Hills Gold jewelry maker.  Before the tour, while we perused the display cases of the store, I noticed several pieces that were quite lovely.  However, as I told my parents, while I appreciate the artistry of jewelry, I just don’t wear it often enough to justify buying any.  Then we went on the tour of their factory (a word which somehow doesn’t seem to fit the work space we were in) and I learned very cool things about the way the pieces are made and the traditions of “Black Hills Gold” jewelry.  Returning to the showroom, I had a new appreciation for the product and ended up splurging a necklace for myself.

I had a similar experience with my new Nook.  When it comes to e-books, the free sample concept is how I’ve been deciding if I want to pay for a book or not.  My first official purchase was Theodore Rex, which I saw in a bookstore but didn’t buy.  It was pricey on my Nook (although cheaper than the hard copy), so I didn’t purchase it right away.  Instead, I downloaded a sample.  After about 50 e-pages, I was hooked, and the price no longer seemed too steep.

If you are going to self-publish as an e-book, you should have the option of providing a sample, typically set as a percentage of the novel.  My advice is to do it.  Even if you aren’t charging a lot for your book, that sample may be how people decide if they want to risk a couple of bucks on a story by a new author.

As if the bookstore wasn’t bad enough…

I love my new Nook.  It’s a very fun way to read, and once I have my cover I’m sure I’ll be carting it around with me everywhere.  I also love the “sample” feature that lets me read part of the book before I commit.

But if living a few blocks away from a bookstore wasn’t bad enough, now I have one in my living room.  So far, the particular books I’ve searched for are pricey enough that I haven’t been willing to buy them, but today I finally gave in today and paid for one.

Hopefully the combination of library e-books and real books will help me stay smart about my book purchases!

Officially Electronic

My parents gave me a Nook for my birthday.  As my mom knew I was on the fence about an e-reader, she asked me first before purchasing it.  I think this might be the second or third time she’s offered it as a gift, but the first time I didn’t immediately say no.  Honestly, I had to think about my answer for about a day.  (That’s the reality of being on the fence, after all.)

Obviously I decided to join the e-reader revolution and go for it.  After pondering the pros (easy access to books, recommendations from some of you) and the cons (I really like the feel and smell of books), what finally decided me is the library.

That’s right, the library.

My local library has electronic copies of books that can be checked out for use on an e-reader.  I haven’t learned how to do it yet (I just got the Nook yesterday) but a friend of mine tells me that it’s pretty straightforward.  With my current Wheel of Time quest, I figured it was an even easier way to get the next book quickly.

As a bonus, while I was reading the owner’s manual (the only thing that came already installed) a free copy of Pride and Prejudice appeared on my e-reader!  I haven’t read it yet (go ahead and give me grief if you want) but now I don’t have any excuse.  🙂