My limited take on e-books, e-readers, publishers, libraries
June 19, 2012 — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, books, e-books, e-readers, Kindle, libraries, Nook, publishers
I recently just got my second Nook. The first one was the First Edition; this one, the Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™. I chose the Nook initially because of the option of borrowing books from library, which was at the time unavailable on the Kindle, and the ability to get books from other sources besides one source, i.e. Amazon. I even could, and still can (at least until January 31, 2013) purchase e-books from independent bookstores through Google Books.
Since that first Nook, Kindle also has the option of borrowing books from the library. However, even with the addition of the Fire, my opinion remains unchanged on the Kindle. I still prefer the Nook, partially because they were one of the first e-readers to embrace the option of borrowing books from the library and the ability to get books, free or otherwise, from other sources besides its own store. The other part is that I just like the ease of use of the Nook, and am sold on the GlowLight. I don’t need all the bells and whistles the Fire or Nook Tablet has. I already have a very nice laptop and TV on which I can surf the Internet and watch Netflix, thank you very much.
I do believe in supporting my local bookstore. To that end, as I’m working as a library assistant at our local library, I often refer patrons to the store if there is a book we don’t have or is unavailable on interlibrary loan. I always let them know that the owners will do their best to find them deals on the books for which they are searching, because I know they will — as much as the owners are possible to do so. Why I made that last caveat is because tonight, after I did search for a book for a patron and none of the other libraries in the state system had it, I went to Amazon just to price the book and it was listed at about $68 whether used or new because it evidently is a rare book. I don’t know if the owners of the local bookstore would be able to find it for much cheaper than that price, although one never knows.
All that said about supporting our local bookstore, personally I’d rather get a free book, whether a physical copy or an electronic version from our library or another library. When searching for a book, I usually look to see if we have an electronic version of it; if we don’t, I then go to the Free Library of Philadelphia online to see if they have an electronic version of it. If neither place has it and it’s something I really have to read, and I can’t wait for it (which is usually only once or twice a year), I will see if the local bookstore has it, either a physical copy or an electronic version. I also won’t lie in that I will search Barnes & Noble online for it, to see if they have a good deal on it. To me, like most casual readers, the bottom line is the cheapest copy.
I rarely search Amazon, just because I know how they treated the owners of our local bookstore when they were affiliates for Amazon and also because of Amazon’s rapacious policies against indepedent bookstores. I choose to stand in solidarity with the owners against Amazon in that way. However, when patrons ask me which to purchase, a Kindle or a Nook, I tell them honestly that I wouldn’t have considered a Nook even if my brother-in-law hadn’t had a Kindle– a Kindle which he later gave to my wife when he upgraded to a Fire. I first remember seeing his original Kindle and being blown away by it.
I also like that with the Kindle, it is super easy to borrow books from a library. Basically, all you have to do is hit “Get for Kindle,” sign in to your Amazon account and then borrow the book. With the Nook, you have to use Adobe Digital Editions and transfer the book to your computer, then to the Nook through ADE. That makes the Kindle much easier to use for borrowing library books, but I’ve gotten so used to using ADE, it really doesn’t bother me to plug my Nook into the computer either.
Recently a patron asked me which she should buy: a Kindle or a Nook. After talking about it a little bit, she mentioned that she already had purchased e-books from Amazon to use on a Kindle computer app. For me, it only made sense that she should buy a Kindle, since she already had the e-books from Amazon there. Unfortunately, with Amazon, the only way you can access their e-books is through one of their devices. It would be foolish for her to have to buy the e-books again from another source.
I also did recommend the Kindle Fire to her because of the size of the screen since she mentioned she was having difficulties with her eyes recently and also because of the other applications it had since she said she was looking for something beyond an e-reader. However, if she hadn’t had the limitation of having her e-books from Amazon already, I would have recommended the Nook Tablet to her — or even a tablet by another company, perhaps a Samsung Galaxy.
I will be completely honest in that I don’t understand everything that is going on concerning e-books, the battles among publishers, libraries and book and e-book distributors like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In fact, I’m a little confused on who are wearing the white hats and who are wearing the black hats. It depends on whom and what you read (only two small samples of the varied opinions out there). The only thing I do know, for sure, is that in the end, somehow, some way the casual reader will be screwed and the costs of e-books will increase, with e-books being sold in limited quantities to libraries or maybe not at all. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy as many free (and cheap) books on my NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™ from the library as I can and try to ignore the melee happening around me.
What are your own thoughts on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, e-books, e-readers, bookstores and publishers? Or are as you confused as I am about it all?