Last September I bought an eReader, primarily so that I could, within five years, completely eliminate my physical book accumulation problem. Something tells me it’s not going to happen that quickly.
I have read 24 eBooks now and I love the device. I love its portability and the fact I can read one-handed and can take several books with me wherever I go. I love being able to easily take notes and highlight memorable passages without having to carry anything extra. I love being able to increase the font size when my eyes are tired. I love being able to hide that I’m reading when in a meeting. I would happily switch to all eBooks all the time tomorrow if it were possible.
What I don’t love, and the reason it won’t be possible tomorrow or within the next couple of years at least, is the lack of availability of books (especially new releases) and the prices of the ones I am allowed to buy. Here’s some details of 5 books I’ve recently bought (or tried to buy)
Sometimes it’s not cheaper to buy an eBook at all which, to my mind, is madness. How can it possibly cost the same price or more for an eBook (which I don’t own in the same way that I do a print book)? But what makes even less sense is the range of eBook prices between Australia and the rest of the world. And geo-restrictions are of course madness of a different kind.
I think it’s become a little more difficult to buy eBooks in Australia over the past 7 months, as UK stores stopped selling to us shortly after I bought my Reader and American stores never have. Borders (which had the largest selection of eBooks locally) is…well…a mess since sliding into bankruptcy proceedings earlier this year. I know the administrators claim the eBook store is going to be around a while but I don’t believe them and their practices have been fairly repugnant (not honouring gift vouchers etc) so I have no desire to do business with them anyway. Which basically leaves me a couple of local eBook stores with fairly limited ranges (Dymocks lists 600 books with the mystery/thriller tag in its digital store) or using the Kobo store which means sending my money off shore (but at least not to the big guy).
I bought my Sony eReader quite deliberately. I didn’t want to buy a Kindle. I wanted to support a different product (and therefore a different retailer) because I have never known a near-monopoly to ever work out well for the consumer in the long run and the only way you avoid a monopoly occurring is to support the competition. But it’s expensive having principles and I don’t know that I could in all honesty recommend to anyone else the hassle (having to search multiple eBook sites before making a purchase) and expense of choosing the other guy. Though it is nice to know that if we get to the point there’s only one book retailer left on the planet and they suddenly start charing an arm and a leg for every book it won’t have been my fault 🙂
I’m curious to hear from other Australian eBook readers, especially those of you using something other than a Kindle as your main eReader. Are your experiences similar to mine? Better? Do you have suggestions for how I could improve the experience? Would you recommend your non-kindle set up if someone asked your advice?