Now I have a bit of a moral dilemma. See, I got a Barnes & Noble Nook for Christmas. (I didn't actually get it until two weeks ago, but that's okay, it was still two weeks earlier than they said I'd get it.) I absolutely love it. (I have set up both a Kindle2 and my Nook and I think the Nook is much better - better organized and no fiddly joystick.)
I bought a nook as a Christmas present to myself. By the way, have you installed the new firmware update? It improves the issues with bookmarks and lets you sort the My Documents folder (the sideloaded content).
I don't care about the feel of the paper or the smell of the binding, or rows of read books taking up space in my house. I just want the words and the story taking up space in my head. The Nook, for me, is a very pleasant way to carry and read books. One of the big draws for me was the price of the ebooks. The price of books is a deterrent, especially considering there's no guarantee I'll like it. (Same reason I don't go to the movies much.)
I wound up buying books I wouldn't have bought because they were available for $9.99. I might have waited for the paperback, or just as likely, I would have forgotten to buy them when the paperback came out. For example, I bought a "Nordic Noir" thriller set in Finland (because I'd read reviews on blogs and elswhere). I'm also thinking of buying Murder on the Cliffs: A Daphne Du Maurier Murder Mystery -- despite mixed reviews. I even considered buying the new Robin Cook novel because it was $9.99, even though I never bought him in hardcover before. Especially as I was trying to cut down on my hardcovers. (I'm going to have to scale back on e-books, in fact, now that I've seen my credit card statement. ) Anyway, I really hope readers aren't going to be made to feel guilty for buying books at lower prices. Especially when they wouldn't have bought those books as hardbacks to begin with.
It reminds me of my book buying when I owned a membership to one of those discount warehouse chains. "Ooh, this new thriller is $26, but their price is barely $13, so I'll give it a try." I'd add it to the cart, along with the grapefruit and cheee sticks. Yet at Borders, I would have ignored the hardcover unless it was by an author I was really familiar with. (This was before Borders started putting out all those 30% off coupons.)
On Fictionwise, I have bought e-book editions for $15 to as much as $26, but only when there was some special offer -- such as a rebate that gives part of the price back to me in store credits. Sometimes I'll decide to get the Fictionwise edition instead of the $9.99 edition just to get the special offer.
What I've been hoping these ereaders and cheaper digital book pricing would do for the industry is increase volume. I've bought three books in three weeks. With one income, two children, mortgage and yadda yadda, these prices make it much more worth the risk of purchasing a book that might disappoint.
If ebooks came out at the same price as their hardcover equivalent, I'll be back in the tight spot of buying fewer books.
What do I hope for? What do I do?
It was because of the price that I bought Eric Flint's 1632 as an e-book when it first came out. I know that not all publishers can use Baen as an example because Baen is smaller -- but they should at least pay some attention to what Baen has been doing.
And by the way, I would be happy if the publishers would actually discount the e-books once the paperback edition came out. There are tons of Macmillan e-books on Fictionwise that are still stuck on hardcover prices. For example, there's a J. V. Jones fantasy novel on Fictionwise from 2003 that is $19.95, but of course it's been available in mass market since 2004. Heck, the Kindle edition is $9.99 -- more than the paperback. I know that a lot of these prices got "stuck" because the e-book readership levels so low that publishers didn't think it worth their while. But at the same time, prices like that (and DRM and other issues) helped keep the e-book readership levels low.
The few people who wanted to spend $17 and more for e-books were customers who lived outside the U.S. because those prices were so much cheaper than the hardcover prices they had to pay. And now they're being told they can't buy e-books in the U.S. because of geographical restrictions -- and yet they often aren't being given an equivalent storein their own countries.