My Dad, discussing his PR-505 e-reader (which he used to love): “You know, I hardly use it anymore, because either it’s impossible to buy the books I want (in English), or because they’re so stupidly expensive. I wanted to buy a Marc Lévy book online, but they sold it for the same price as the hardback–when the paperback was available for about a third of that price.”
Yeah. You and me both. I continue to have hopes that the system is going to sort itself out, but the current trend is geared towards worse rather than better (georestrictions locking us French out of the English booksellers, high prices due to so-called “delivery costs” from the US–seriously, delivery costs of e-things?)
Despite my many rants about them, I’ve decided to give and purchase an e-reader (a Sony PRS 650… I’d love a reader with wi-fi, but the only condender is the Kindle and that doesn’t support epub… RAGE!). Mainly I want it so I can read magazines like BCS and Apex, as well as the books you can download as DRM-free pdfs. But John Scalzi made an interesting point with ebooks, that publishers thought we were buying hardbacks because they were released early, so so they priced early release ebooks the same (apologies, I can’t find the post for the life of me). But we were buying hardbacks because they look good and last longer, they’re more tactile and look better on our shelves, which are the exact qualities that ebooks lack.
Dylan, I’ve seen the blog post (I thought it was Paul Cornell, actually, but he might have been making the same point as John Scalzi). It was fascinating to see the disconnect between reader and publisher’s perception–and yeah, the very reasons we buy hardbacks are so against ebooks.
I also bought my ereader for the same reasons as you–read online magazines and DRM-free books. I have to say the new Locus digital edition is fantastic to have on an ereader–saves up tons of space, and a very pleasant reading experience altogether. The Sony PRS-650 is apparently a very good little machine–certainly, if I had to buy an ereader today, I’d incline either towards the PRS-650 or the Pocketbook, but Sony has the edge in terms of widespread customer service.