Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Formats and Releases

Before I got my Kindle last year, if I happened to see a hardcover book that intrigued me, I knew I'd probably have to wait a year to read it. Most of my book purchases were paperbacks, since they were cheaper and took up less space on my bookshelf. I occasionally got a hardcover book as a gift; more rarely, I broke down and bought the hardcover.

These days, it's a little more complicated. If I'm interested in a book, the first thing I do is try to download a sample for my Kindle. Many books are now available in this format, which is why I have over 120 items in my To Read collection. (I hope to read a few of them next week when I go on a business trip.) Sometimes I have to pre-order the item, which I'll do for favorite authors. Sometimes the ebook comes out after the paper release. I don't mind this too much if I know when the ebook will be available. For example, Wither was released in hardcover earlier this month, but the Kindle version wasn't available until two days ago. I wanted to read the sample before committing to the purchase, but since I knew the release date ahead of time, I didn't mind waiting. Early Tuesday morning, I downloaded the sample and then later purchased the book. However, sometimes it's hard to tell when, or if, a book will be available as an ebook. One book I was hoping to get for my Kindle was Across the Universe. I checked several times for it, but there was no sign of one. Finally I picked it up in hardcover last month. However, after buying Wither, I noticed that Across the Universe was now available for the Kindle. I still haven't had a chance to read it yet (I'm currently plowing through a non-fiction book from my paper pile), and despite the pretty, reversible cover, I would have held out for the ebook. It's not worth selling the hardcover and buying the ebook for, however.

As readers, does it matter to you what format a book is in? Would you wait longer to get a book in a particular format? Where do ebooks fit in the traditional release schedule?

For writers, particularly published writers, does book format matter to you, personally or financially?


Rogue Mutt said...

I'm cheap so I like whatever format is cheapest. It makes sense they'd want to release the eBook later than other formats; that way they can gouge readers with the higher-priced formats.

K. Howard said...

I prefer soft covers because they're cheaper than hard covers. Also, I don't have an ereader, so electronic books are not for me at the moment.

Cherie Reich said...

I'm a bit like Rogue Mutt there. I'm cheap, so I tend to buy whatever is cheaper, including the hardback if it is cheaper than the ebook copy. Although I prefer reading on my Kindle than reading in regular book format.

As a writer, I'd definitely want my book as an ebook, but I must admit it'd be nice to have a paper copy too (hardback or paperback).

Clarissa Draper said...

I find two things frustrating:
(1) Sometimes it takes a long time for foreign/international books to come to
(2) Even some Agatha Christie books haven't been made into Kindle books yet.

I know it's just a matter of time but the Kindle has made me an impatient person. ;)

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Rogue and Cherie, I can be cheap too. However, I've found that it's so easy to buy from my Kindle that I don't compare prices between formats. That could be bad....

K. Howard, you can read ebooks on a computer or even a smartphone. They just don't have e-ink like the readers do.

Clarissa, I don't think Agatha Christie's books are in the public domain. Maybe that's why they're not in Kindle format yet.

Kari Marie said...

I wait for my Kindle. Sometimes, I'll even wait to purchase it on Kindle for a few months (hoping the price comes down).

If I like it after reading on Kindle, I will buy it for the bookshelf. Strange I know.

Bookblogger said...

I've only had a kindle for about 3 months so I gravitate towards it pretty heavily, but there are times that I miss my paperbacks. I will say that the kindle is a whole lot easier to read while trying to rock an upset baby though. lol

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