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?

7 comments:

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 amazon.com
(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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