Saturday, 16 October 2010

Is there any point in buying print books if I'm not going to read them?

I was thinking this morning about buying the new collection of short stories by Johnny Mains, With Deepest Sympathy, from Obverse Books. It looks interesting, and I liked the last book I read from that publisher.

But it's not out on Kindle, which made me think: am I ever going to read this? When was the last time I bought and read a book in print? I couldn't actually remember. So I went to look at my list of books read on Goodreads.

Leaving aside the Penguin 60s I used to read when collecting the children from school, I found that during 2009 and 2010 I read just one novel or short story collection that I bought in print format.

It was Mass Effect: Revelations, by Drew Karpyshyn, back in January of this year, when I was in the full throes of a Mass Effect obsession.

The one before that was all the way back in December 2008, when I read Derai, a fine book in E.C. Tubb's Dumarest series, and then October 2008, for Deb Olin Unferth's interesting novel from McSweeney's, Vacation.
VacationI read books in print when they're submitted for review, of course, and I have bought the odd book in print this year, most recently The Seventh Black Book of Horror – I was keen to read the infamous "Bernard Bought the Farm"!

But buying print books – and filling up my house with them – starts to seem a bit pointless if I'm only going to read one or two of them a year – or none at all in 2009.

In fact, when I do fancy reading one of the paper books I own, especially the hardbacks, my first thought is to look it up in the Kindle store. I'd rather pay a few extra quid and read it on Kindle...


  1. We actually do - as of about ten minutes ago - have an epub version now available, though I have no idea if that plays on the Kindle?

    This is by way of testing the water of ebook versions, something I think we need to look into to as more people come to accept the Kindle and the various ebook readers.

  2. Good move!

    The Kindle can't use an epub file, although if it's DRM-free people can run it through Calibre to convert it to mobi (or any other) format.

  3. It is DRM free - we went for Epub because Kindle seems to be a bit restrctive?

  4. From a reader's point of view, the nice thing about a Kindle edition, as opposed to just getting the file, is being able to read a preview before buying, syncing across devices, direct delivery to your Kindle, stuff like that. But giving people a DRM-free option is really good too.