The Kindle saves space, but can it save you money

A ZDNet article that ran on November 16 asked the question “Is the Kindle electronic book reader worth its current price of $359.00?” The article explores the answer to this question for college students and average readers.

For students in college and graduate school, ZDNet concludes that a Kindle is worth the expense:

However, a more realistic scenario [of student textbook purchasing] would be a blended cost, with half new and half used [textbooks], at $366.00 per semester. If they had purchased all of the books on the Kindle, they would have spent $234.00, or a savings of $132.00 per semester. Over a period of 8 semesters, that’s $1056.00, which if you subtract the cost of the Kindle at current prices, we’re talking about a net savings of $700.86 over four years, which is not insignificant. To put this another way, if college students had the ability to buy all their textbooks on Kindles, they could wipe out the cost of a Kindle with their savings over printed books in 3 semesters, or a year and a half.

However, the the article states that for the average reader, a Kindle is not a wise economic choice:

… we took a look at twelve New York Times best sellers, and totaled up the prices, assuming mostly hardcover with some paperbacks — this came to $168.15 if we bought them on Amazon. The Kindle cost would have been $109.11. In other words, if you read one book per month, and you subtract the cost of the Kindle, your net savings per year is approximately $59.04. To wipe out the cost of the Kindle completely, you have to buy and read six books per month to wipe out the Kindle’s cost over the course of one year. That’s a pretty voracious reading schedule — and if you’re reading that many books, you’re probably spending most of your time in a library and not purchasing them on Amazon.

So it would seem that unless the convenience factor of the Kindle currently outweighs its costs, the Kindle is not a huge value proposition for your average consumer today. But if its cost were to drop approximately in half – say, between the 3 and 4 book per month level — at around $200 per unit – then we might start seeing greater e-book adoption by a larger segment of the population. At the two books per month level, it’s going to need to cost around $125.00 or $150.00 or so.

I agree that it would be nice if a Kindle reading device would be at least half its current price, but I still think that it is a good investment over the long term. Additionally, you don’t have to pay to store paper books, which shaves off a little bit more from the equation.

What do our readers who own Kindles think of the article? Is the author right about it being about convenience and not cost? Let us know your opinion in the comments.

Previously on Unclutterer:

69 Comments for “The Kindle saves space, but can it save you money”

  1. posted by Shanel Yang on

    I’d say “no.” Even if all my college or law school text books were available on a Kindle, which I seriously doubt, the biggest benefit I get from learning new, complex material from textbooks would be lost for several reasons. I learn faster and more completely when I can mark up my books, write in the margins, etc. Also, my mind takes “mental snapshots” of both the printed materials and my notes, highlights, etc. Finally, I benefit from having several books open at the same time for ease of checking sources back and forth, comparing notes, etc.

    As for saving shelf space, you can usually sell back your used text books for a fraction of the cost that you paid for it, but at least it’s something and you get your shelf space back.

  2. posted by Deborah on

    I love paperback swap. It isn’t as convenient as a Kindle, but I can obtain several dozen books a year by swapping others.

    This is a lot cheaper than the kindle – which is a device mostly of convenience.

  3. posted by Rob on

    actually – would be better if the cost per book on kindle came down.. $$$ hardware but cheaper reads.. (It’s not like there’s significant distribution cost)

  4. posted by Another Deb on

    Last year I purchased an online version of a genetics textbook and was greatly hindered by the digital format. The graphics went across more than one page, text was too small to read without losing the entire page to zoom and the index and insert side panels were extremely inconvenient. The continuity of the material in a fabulous text was painfully compromised. I ended up purchasing the hard copy version to my great relief.

    Until they make text material more like web pages, some textbooks will not translate into this media effectively.

  5. posted by Peggy on

    I purchased a Kindle back in June and I love it! I am in school; however, none of my textbooks have been available on Kindle yet. I do fall into the voracious reader category during breaks and have seen significant savings both in money and time. Furthermore, and most important to me is that my library of books is no longer growing which is great since I am currently out of shelve space. I am past due for a trip to the used bookstore to sell some.

    The Kindle has also been a great icebreaker while standing in lines…I pull it out anytime I am made to wait and rarely do I make it to the front of the line before someone interrupts my reading to ask how I like it.

  6. posted by rcamp on

    Bought in on release day, it’s been working great since. So, a few variables not considered.

    First, the article presumes ONE person is reading it. In my case it’s 2.5. My wife reads as much if not sometimes MORE than I do. My son, here and there ( he’s 9 ). Chewing through half a dozen books per month isnt hard. And dont get me started about how much lighter it is to travel with than say a few paperbacks.

    Second, the article presumes I get all my reading via Amazon and only hints at the possibility of lower cost(or free) books. Suffice it to say, I’m only getting about 4 in 10 items via Amazon. Easy example : there’s NO chance I’d pay for Sherlock Holmes books any more, they ARE public domain. There are lots of others, but the long and short of it is that I have plenty to read for a good time to come. If one was to check out mobileread’s website, you’d find material is handiliy available.

    Third, I have been saving money on one angle of the books we’ve bought. The wife chews threw pulp stories, that we’ve saved 50% on pretty regularly.

    Finally, in concert with item three .. I now dont have a stack of books piling up on me that have to be dealt with. My house has a finite amount of space – I’m big on that space being used for people, and not things.

    So, has the Kindle been worth it ? Yup. Is it perfect for everyone ? Of course not.

    We still visit the library, we still buy an occasional book. It’s working out just fine here.

  7. posted by kittent on

    I don’t want a kindle…I want the newest version of the sony ereader. How does that compare with kindle re: savings, accessibility, etc.

    I don’t care about piles of books…although my bookcases are full to overflowing…I want convenience and accessibility. I want to be able to support authors I like. I want to be able to download articles in .pdf format, get google books, read things that I don’t have to buy from amazon AND things I do buy from Amazon, and have flexibility.

    I actually think a netbook might be a better choice (does anyone out there use one of those?)

  8. posted by Mary on

    I’m a relatively new user – bought during the Oprah coupon run so saved $50. I travel a lot for work and it came the day before my last trip. I loved having multiple books/magazines in one small, light package. I’ve also been slowly building a “library” of classics that are nice to have access to – Complete William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling to start. Each of these was under $5 and I love the idea that I have access without having to keep books on the shelf just in case I want to read again. Of course, I never did own editions which were nice just for the decor!

  9. posted by Erin N. on

    What about selling books back? Not always prudent or possible, but for general education classes you may not need to hold on to the book after you’ve finished the class.

  10. posted by martha in mobile on

    I’m old school — I read books on my Palm. Pleasure reading only, of course. But it’s nice to load it up and know I have hours of reading available to me while on trips, waiting in line, etc., and not have to carry a separate, dedicated device.

  11. posted by ari_1965 on

    There aren’t enough books available on Kindle to make it worth my while. For example, of the 260 books I’ve either purchased or put on my Amazon wish list this year only one is available on Kindle.

    I do love the idea of having something that looks like the padds on Star Trek, but I will wait until they offer more books in the Kindle format.

  12. posted by Kitty on

    I bought my kindle in March. I travel extensively outside the US and am often at my destination for weeks, if not months. I bought the kindle to cut down on the books I had to find room for in my luggage. Also English language books are difficult to find outside the US and when you do find them they are quite expensive. That said I love my kindle. I am a voracious reader so it does get a bit expensive (I’m not using the library as much and not doing book swaps anymore). However the expense is worth it right now. I love my kindle so much I bought one for my parents for Christmas (used the Oprah coupon).

  13. posted by Liz on

    Go to the library! It’s free. Many libraries offer books on Overdrive that you can download onto electronic devices for free.

  14. posted by timgray on

    The Ebook is the holy grail for publishers because it increases their profits dramatically.

    They eliminate the costs of printing books.
    they make you pay the costs for the reader.
    And more importantly they destroy the used book market.

    You can not sell used ebooks, they make sure of that. they also dont give you a real discount on the ebooks. Comparedto the paper one I should be paying 1/2 price. Most of the time the kindle version of the book is almost the same as the paper book. I’m not going ebook just to make someone else richer.

    finally the biggest use for Ebooks, technical and education texts just does not exist. Plus not being ableto sell my class books to recoup the horrible overpricing the colleges like to do to you makes it even more of a burden.

    I’ll be all over ebooks as soon as they figure out how to let me sell ones I am done with, and charge far less than a printed book. It costs them nothing to print 20,000,000 copies of an ebook, that savings must be passed on to the readers.

  15. posted by Ann on

    Question for Kindle Owners:

    What about sharing? That’s the biggest drawback for my house right now because my husband and I regularly recommend books to one another. He travels a great deal, so simply handing over the device wouldn’t help much.

    I’m hoping that (at some point?) you can share or trade books much like you can share or trade songs via an iPod or other MP3 player.

  16. posted by Dorothy on

    I have had my Kindle for four or five months and it’s now well-integrated into my life.

    What fascinates me about comments on the Kindle — here and elsewhere — is that the most negative remarks are from people who have never even HELD a Kindle, much less actually used it for a few weeks. It’s different, no doubt about it, and it takes some getting used to.

    The ZDNet author sets up a straw man, then demolishes it. I DO buy more than 6 books per month and I will save money over a couple years by using the Kindle.

    However, that does not take into consideration two other benefits of the Kindle: First, as Mary stated, as a true bibliophile, I LOVE having my favorite classics with me at all times. The day I got the Kindle, I loaded free content from Project Gutenberg on it — the complete Shakepeare, the complete Mark Twain, the complete Sherlock Holmes, etc. I have a couple reference works on my Kindle, and it’s great to look up a reference on the spot. [Oddly the Kindlerati don't seem to embrace Project Gutenberg much, but they have many thousands of e-texts available free -- mostly older/classic works that have fallen out of copyright.]

    Also, the Kindle is the ultimate bibliophile’s un-cluttering device. There are some (many) books I own in “dead tree editions” (as the Kindlerati call books actually printed on paper) and I won’t give many of them up. But for light reading it’s great to not have to figure out how to store or deaccession a mystery or popular novel once I’m done with it.

    I agree that the price model needs work. I don’t get why a best seller that Amazon sells for $16 costs $10 for the Kindle version when it is not printed, bound, or transported to me. I’m hopeful that changes. As for ari_1965, I’d be fascinated to see his list. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at what’s available for the Kindle, and Amazon’s clout means the list grows daily! They have a button on all their book pages via which you can send a message instantly to the publisher to request they make it available for the Kindle.

    Cheers!

  17. posted by OogieM on

    As a family of 2 with 2 kindles I can say that it saves money. At our current reading rate we will recoup the cost of both kindles in about 14 months from purchase. And we share books between us. Up to 5 kindles registered on the same account can have full access to all the books for that account. This is particularly helpful when we both want to read the same book at the same time.

    Plus there is the cost of keeping and maintaining lots of books that we no longer have. The reduced storage costs are not insignificant.

    To those who think that voracious readers use the library. That might be possible in a city but our local library is small and has a very poor selection of books. The only books I’ve ever managed to get from the library are Harry Potter books but everything else I look for is not available there and inter-library loan costs me quite a bit of money because our library charges when you borrow a book using ILL.

    I’ve also looked at paperback swap, booksmooch and other places to try to swap books but none have the books we want and are reading now.

    The hundreds of thousands of free books are also a big draw. Classics, old science fiction, obscure books from favorite authors that are now out of print. Over half my kindle books are free ones.

    My only complaint is that I really need folders or a better way to organize my books. Currently my kindle has about 70 books on it and I have another 90 or so in my “Saved for Later” section that I want to get. I am reading actively on about 15 and then there are the ones that I use as reference so they need to stay on my device. The big long list gets hard to search through to find specific books but I will deal with it as it’s only SW and I know that is being worked on.

    Another big advantage is converting documents you create and sending them to your kindle. I have sent quite a few of my personal documents and reference lists I use to my kindle so they are easy to access. It’s a lot more readable than my Treo where they used to be.

    We love our kindles and plan to slowly reduce the clutter of books by buying kindle versions of some of our favorites and replacing the paper ones.

  18. posted by Ann on

    THANK YOU OogieM!! I’ve asked this question in a couple of different forums discussing the Kindle and no one has been able to tell me about sharing.

  19. posted by Kara on

    I started to write a response and then found that Dorothy covered everything I would have said! :)

    I *do* read more than 6 books a month, and not just bestsellers either. I *do* buy those books, rather than going to the library because I like to be able to take my time and refer back to some of them later. I do read more than one book at a time, usually having a non-fiction and at least one fiction book going. I do like to keep my favorites. I love having instant access to classics and reference material.

    I also agree that I’d like to see the price of books go down. I totally understand the author needing to make his/her money – I earn my living by selling my copyrighted materials, too. But when a book isn’t being bound or shipped, the cost should be significantly less for the end product.

    Kara

  20. posted by Tom on

    I’d guess most college students today have computers. Most of those have laptops. The laptop is a small premium over the desktop.

    I’d think eBooks might be better on a laptop then a kindle because you can have color and more formats. I’d already be taking my laptop to classes for note taking.

    I took some classes (1984-1988 and engineering) that had open book exams. I wonder how that would work? Most classes eventually just allowed an index card of notes.

  21. posted by Tara on

    It was definitely a good investment for me. I’m a casual reader, but typically read 1-2 books for work and pleasure each month. The thing that put it over the top for me is that I travel each week for work, and I could never seem to go on even a three day trip without taking two books and my journal. I’ve downsized my journal and now I can take as many books with me as I want in my little Kindle. I also took advantage of the “coupon code” that was offered for Oprah viewers and got the Kindle for $309…and somehow, there were some extra discounts applied and I’ve gotten at least $20 worth of books for free. Finally, the ability to get samples of books has effectively saved me the money of buying books that I would have started and never finished. It’s been an awesome purchase for me!

  22. posted by Leslie on

    This doesn’t take into account that you can sell most college textbooks back after each semester. That makes the cost savings for the Kindle even worse. I wouldn’t use that argument to justify it. The best reason I have heard for getting one is if you travel a lot, you don’t have to carry a bunch of heavy books with you, just one Kindle. My husband will be taking a 20 hour flight to Africa in January and he really wants one for the trip.

  23. posted by Jessica on

    Six books a month? I can read five in a weekend!

    I use an old Palm, too. I also use the library *and* two book rental services. If I bought new every book I’ve read this year, it would have cost me over $4500. I’d buy a Kindle, but the title availability isn’t that high yet.

  24. posted by Andy on

    I still don’t get the fascination with this device. Way, way overpriced for what it does. Why not buy a web laptop and be able to do other things aside from read? http://tr.im/1fzx

    Or, how many books do you need to own/carry around with you? Library is perfect for books: most of them you read once and never look at again.

  25. posted by LDH on

    I don’t have one, but a friend of mine has failing sight, and she uses a kindle to put books in a large readable font (some large print books are hard for her to read if they have serifs…the letters run together).

    I personally will stick with my public library (thank goodness I live in a city with one of the top 5 systems in the country), but I like that it has opened the door to reading again for my friend.

  26. posted by Jeffrey Hardesty on

    I believe looking at devices like this from only a cost/payback view, is not giving the technology it’s total value. If you look back at the ipod, or other first generation devices the cost/justify approach always fails. I have both a kindle and sony e-book. The ability for me to travel and get the New York Times, Wall Street Journal delivered to the device every morning, is great. Plus when I am done reading it, I am not throwing away a mass of paper, or even having to carry it around.

    I am also a pilot and the e-book allows me to carry all of the airport charts, the whole country, with me. They are updated every 28 days and I was throwing alot of paper away.

    The environmental impact of this device carry some value to me also.

    I believe these devices will make more of an impact in the future, but what gen 1.0 device didn’t suck and cost too much.

  27. posted by Mac on

    I understand the appeal of the convenience of the Kindle and how could assist in uncluttering one’s life but there is an important part that isn’t being factored into the cost calculations.

    When I buy a book, I own the book. I can resell it if I want, I can lend it if I want, but most importantly I can keep that book. I can keep it the entire span of my natural life and I can even pass it down to my children if I want to. Personally I would only do this if I planned to re-read the book consistently, but the point is that I can.

    If I were to buy a book from Amazon for the Kindle it comes with Digital Rights Management (DRM) attached. If I decide that another company makes a better reading device, I can’t take my purchased books with me and that’s just one example.

    Buying any content with DRM is betting against change. Betting that Amazon will maintain their DRM servers in perpetuity, betting that Amazon will even exist during the entire time you wish to have access to the purchased content. That the technology will not become obsolete.

    It is true that with Project Gutenberg, you needn’t pay for some material and it’s also true that most people won’t feel the need to retain the vast majority of books that they read, but the point is that when you buy DRM content, you’re not buying a book, you’re renting it.

    Of course for the few books you want to retain indefinitely you can buy a hard copy, but if your paying for it twice if you’ve already purchased it for the Kindle.

    The content industries need to find a way to allow for a discrete transaction where when I buy digital content it is mine and I need no further contact with the vendor to use it or keep it.

  28. posted by Zora on

    For those of us with antiquarian or scholarly tastes, ebooks are the only way to go.

    I’m fond of the novels of Charlotte Yonge (1823-1901). A few are in print, but most aren’t. I would have to spend significant money and effort to read the out-of-print books … if it weren’t for ebooks. Manybooks.net gives me dozens of Charlotte Yonge books, for free, in my choice of format. (Manybooks gets most of its stock from Gutenberg, which gets most of its stock from Distributed Proofreaders, for which I volunteer.)

    I’m too poor to buy a Kindle, but I am happy enough with my old Sony Clie, purchased cheap on eBay. As many others have pointed out, I can carry a number of novels with me on the PDA, On my home computer, I’ve accumulated thousands of books that weigh nothing and don’t have to be dusted.

    Occasionally I do buy a new book in e form and then it’s the ease that’s seductive. From WANT to GET is five minutes on the computer. Warning: this can result in ill-considered post-midnight impulse purchases :)

  29. posted by Joseph Z. on

    I read a lot, but I don’t buy a lot of books. I get most of my reading material from the library.

  30. posted by Steve P. on

    The kindle price comparison misses out on how I use books: Many books (especially textbooks when I was in school)I buy and sell used. For books I want to reference often, or paperbacks the Kindle seems to make sense, but for technical or school books I use for a short period of time then resell it is much cheaper to go paper.

    If the kindle was out when I was in school, I still might have bought it just for the reduction of back strain of carrying around the large textbooks.

    Like other mentioned here, I still use my Sony Clie for reading classics from project Gutenberg and some of my favorite Sci-fi authors that have digital copies. For me the Kindle is still too much of a luxury item… But if I had the cash, I wouldn’t hesitate ;-)

  31. posted by Jeff on

    I look at it from an environmental standpoint. Save on paper, save on resources, save on space, save on garbage.

    This is the future of reading, and I embrace that fact.

  32. posted by someone on

    The dealbreaker for the Kindle is that it makes the long, proud tradition of sharing, lending, and trading books impossible.

    I think they’re really nifty, and I love that they save paper, but I hate that I can’t share a book with anyone.

  33. posted by Sonya on

    Another Kindle lover here. I bought it because I was taking a two week trip to Alaska and didn’t want to have to take 8-10 books with me. It saved my back, and enabled me to do the whole two weeks in a carryon. I’ve also used it a few times to access my email and google reader via the web interface. It’s better than using my cell phone, and it’s free.

    While I have bought a few new books, most of the things I read are older and cheaper.

    I would not want to deal with a textbook on the Kindle however, it doesn’t handle footnotes well.

  34. posted by infmom on

    I was sad to see that reading six books in a month was considered something extraordinary. It’s a rare week when I read fewer than six! And no, I don’t “spend all my time in the library.” I browse the web catalogs, pick out what I want, and have the library put it on hold for me. The public library is the best place to get books, bar none. Especially best sellers! Sure, you may have to wait a bit to get your hands on them, but with the cost of books these days, it’s almost always worth the wait. After you’ve read the library’s copy you can decide whether to buy your own copy (if the book is good, I’d encourage that, to support good writers).

    College textbooks are a special case and there just aren’t very many ways to get those at any kind of savings. It’s hard enough to buy the textbooks without adding in the cost of the Kindle–yes, you might “get it back” over time, but you still have to cough up the dough to begin with!

    I have a Palm Tungsten (purchased secondhand on eBay) and there are tens of thousands of free e-books available out there. The Palm comes with its own reader, but I mostly use Mobipocket. If you’re really interested in reading e-books, an inexpensive PDA with a reader program would be a good way to start. Kindle, pfui (as Nero Wolfe would have said).

  35. posted by Suzi on

    I can’t believe the faulty research done by ZDNet if they’re concluding the Kindle is great for students. The Kindle is designed for casual reading. It is not of the correct size or ability to display charts or graphics (or color) needed for many text books. Nor are there many textbooks available at this time for the Kindle.

    There are some larger Eink readers coming out in the next couple of years which will be better for students, but they’re not here yet. If they were, I would buy one for my son in a heartbeat. For the weight savings of his backpack, not for any cost savings.

    I love my Kindle. I’ve bought more books in the few months that I’ve owned it than in the previous three years. I’m not saving money, even though I’ve made back in book savings what the Kindle cost me. (I got it with the $100 off offer.)

    What I am getting is the ability to read any of my books at any time. I can buy/download sequels as soon as I’m done with the first one. It’s lighter and easier to read than heavy hardback books. I can read while I’m waiting to pick my son up from school. When my car wouldn’t start the other day, I called AAA and read my books in the car until they got there.

    I will still have to buy dead tree books. Harry Potter, for example, isn’t available in e-format (legally).

    And no, reading on the laptop is not in any way comparable. The laptop is backlit. The Kindle is not. Do the research and you’ll see the huge difference that makes.

    However, I fall into the voracious reader category. I think that most people that love the Kindle also fall into that category. And there are some people (my husband is one of them) that think that e-readers are soulless versions of books and will never use them. His shelf library gets bigger and mine gets smaller, but we both love books.

  36. posted by Lizard on

    When I was in college a few years ago, the opportunities to buy & sell used textbooks were dwindling because publishers kept putting out new versions and profs kept updating to them. (Bless the few profs who let us know when an older edition would still be okay!) If I’d had a Kindle then, I would have had my textbooks in class more often. The extra weight and the remembering to grab my books both hindered me.

  37. posted by Tiffany on

    I’ve got a Kindle-owning friend who fires up the Amazon Kindle catalog on the screen, and then sorts it by price, lowest to highest. There are tons of classic books available for $2 or less, so he’s expanding his literary knowledge for super cheap. He spends a lot of time traveling- planes and trains- so the Kindle actually makes tons of sense for him when used this way. It saves money AND precious space in the carry-on.

  38. posted by jane on

    I would love a Kindle or a Sony Reader, but I use the library extensively, so I pay $0 per year for books. Because of this, I can’t justify buying electronic books even though I think they are super-convenient.

  39. posted by Kat on

    My main purchase of books is design orinated. This device would make no sense for me. For all others, I either check out books at the library, free or do a book exchange with friends. I like it because we leave notes in the books for each other. It is fun.
    I can’t justify spending money on the device and then the books, no matter how many I read a week or month. But then again I usually don’t carry around 5 books at a time. I also don’t feel a need to read while waiting in line or sitting somewhere. During those times I either people watch or (SHOCKING) interact with others around me.
    I will probably never own a device like the Kindle because I love the feel of books, the edges, the smell, the realness of them.

  40. posted by Lizzie on

    I’ve been back and forth on purchasing a Kindle, but when my mom asked (post-Oprah) if I wanted one for Christmas, I was helping her order it within minutes. There will always be books which I will want to have physical copies of, but they are few and far between. The thing which holds the most appeal is being able to download a section of the book for free before buying it. (As I almost never have time to hit Barnes and Noble for a leisurely browse.) I do use my interlibrary loan, but something new and popular will have 20 or 30 people ahead of me. I’m looking into how one buys books from other sources than Amazon. And I’m hoping that I can find a way to buy popular foreign language books–I buy things that I know well in English in their Italian version and the shipping costs an arm and a leg.

    And as someone else noted, this is a HUGE plus for people who need large print editions. I’ll try my mom out on my Kindle and she may end up with one of her own. Large print editions can be late coming out (if available at all) and absurdly expensive!

    So here’s hoping that my Kindle lives up to my expectations…

  41. posted by jason on

    i own a kindle and love it.

    before purchasing it: i made a list of my books. with the exception of any books with sentimental value, or books with pictures, i SOLD all of them that are available on the kindle. this basically paid for the kindle.

    granted, i lost the library of books (which i have already read and don’t need to save), but i can get any of the books back whenever for relatively cheap.

    going forward my library is now very small, i only own a few physical books, and i’ve got a kindle with tons of books on it.

    the kindle is like the ultimate way of decluttering a library. it’s small, portable, looks great, works great. really no complaints. highly recommended to anyone looking to get rid of all their book “trophies”

  42. posted by Dennis on

    Here is what will happen (always does). When a company makes something that is easy like this – and the books are cheaper, when they get a nice chunk of market is when they will start ramping up the content prices and doing nasty things with the content restrictions.

    I wish companies would just get a clue and if they treated the consumer right, they’d come back again and again…forever.

  43. posted by Another Deb on

    So people have their libraries on this electronic device. Then you sit on it or drop it. How sturdy is Kindle hardware?

  44. posted by Victoria on

    I bought a Kindle almost as soon as they came out and I’m very happy with it. Unlike the Sony reader, which is very nice also, you don’t need to be connected to a PC to download books. I live in California and in my particular area, the libraries are underfunded and overcrowded. I read instead of watching television, and I read a lot. I was buying 90% of my books anyway – everywhere from Costco to Powells and the Strand. Kindle’s probably saved me money, but I realize it wouldn’t for everyone. Favorite features are the free previews and long battery life.

  45. posted by Adri on

    Kindle is worth it to me because I travel a lot (and read a lot). I hate the idea of DRMed books, and love books-as-objects, but I also love my Kindle. It’s convenient, light, and comfortable to read.

    I’m hoping it will also be worth it to my grandparents for the text-size (large print books are expensive and limited). They’ll be testing out mine over Thanksgiving.

  46. posted by Brandon Green on

    I had a couple who are real estate clients of mine lament that they hadn’t gone the way of the Kindle. When they moved they had at least 12 boxes of books. And that was after they culled their library!

  47. posted by Sandra on

    For a reader like me, the Kindle is great.
    1. I read 10-30 books a month.
    2. Much of what I like to read is newly out in hardcover. Typically $25 for a hard copy, $17 on Amazon, $9.99 on Kindle. Reselling a hard copy book only recoups a few dollars. Probably 2/3 of newer books I want to read are available on Amazon.
    3. I like to always have something with me to read, and the Kindle is very light and compact. Easy to hold and read even when standing on the subway.
    4. I don’t always read books right away, so overusing the library quickly gets me into a morass of overdues and fines.
    5. I’ve recently moved, downsized, gotten rid of most of my books, and am trying to keep them from piling up again.
    Given all this, and the fact that I can afford it, I’m a perfect Kindle customer. I slightly prefer reading physical books, but not enough to justify the extra cost and bulk. I can find a limited choice of physical books at $1.49 (advance readers’ copies) or half-price (regular review copies) at the Strand bookstore here in NYC so will often check out that option.

    I’ve never seen anyone else with a Kindle; I believe it’s a niche product at this point.

  48. posted by Susan on

    I was just considering a Kindle when a friend urged me to check out book-reading apps on the iPhone. I was REALLY dubious about this but I downloaded Stanza (free) and then downloaded a bunch of books (free). And I had to admit, crazily, that it is actually easy AND fun to read books on my iPhone. It’s trippy.

    So I’m putting off the Kindle for a while.

  49. posted by Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome on

    If only Kindle were available outside the US. Instead I’m going for a British version of the Sony eReader because I can download (unfortunately very expensive) books from Waterstones while living in Spain.

    I would consider an iPod Touch, but I’m really not a fan of reading on a back-lit screen (which is why I tend not to read on my computer and why I’m way behind on all the PDFs I’ve downloaded).

  50. posted by Kelly on

    I want one! I think it is a great uncluttering device. I’m curious how people who own one like reading magazines on it. Thanks!

  51. posted by Jan on

    I, too, have a long love affair with books–love the feel and smell and the way they look on the shelves.

    But, I also have developed an allergy to old books, robbing me of the pleasure of browsing in second-hand bookstores and forcing me to recognize that I could no longer read most of the books I owned. For the first time in my life I did a major purge of my books, an emotional experience, to say the least.

    I’m also accumulating chronic ailments as I age, and reading in bed can become painful. The back-lit Palm is a strain for me to read on.

    I look forward to owning a Kindle. I don’t see that it has to be an either/or commitment, unlike many of the responses I’ve read here. None of the joys of “real” books have to be foregone because of the addition of being able to read on a Kindle.

  52. posted by Katie Alender on

    I have a Kindle. The main advantage is convenience for travel–if you’re like me, it avoids the last-minute stuffing of 4-8 heavy books into an already overloaded suitcase.

    It’s also a great uncluttering tool, because there are so many books I held onto “just in case” I ever wanted to read them. The Kindle is almost an emotional crutch here–and in the case of classics, it’s definitely cost-effective.

    Also, since I sold my book, I’ve become a lot more aware of how the used book market hurts authors. So on principle, I’m buying more books new. But I would say I’m still saving money, because reading the free first chapter has kept me from buying a lot of books that I would otherwise have bought and hated.

  53. posted by LeAnn on

    I’m a fairly new Kindle owner, and have to agree with Mary and the others above: it’s not about how many best sellers I need to buy to recover my costs – I rarely read best-sellers, anyway. I read sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and a lot of classics; a book a week, on average. I can get the classics dirt cheap ($.80 for Robinson Crusoe for a book discussion group), and there are plenty of back-listed books in the paperback range: $4 – $6 each. Now I can support my favorite local sci-fi authors by purchasing their books, without taking up space in my very small house.

    Yes, it’s convenient. Our main reason for buying them, however, is to pare down our extensive collection to the books we really love and treasure, and send the rest of the books to be loved by someone else.

  54. posted by Sara on

    I would buy a Kindle in 2 seconds if I could rent books in a Netflix type scenario. If I had the option to buy and rent/check out books, it would be ideal. I broke my Barnes & Noble/Amazon book buying habit due to space and money constraints, but I would be willing to subscribe to a cyber library service. Good luck w/the rights management issues – probably won’t see it in my lifetime.

  55. posted by JaneL on

    I had wanted a Kindle since they came out last November but kept putting it off waiting for prices to go down and book inventory to go up. When the Oprah discount came through, though, it pushed me over the edge.

    I’ve had mine for nearly a month now, and you would have to pry it from my fingers to get it away from me.

    I’ve read 5 fiction and 1 non-fiction books as well multiple PDF and Word docs for work so far. I’ve loaded several PDF manuals so that I have them for easy reference or study. I’ve used it to check my e-mail and to do the occasional light web-surfing.

    It fits in my purse and goes with me everywhere so that I always have something to read when I’m waiting. The ability to have a variety of reading material with me all the time in one small package is so wonderful.

  56. posted by WeSeed Writer on

    When are book companies going to get it? These e-books should be MUCH cheaper than the paper versions. Printing is what drives costs up, not distributing them electronically. They’re going to have to learn something from the music industry (and specifically, iTunes) about making this an easy, cheap experience for users.

  57. posted by j flynn on

    One fact for you all. The average number of books read by an American adult in one year is one. For those of you who read multiple books in a week or a weekend it would seem to me that you are speed readers and not the “average” reader out there. So for me, I average about 3-4 books a month, the Kindle or Sony device fascinate me but the feel and look of a book outshines a medal device. For the few times I travel then the Palm works for me. Note: I use paperbackswap, the library, used book stores and a few ebook sites. I rarely buy new.

  58. posted by Joe Smith on

    “There are tons of classic books available for $2 or less, ”

    You should be aware that most of these are a rip off. The books are available for free from various sources on the internet and work great on the kindle. I was able to load up my wife’s kindle with a ton of classic literature (bronte, tolstoy etc) which she absolutely loves.

    http://www.43folders.com/2008/.....zon-kindle

    One thing that amazed us about the kindle and that you can’t put a price on is the free wireless web/wiki address.

    We just took a cross country trip and it was great to use the kindle to look up the history on every little town we passed and find out the history of roadside attractions such as “The Thing?”. We where amazed that even in the middle of no where, when our cell phone dropped off the net the kindle was still able to get a signal.

  59. posted by Tom in Raleigh on

    I am a college professor and would *love* for the Kindle to replace my and my students’ textbooks. I’d love to be able to lug two courses worth of books on planes, to the Starbucks, etc. But the big problem is that almost none of the books I use are Kindle-ready. And I am a political scientist, so our books are not as expensive as those in, say, chemistry or law. So savings is less important than convenience. But until real academic texts are available on Kindle, its utility for students will likely be very limited.

  60. posted by Helen on

    All these people buying secondhand or swapping…. does nobody consider that the authors need to earn a living? And how few authors actually make a decent living? At least authors get royalties, however small, from Kindle sales.

    I’m not, personally, an ebook fan as I my PDA screen is too small, and we don’t have an affordable large-format reader available here in Australia.

    Budget is an issue of course and the solution that works for me is to use a bit of a mix – supporting favorite authors (especially romance authors or literary authors) by buying their work, using the library for the big name authors or for rarely-used reference texts, plus some secondhand novels as well. On my PDA are some classics and a few short stories from an independant epublisher.

  61. posted by Helen on

    wanted to edit my comment above: I see some people have commented on the used book market and supporting authors….. )

  62. posted by Valerie on

    My Kindle is due to arrive on Tues. :-)

    My H got an iPhone as his Christmas present and I wanted the Kindle.

    I have a folder with a lot of free books I have downloaded, and I have purchased 1 @ $6.99 to download when the Kindle arrives. I am a little frustrated that many of the books I want to keep, can’t be purchased for the Kindle, but I have clicked on the link to the publishers, so maybe this will change.

    I am really trying to downsize the amount of books we have in the house for space and dust reasons (we live in TX – dust world). My house is too cluttered after 23 years here, and books are one of the main clutter problems we have.

  63. posted by Alexis on

    Don’t forget that books that are in the public domain can be put on your Kindle for free. The Kindle can handle text, html, word docs, and to a limited extent, PDF.

    So if you like classics at all, try your luck at projectgutenburg.com. Thousands of public domain books in kindle friendly formats. All free.

  64. posted by Valerie on

    Update from 12/01:

    The Kindle arrived yesterday, but I did not have time to open it and charge it up until the evening. I knew I would not have the best network coverage for the Whispernet, but to my chagrin, I can’t use this wireless feature at all from my house. I will have to drive about 3 miles to get a connection to download the things I have purchased from Amazon. For the price I paid, I am considering returning it.

    It also bothers me that it is made in China.

    Otherwise, I like it so far.

  65. posted by Allison on

    Why hasn’t anyone mentioned the ease of reading the Kindle in bed? Big benefit, IMHO.

  66. posted by Vanessa on

    I know the Kindle is probably a great idea, but I can’t ever see myself getting rid of my books (to my boyfriend’s chagrin). My books take up the most clutter in my apartment (my bookcases are filled, plus I have at least 5 storage boxes stuffed full in closets that I swap out every few months), but I love holding an actual book in my hand. I even love the wear and tear that comes with owning books, the creases and folds show character (I know that doesn’t make sense, but I can’t help it).

    Plus, I get all my textbooks for school used and very cheap, then sell them later, so I’m not spending too much money on them anyway (after re-selling, total loss last semester was $80).

    I know I’m not living very simple, but my books are my vice.

  67. posted by Buy Cuban Cigars Online on

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