How Do You Buy A Book?

I’ve just been reading a great blog by Jennifer Neri who had posted about a book called ‘On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft’ by Stephen King. Having read the blog and the supportive comments, it made me want to read the book. I don’t know about you but I love visiting book shops. I can spend hours in them just wandering around and browsing. I rarely go in with a particular purchase in mind but always come out with a number of books and then can’t wait to get home to start reading them. Unfortunately a trip to my local book shop would have been no guarantee that this book would have been in stock.

Instead I decided to look on Amazon. I also thoroughly enjoy book shopping on Amazon. It’s a completely different experience. To start with whenever I log on, Amazon, having statistics on my previous buys, always have books that they want to recommend to me and I always look. Then when I do find a book I’m interested in I can’t wait to read the comments left by others who have read the book and these reviews always influence me as well. Then, just before I buy, Amazon will pop up and point out to me that people who bought this book also bought ……… so off I go again, a sucker for a recommendation. Having bought my books I then have that long wait for them to be delivered and still get excited when the Amazon parcel arrives in the post.

Back to the ‘On Writing’ book by Stephen King. As is my want I looked on Amazon and found it easily. The reviews were as good as the comments on Jennifer’s blog I was hooked. I was just about to press the button and place my order when I noticed that it was possible to get it as an eBook. It was so easy. Within three minutes of me pressing the right buttons the book was being downloaded, via the Kindle app, to my iPad. Two minutes later I was reading it – and a great book it is. While I will always enjoy browsing in book shops, my Amazon shopping might change as I move more towards downloading books on-line.

In her blog Jennifer says, “I can’t count how many pages I’ve folded or how many passages I’ve underlined.” I also like making notes in the margin, highlighting passages and folding pages, I won’t be able to do that with my new eBook, or so I thought! How wrong I was. Even though it is an electronic book I can highlight passages, can add notes to certain words, phrases or passages. It even allows me to highlight words or excerpts I’m not sure about and it will give me definitions or take me off to the internet for more information. I haven’t worked out yet how to fold down the pages!

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13 Responses to How Do You Buy A Book?

  1. aquatom1968 says:

    I love the feel of a good book. I find ebooks OK, but I miss the textures, smells and cheeky flicks ahead to see if I’m near the end of the chapter from a book. And, like you I love receiving my Amazon packages! I may just wander on over there shortly…!

    • Mike says:

      While I agree with all that you say I can’t help but wonder how things might look in 10 years time. Maybe we will be able to buy something that looks, feels & smells like a book but is electronic & contains hundreds of books?
      If something like this ever happens what will I do with all of my book shelves?

      • simon says:

        I love the idea that physically turning an electronic page – bending the spine, maybe – might create enough kinetic energy to completely power an ebook reader. If it was inset into a leather-bound hardback unit and looked like a ‘real’ book, I’d be interested.

  2. Jane says:

    Well I’m intrigued about the ebook experience and before I can pass judgement, I’m going to see if I can borrow my daughter’s ipad (that seems so wrong!) and download a book called ‘The Flood’ by Anita Diamant. Then I’ll offer my comments!!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Jane.
      When I saw the photo of the iPad I did wonder whose it was?
      Will she lend it to you long enough for you to read the book?
      I’m trying not to compare the reading of an ebook with the reading of a ‘normal’ book – they are two different experiences and both have their merits.
      I read an interesting blog recently where this chap was predicting what 21 things would be obsolete in eduction/schools by 2020 – one was paper books!
      Who knows? If we go back 10 years could we have predicted some of the things that we take for granted today?

  3. penpusherpen says:

    I think there are pro’s and cons for both ways of reading… Some will say the ‘feel’ of the book is part of the whole experience (me included) , and others will say that the ability to use the ipad, Kindle, or whatever is to have something lightweight, easy to manage and you’re not in danger of breaking the ‘spine’ when the pages of the aforementioned book fights back!! … Depends totally on how big the book is in the first place ( one I’ve just read made me feel as is I was weightlifting whilst reading ) …technology will win out I think, but as I look at my bookcase on the stairs, I can’t help sighing at the imaginary picture of one plastic ‘container’ against a whole host of adventures and stories which feel like friends… Ah Well, that’s progress, and like you I’ll wait and see…xPenx

    • Mike says:

      It will be the loss of the bookcase, should it ever happen, that would be the most difficult to come to terms with. As you so rightly say just looking at the books on the shelves brings back a number of great memories.

  4. jenniferneri says:

    lol, you’re experience is so similar to mine in bookstores and on amazon. I get lost, can spend hours….
    I’m so glad you like the book 🙂 would be great to hear about it when you’re done!

    • Mike says:

      Thanks for your comments Jennifer.
      Almost finished the book & I’m really enjoying it.
      I find that I’m highlighting some great thoughts & ideas which I will go back to.
      Just found out that the Kindle app gives me a table of sections that I’ve highlighted & pages that I’ve bookmarked!
      One of my favourites is when he talks about keeping it simple & how having an enormous vocabulary is not always a good thing. He uses a passage from John Steinbeck, ‘Grapes of Wrath’ & says that “It’s 50 words long. Of those 50 words, 39 have but one syllable. There is no word longer than 2 syllables. The structure is complex; the vocabulary is not far removed from the old Dick & Jane primers”
      He then goes on to say, “One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones.”
      I like this idea of writing what comes into your head, what fits your story & not to feel that it has to be dressed up with ‘big words.’
      It makes me feel a bit better about some of my writing that I’ve put on my blog.

  5. metoo says:

    I’ve been reading both digital and real books for a while now… Although ebooks are convenient, they will never replace the feel and smell and the pleasure I get from reading a real book.

  6. Mike says:

    I agree wholeheartedly …… BUT ……… will this be enough to save books as they presently exist? I don’t know?

  7. SethPopowich says:

    There is nothing like cracking open a new book and the smell of a bookstore/online bookstore! Physical books are tangible. You don’t have to rely on an external device to see it, and they’re there during blackouts and plane rides. With a physical book, you OWN the book. Does it feel like you own an eBook you’ve purchased? Just curious. Can you hand the eBook off to a friend or smell an eBook and see its age and see how it’s been “loved” with curling corners and broken bindings like you can with a regular book? Also, there is something special about book cover designs… some are embossed or reflective, and the jackets wrap around and the pages have a certain layout to them. This doesn’t translate to the electronic screen.
    I think that books must be tangible things. I enjoy looking at a bookshelf and seeing my book collection. I enjoy going into a library and seeing the stacks and stacks of books.

    • SethPopowich says:

      I guess one could say that I am just jealous that I don’t have any ebooks, and that may be true. I say that I am just too damn cheap and/or poor to buy it/them. 🙂

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