With nook (yes, no definite article and uncapitalized. That’s how you know it’s cool!!) arriving on the scene, there are now quite a few e-readers to choose from, and even more questionably named devices arriving imminently.
And though I tease the (whoops! Silly me, using the definite article) nook, it’s only because I want one.
But how much would you pay for one?
For the purposes of this discussion, let’s call our hypothetical e-reader the Wonderbook. The Wonderbook is much like the devices currently on the market: it has e-ink (no eye strain!), 3G wireless, and has a library of hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from, which you can buy for about $9.99. In other words, the only difference between the Wonderbook and the devices currently on the market is that it has a better name.
How much would you pay for the Wonderbook? $50? $100? $150? Nada?
Click through for the poll! If you already own a dedicated e-reader please click the price that’s closest to the amount you paid:
Also, if you haven’t had your fill of e-reader polls today, Eric at Pimp My Novel is also having a poll about why you haven’t bought an e-reader yet. Check it out!
What I really want is something simpler than the current early-adopter-overloaded-with-features garbage. Seriously, for some of us folks, less is more.
Drop all the wireless, or make it optional via a usb dongle. I don't want no fancy colour screens or mp3 players neither. So what do I want?
Just the ability to read text using eink, and annotate that text, then export what I've worked on.
I don't see myself in the same market demographic being targeted by the Kindle or nook. I imagine there's an untapped market out there for an educator's product.
One needing a product suitable for reading and marking essays and tests, suitable for starving writers to crit fiction, and suitable for the stretched budget of both.
That, I'd buy.
Hannah Jenny says
You really would have to pay me. I like paper. I like different books having a different size, shape, feel, even smell. I like old books and the history that comes with them, even if I don't know the history. And I don't like looking at screens. I'm only reluctantly on the mp3 player bandwagon, because it's a lot more convenient than carrying all my CDs around or only being able to listen to them when I'm home, but you know what? I only need to have one or two books with me at a time for leisure reading, and I'm pretty sure I'll keep that up.
I like the idea of e-readers, and I am admittedly a "Gadget Girl". My objections to them are mainly cost. After all, I downloaded the Amazon and B&N apps on my iphone for free and have pretty much the same experience as an e-reader. The screen may be a little bigger, but it is still one more thing to carry. My other concern is the proprietary nature of them – If I am going to pay more for a single purpose item like a reader than I did for my mini-laptop, I want it to be able to read more than just one store's offerings.
Carolyn B says
I never thought I would want an e-reader until I bought a Kindle for my son for his birthday. I thought I should set it up, get a few books on it before I gave it to him. By the end of the first session, I was hooked. The convenience is mind-blowing! Free classics, instant access to any book I want, plus the whole library fits in my purse. As for eyestrain – I can make the print bigger, or even have books read out loud to me. Hey – I'm a librarian. I LOVE real books, the way they feel, and look, and smell.. But trust me, this is the future of publishing. I don't see real (paper) books disappearing overnight, but e-books will get cheaper and more widespread, as electronic devices always do.
Carolyn B says
I noticed some of the comments were about the problem of being "stuck" with proprietary formats. That just doesn't happen with the Kindle. I download from several sites that have nothing to do with Amazon but still offer books in a format Kindle can read. Thousands are free or 99 cents.
karen wester newton says
It sounds like a lot of commenters are quite sure they don't want an eReader but have never seen one. They don't seem to knw about e-ink screens. I love my Kindle 2 even more than I loved my Kindle 1 (now my husband's Kindle). We paid $309 for the K1 (thanks, Oprah!) and $299 for the K2. I have read probably 3 to 4 times more books per year since we got the first Kindle. eReaders have their limitations, especially for children's books or anything else that needs color, but if you're reading a good novel, after a while you forget you're reading on a Kindle. If you don't, the story's not very compelling.
I'm glad the Nook (I refuse to write it lower case) will be in stores, along with the new QUE document reader, because then people will be able to see them. I think Amazon could have sold more Kindles if people could have held them first.
I agree karen. Maybe this is part of the problem. I don't necessarily mind people being against e-readers. But I'm disturbed that some of the reasons being provided for not wanting one aren't exactly founded in truth. e-ink is not like reading a traditional computer screen and therefore comparing it to reading a computer screen for hours probably isn't the best argument out there.
to address the original question, I don't mind paying about $250 for the device itself. I am more wary of the prices of e-books themselves. I'm OK with the $9.99 price point for the most part (though this too has problems) The real problem for mewhen I come upon an ebook that costs the same as the current hardcover that's out. Why would I pay the same amount for an ebook as I would for a hardcover book? That's ludicrous.
I really like the nook though (I actually work at a Barnes & Noble and can't bring myself to say the word without the article in front of it, sorry). But a working model is not available at my store yet and I'd like to play with it a bit before committing to buying 🙂
I don't think anyone has mentioned the reason that I am pro-ebook and e-readers. I am an American living in a small city in China. I have no access to English language books (and no library) so purchasing audiobooks and ebooks is really the only way for me to get access to books. I do purchase books on my once a year trip to the US, but they are heavy and take up so much of my 20kg luggage allowance, it is a real luxury. Having books shipped to me is a disaster. Inefficient local delivery system means they never arrive.
I currently read all ebooks on my laptop, but I would love the convenience of a dedicated e-reader I could carry more easily. I prefer the nook over the Kindle because of the formats it will accept.
I'm not understanding why so many are hatin' on the e-book thing. I own one myself and I can honestly say it will never take the place of a "real" book. However…it does serve a purpose. I love the convenience of always having something to read in a nifty, cool, little, gadget.
For me, there are books I will read on the reader, usually the reading I do for entertainment, especially on the road.
But when I'm doing more serious reading, I have to have the real McCoy. Nothing will or could ever take the place of a real book for the serious literary-type. But the e-book thing is here to stay…they're already starting to infiltrate our schools! Dear God, what is the world coming to?! Seriously, everyone needs to relax. It doesn't make you smarter or more of a "real" writer or something just because you claim you'll never be seen dead with an e-book whatchamacallit. Lighten up.I'd be willing to bet that most of the e-book haters are major twitter-tweeters/facebook/iPod junkies dying to secretly get their hands on anything that's gadgety…even an e-book.
I say I'd never want one but then I haven't had a reader in my hot little mitts. Maybe I'd like it. I just haven't had enough interest to check one out.
Tina Lynn says
I'm waiting for that one that beams the story into your brain.
Haha, that's right. Just nook 🙂 I probably won't get a dedicated e-reader. I'm waiting for the all in one, perhaps an apple tablet anyone?
Nick F. says
Went with the final option. While I admit the nook is the most appealing of them all, the day I use any e-reader is the day we all live in Ray Bradbury's mind. Ink on paper or nothing at all.
Caroline Steele says
I'd pay $250. If I had that much money, anyway. Since I don't, I haven't bought an e-reader. Alas.
Literary Cowgirl says
I think I will have to do more research on what kind of royalties authors get from electronic sales. I've heard it is less than for print, but haven't seen any stats. If that's the case, I'm sticking to my real books. I would love it if anyone had some info to share.
Kristin Laughtin says
Honestly, it would depend a lot on what I could do with the books I purchase. Would the reader allow me to share them? Transfer them to another device if a better model came out? What if my reader broke? Would I lose all my books? I'd be willing to pay more for a device if I was sure I wouldn't lose my books in any of those situations.
I really do like the idea of e-readers but I'm one of those people who want to wait for the technology to mature before investing. Then I'd maybe pay up to $200, although I'd be a lot happier around the $100 price point.
Karen McQ. says
I have a Kindle and paid $259 for it. It's not the same as a book, I agree, but I love it for the ease and convenience of sampling and buying books from the comfort of my home. And I'll echo what others have said about the eInk technology not causing eye strain. Part of my affection for my Kindle may have to do with the fact that I'm a self-published Kindle author who's enjoying good sales. I'm thrilled that my novels are out in the world reaching enthusiastic readers. Ebooks have advantages for readers and writers.
I'm not gonna lie, I kind of want one. But not so much that I'd lay money on the table for it.
Literary Cowgirl, this is my understanding on the royalties.
A good deal from a publisher will get you 10% royalties. 15% of that goes to your agent.
So, on a $25 hardback, you make 2.50 – 15% = $2.13
On a 6.99 paperback, you make
69 cents – 15% = about 58 cents.
Amazon pays the author 40%.
That means on a 9.99 e-book, you make 3.99.
You keep all of that, since there are no agents involved in e-books yet, as far as I know. This will undoubtedly change because the need for agents will increase as e-readers gain legitimacy.
So, the author makes more on e-books in royalites. The downside is:
a. no advance
b. limited distribution. You could potentially sell more copies in bookstores, than you could with e-readers because not everyone has them.
Of course, all of this may change. Percentages may go up and down, etc., but my understanding is this. I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
My perspective: In the long run, e-readers give authors much more control, and a much higher percentage of the profit. As they gain popularity, the downsides will diminish.
I live in Argentina, so I have to take into account the import tariff (and then the local markup), which often results in electronics being doubled the price.
Then the fact that territorial rights might even prevent me from buying the e-books, even though those books are not even available here. So an e-book is actually useful for those of us who live abroad.
Oh, look, at the moment I've so many important, large expenses to worry about (new fridge, stove and major renovations to the house)that an e-reader would be the last thing. If I ever come into wealth, then I'd invest in such a thing as a luxury indulgence. I rarely leave the house so it's not something I need. I'd rather have a beautiful book to display in a book case.
Until they start selling ebooks at reasonable prices (I am not paying the same price for an intangible book as I do a 'real' book), I have no desire to own an ereader.
Hi Nathan, hi all,
Seeing as an ereader is the complementary product to ebooks, if the publishers really wanted to make ebooks take off they'd send you an ereader for free with your first ebook purchase.
The product of interest here is the book, not the reader. Expecting the user — not you, Nathan, and not me, but the regular guy who doesn't live and breathe books — to pay for the privilege of buying books, might be a little over-optimistic.
When ereaders become ultracheap, generic and interchangeable between brands, they'll take off.
Beth T Irwin says
You'd have to pay me and I'd still not want it. Real books can be smuggled and shared with people in countries that have censors. Real books not only survive deployments in conditions never dreamed of by insulated IT people who don't deal with the real world, but their end pages can be used to start a fire in emergency conditions or to keep journals or write letters or sketch out information under combat conditions. Real books can be given to school children in dire need of textbooks or ANY books in my language so they can better themselves.
david elzey says
i'm not interested in supporting barnes & noble's exclusionary business practices any more than amazon's.
five years from now the e-readers will have a $30 price point and you won't be limited to proprietary devices. until then, as a gift i wouldn't refuse it.
Paul Neuhardt says
Echoing what someone else said here, I thought iPods and MP3 players were items I had no interest in, at least until I got one as a gift. Now you would have to pry my 5G iPod Classic out of my cold dead hands, or offer me an iPod Touch to replace it with (and let me keep the Classic).
I suppose it might easily work the same way for me with an ereader. Once I got one I might never want to give it up.
Eric Christopherson says
Dedicated ereaders will go extinct within a few years, starting when Apple's multifunctional iTablet debuts.
K.L. Brady says
Personally, I'm a serious gadget queen. From the key finder to NuWave Oven, I've yet to find a gadget that I didn't LOVE. If the Kindle or Nook were around the $100mark, there is NO question that I'd have one already. But with the economy such as it is, I feel I have to justify spending nearly $300. At $100-$150, I don't have to justify it so much.
I see E-Readers going the way of video game systems in time. The price will drop significantly once the newness all wears off and companies realize price is a major reason why demand isn't higher.
Really, this is the same law game consoles face. The less expensive the device, the more likely it is that people will buy one and make use of it (i.e., shell out money for games, or in this case books). All the cool (read: rich) kids get them when they first come out, and then the rest of us follow suit when the price falls enough.
I voted $100. The current cost of the average e-reader is still prohibitive enough to me that I won't get one until a) my cell phone craps out and I can upgrade to an iPhone, or b) someone gives me one as a gift.
Cam Snow says
I would pay $200 or more for one, but there is a huge caveat to that – I currently live in Egypt and print English language books are really hard to come by for anything not on the best-seller list. However, Egypt isn't on the list of the 113 countries that the Kindle (or wonderbook in this case) will work in, so I ain't buyin' one.
ann foxlee says
I don't have a problem with the Kindle or nook or e-readers in general, and I think they certainly serve their purpose for some segments of the population. I even think they will increase readership over time (though probably not sales, since some of that readership will likely be pirated).
My problem is the thought that it would or should replace paper books.
Some people keep comparing it to music: vinyl vs. 8-track vs. cassette vs. cd vs. mp-3…etc. The difference is that recorded music is a fairly new concept compared to the written word, and its formats have changed so regularly in response to the different desires of the public (portability and sound quality being the main two drivers of the technology), that it is only natural for music delivery to have changed the way it has.
Books on the other hand, are inherently portable, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive (for paperbacks anyway).
At this point, the only thing an ereader has over a book is the ability to store a whole lot of books in one small space. Which is useful for certain people– students, teachers, publishing industry folks, travelers, super voracious readers…. But for most people, it is simply unneccessary, and is cheaper and easier to just grab a book. Add to that the collectability of books, the common act of passing on well-read, well-loved books to the next generation, and I don't think books in paper form will ever disappear.
I certainly think book publishers will over time have to find new ways to stay in the game, and that POD will become a new norm. Perhaps publishers will have their own POD machines in your favorite bookstore, or something…
In the meantime, I have no use for a piece of electronics that can only do the one thing, so I'm sticking my tongue out at them.
Maybe once they can do more, or are incorporated into multitasking devices, I would consider it for my more impulse book buys.
For books I know I want though, I will always buy the hardcover edition, so my kids can one day read them and learn to grow fond of 'old book smell'.
I'd happily buy an e-reader for up to 100 dollars if the books I could get on them only cost 1. But if the books cost 9 I'm better off with my used book stores.
my vote for $150 comes with the caveat that this hypothetical e-reader supports non-DRM'ed formats. I don't sign licenses for things I purchase, and I don't rent things I can get from the library for free. Readers that only support locked-down content are therefore useless to me.
But yeah, an e-reader that supports formats like .pdf, and allows me to back my stuff up myself so that I don't have to trust that Amazan will graciously abstain from destroying my property, could get $150 put of me. I base that on having spent $189 on a Dell Mini-9 Netbook. I'd pay about as much for the one as the other.
SphinxnihpS of Aker-Ruti says
I'd like to be the B&N version, however, AT&T 3G network sucks for my area. We had to go with Sprint because we kept getting dropped connections with AT&T's.
Next, I wouldn't mind shelling out $250+ if ebooks were priced below mass markets (I feel a little differently if there are no other editions out there save for hardback.). Otherwise, I'll be saving money by buying the paperback.
If e-books were available for purchase for $0.99 after buying the e-reader, I'd buy one at any of those prices. After all, I can store 10,000 books on it and not take up any extra space. After that, I see one basic flaw.
$10 for a single data transfer AFTER paying $350 to house it? Are you outta yo' damn mind? I can go to book store, and get any book I want for $10. The way the markets going, I could probably get free coffee and foot rub from desperate salesmen while I read it too. Why would I pay $10 and get, physically speaking, nothing in return? It's stupid.
>$100…unless ebooks are sold at ridiculously low prices. The model should be give the reader away for free (or loss, or no profit) and sell ebooks at regular price (compared to print). What we have now are readers costing $300 and ebooks costing the same as a print book.
Ooops, I mean <$100
People who are so adamant about not wanting an e-reader, or so against them are the same people who thought television would kill live theater. Get with the times, like it or not technology has taken over a LOT of things. Just look at grocery shopping, people can scan in their own groceries now. ATM's anyone?
I like the idea, but I'm not ready to sink money into it. I like that you can "lend" your ebooks to a friend. They need more. It should play my music, too.
The ebooks are too expensive.
If they had a program where you'd get half off when you give your reader back to upgrade to the new version, I'd have it already. The technology isn't quite there yet.
Sinking money into a device that will be outdated by the end of the year doesn't appeal to me.
Why aren't they donating ereaders to school kids? or kids who need books?
Henriette Power says
Never thought I would say this, but I actually would love to own a nook (I know there's not supposed to be an article there, but it just sounds too weird to say "own nook".). I love actual books, but I'm sure I would read more if I had an e-reader. I can imagine having a multi-tiered experience of reading: books I buy (always in paperback because I love that kind of binding), books I read on an e-reader, books I read on my iPhone. As I wrote recently on my blog, there's room for all of it in this paradoxically hyper-literate new world.
etc at Fierce and Nerdy says
My husband is an early adopter and gave me a Kindle for our paper anniversary, otherwise I wouldn't have picked $300. I think $100 is a good range. If I really want something, I'll pay $100 for it from shoes to purses.
That all said, if I had known how much I would love my Kindle, I would have bought it for $300 no problem. However, now it's a lot like a car bought new in 2007. You loved it … til you saw the 2008 version … and now there's a 2010 nook. And I want it.
Literary Cowgirl says
Thank you so much Mira! I didn't want to go off of my own contract as it is for a children's book, and I would not presume that it in any way would be the same as what is happening out there with adult fiction. I had heard that many of the big publishers were raking authors over the coals on erights. However, it would seem that I may now be able to look around at ereaders with a guilt free conscience.
Gail Dayton says
I bought mine with Christmas money, so it was essentially a gift. BUT, I would have bought it anyway. I have a Sony 505, and I love it. Love the e-ink, love the capacity, love the long-lasting battery. I even love that it is NOT Internet capable, because I have to control my bookaholism somehow.
The only thing I don't love is that it's kind of hard to page back through to check on something I thought I read, but I'm not sure I remember.
I think a lot of people will eventually use their phone/devices as readers, but I'm one of those that doesn't want all the bells & whistles on my phone because that monthly access fee is so dang expensive. When that goes down…
Still, I loves me my Sony.
Cam Snow in Egypt and Jeff in Argentina:
I'm in China. Yes, it's true that the Kindle and nook are nearly useless to us who are in countries where you can't purchase the ebooks, BUT I purchase ebooks all the time from online sellers – ebooks.com, Powell's, etc. and have no problems downloading them to my laptop (only one or two times I couldn't because of my geographic region and ebook restrictions.) Right now, Sony Reader is our only real ereader option. But don't discount ebooks as an option to reach the English language books you crave. I also suggest audiobooks, way more expensive, but I do what I have to do to access good books!
Pamala Knight says
My Kindle2 was a present. Now, I'm suffering from a serious case of wanting to cheat with the Nook. But I've restrained myself. For how long, I can't say because HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, I'm in big time lust with the Nook.
So what if I do most of my online book buying at Amazon? A simple switch with the credit card and bang, you're in business at B&N. Browsing while I'm in the store. A good thing. The pretty color pixels have turned my head and finally, being able to LEND my books out like normal people do? Oh hell to the yes.
Now, how do I break up with the Kindle2, especially since I'm very fond of it. AND, it was a present. From my husband. OhmygodIneedanaccompliceandanexcuse.
*Sigh* What was the question?
I don't like that it's not (that I could find) backlit. My current e-reader is, so I can read anywhere – in a dark little corner on a rainy day and not have to hunt for a light source.
Wow after 147 posts, it seems that I'll just be another voice in the e-slush pile lol, but I'll still tell you what I think.
I plan on buying one and I don't feel that $200 is all that much to ask for considering the convenience of it all. And FREE copywrite-expired books… You can get your moneys worth out of that alone!
I'm very excited
I like paper and pages. When e-books can give me that, maybe I'll jump on board. I still don't own an i-pod (and I'm only in my 20's). I just like the real thing.