Weekly Tea Discussion: Can I Have An E-Book With That Book Please?

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When you order a hamburger, you most likely like get fries on the side because I don’t about you, but a hamburger feels a little incomplete without the fried. When you go to the Olive Garden, you get an endless supply of breadsticks and salad on top of the entrée you ordered. If I haven’t made you hungry and you’re still with me , in some cases we always expect something on the side or combined with your main order. It has always worked with food and in restaurants…

Can the same be applied with e-books?

When e-books first arrived, I don’t think people imagined how quickly it would catch on. Although there is a decrease in sales, e-books are still very popular. Phone reading (reading e-books on your phone) is also on the rise. Digital reading is the future.

But as much as you enjoy reading from e-books, there is no other feeling like feeling real pages through your fingers or the great smell of a new book. So you love both e-books and physical books but you can’t have both…or can you? Wouldn’t be great to have the best of both worlds? And that is what I want to discuss this week: should we get an e-book with a physical book purchase?

If you really give it some thought, it would make book lovers’ lives a whole lot easier. When I put a book on hold at the library, I usually put both book formats on hold. If the printed book arrives first, I start to read it. But while I’m reading the e-book arrives, I don’t immediately return the printed book. I read a lot faster from the physical book but for someone who lives in New York City and isn’t always guaranteed a seat on the bus or the train, having a digital format of the book you’re reading is a blessing in disguise. It is difficult to read a physical book on a crowded train. Your reading doesn’t have to end during rush hour. You see how that works out? So maybe publishers should offer an e-book with the purchase of a hardcover or paperback.

I can only find two programs that provides this benefit: Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook and a website called BitLit. Kindle Matchbook looks at your qualifying past and present Amazon purchases of print books and allows you to buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. With BitLit, you take a “shelfie” of your bookshelf and the app lets you know which books are eligible to be downloaded either for free or at a discounted price. Even Barnes and Noble, during a Christmas season, offered an e-book version with a purchase of selected hardcover books.

So how come publishers are not willing to put this in practice? Well, let us look at the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • You wouldn’t have to carry the book around (especially if it’s really heavy)
  • Easier access on your phone or tablet
  • It’s nice to have a back up in case, God forbid, something happens to the physical copy
  • Can carry them  anywhere and extremely useful when you go on vacation

All of these pros sound great, right? So then why are big name publishers so against the idea? One reason comes to mind and is the only con I can think of:

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Of course, money.

Remember, publishers weren’t to thrill about the concept of e-books. But of course due to public demand, they relented. So I don’t think publishers would be jumping up and down for a program that allows free or discounted e-books with the purchase of hardcovers or paperbacks. It would be easier for publishers to charge both formats separately. Publishers’ bottom line is what they use with printed books. But charging e-books as a separate entity allows them to make up some of the difference.

My opinion? I really don’t see what the problem. Printed books take time and effort to produce what us book lovers call a beautiful work of art. There is money and production time put into it so I completely understand why publishers would not be giving away the printed books. But the e-books do not really cost anything to make. I can create an e-book right now and it wouldn’t cost me a thing. Here, I just think we are dealing with corporate greed, thinking of themselves instead of the needs of the consumer. Would a reader have the best of both worlds if he or she was able to access both formats at a low-cost? You never know…that might actually encourage people to even by printed books, knowing they are getting something on the side in return.

Do you think e-books should come with a hardcover or paperback purchase?

8 thoughts on “Weekly Tea Discussion: Can I Have An E-Book With That Book Please?

  1. It would make life easier, for sure. But I understand why it’s not… I would like the option to add the e-book to my order for a smaller value than the e-book alone, you know? Like, the physical book is 12$, but you can get bother physical and e-book for 14$?! I would totally go for that

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  2. I think publishers are still trying to figure out what to do with e-books. I agree that it makes sense to receive e-books as a companion to physical copies and I was glad when Barnes & Noble did that a while back. Some readers I know tend to get the e-copy first and if they really like the book, they’ll purchase a physical copy. I guess that works best for publishers but not for broke readers (me). When I think about e-books, I don’t think of them as another way to read but a different way to present content. I think e-books should be more interactive (like the ones geared to kids) because there’s potential there for it to be so (include graphics and videos to bring the content to life). Of course that would cost more so maybe it’s not an appealing option to publishers.

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    1. Good point. I do that with library e-books mostly: I borrow the e-book and if I really like the book, I’ll buy the physical copy. But it would be ideal for me to have them just bundle together.

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      1. I considered doing that but I pay closer attention when I’m reading a physical book. Now I try to decide what to get as ebook. If I’m not sure I’ll like the story, I get ebook.

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