Hooked on eBooks?

“I have an electronic reader, but I never use it in public,” a friend of Spellbinder told us recently. “I don’t want to encourage people.”

This friend happens to work in the book publishing industry, and also happens to be one of the lucky few who still has a job in the book publishing industry. She said she would be surprised if she still had her job in two years. Why?

We’ve reached the age of digitization.

An increasing number of people own electronic reading devices and are opting to buy eBooks over hard copy versions. What will this mean for the publishing industry? What will this mean for bookstores? This is not meant to be an electronic reader-bashing blog post, but rather a helpful explanation of the pros and cons of this new development in the book industry. But most importantly, we want to emphasize that supporting electronic readers and supporting local bookstores doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Read on to find out why.

Sure, electronic readers have their perks. Our friend in the publishing industry was issued one by her company to offset the cost of printing and mailing manuscripts. In her company’s case, electronic readers save time and money.

Electronic readers may also save a traveler from lugging around a stack of to-be-read books on a long journey, although college students may benefit more from the weight-reduction theory than travelers. The heft of some textbooks is enough to anchor small boats. A more portable, lightweight version of textbooks (such as an electronic reading device) might be just the thing to reduce chiropractic bills.

 So yes, electronic readers can have their moment of glory. But the environmental arguments have to stop. There are more legitimate reasons to validate buying an electronic reader than: “They save trees.” That argument is rendered null and void after assessing the fact that reading devices aren’t biodegradable and many books are now being printed on recycled paper. And, the amount of electricity used to charge electronic readers makes their environmental footprint at least on par with that of books.

But, let’s get around to the most pressing issue here, which is how people can have their electronic readers and their local bookstores too! There are different providers and models of eBook readers– Kindle, Nook, iPad, and Sony eReader, to name a few. But there is only one device that we, as a bookstore, have real qualms about:  the Kindle. Sure, we appreciate when customers say things like, “I have a Kindle, but I still try to support my local bookstore too.” But, in reality, owners of Kindles can really only support their local bookstores to a certain point. Kindle stands apart from the rest by limiting owners to purchasing eBooks exclusively through Amazon.com. Roughly translated, that means that you can’t buy an eBook from Spellbinder for your Kindle.

The other electronic readers are more forgiving. They actually let customers buy eBooks through our bookstore! That way, money can continue to circulate through our community! Spellbinder has now partnered with Google to bring our customers the most flexible way to buy eBooks. If you have any questions, please feel free to come in and the staff will be more than happy to lead you through the process of buying an eBook through our website. Or, you can click here for a tutorial on buying a Google eBook through us.

We want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to access the books they want to read–whether they be hard copy or digital. We just hope our customers will make it possible for us to continue to stay in business. The Kindle doesn’t help. But other reading devices can aid in our continued existence in this evolving industry.

-Devon

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