5 Reasons Why I Stopped Buying Books

Can you remember when you bought your last CD?

I cannot.

However, it was many years ago.

Very soon, we will won’t be buying software in a packages either. I download most of my software directly from the online app store. Even for my Mac.

Now, I am making another leap.

I have decided that I am not buying any more hard copy books.

Here’s why…

No More Books

Just like the iPod eventually killed the CD, the Kindle and the iPad are well on their way to making the physical book obsolete.

Many doubt this. Physical books will always have a place, but the eBook is quickly becoming a standard.

This past January, eBook sales exceeded hardcover book sales, more than doubling from the previous year.

One of the main clutter points in my house is a small alcove that has two bookcases in it. It is packed with books I have read over the years. And there are more books in a closet somewhere.

I am ready to make the jump to eBooks and am done with the physical clutter of traditional books.

So, here are “5 Reasons Why I Stopped Buying Books”

     

  1. Clutter – The #1 reason I am not buying any more books is because I do not want the physical clutter. I have hundreds of books from over the years. I reference them from time-to-time, but not as often as one would think. When I talk to clients, almost all of them have “book clutter” in their homes.
  2. Price – In today’s economy, eBooks are cheaper than hard copy books. Many people are surprised that the price difference is not that much. Sometimes only a dollar or two. Why isn’t an eBook much cheaper than a hard book? Tough question. However, I will make a prediction. I believe that the Internet and new mediums will cause a split in the industry. Traditional book pieces will continue to decline in selling point, however, expanded online content, experiences, and online courses will provide more value to buyers. You will see a low end eBook market and a higher price/value online experience market.
  3. Physical Convenience – Kindles and iPads win hands down here. I love being able to carry a dozen or more books without adding any weight or physical inconvenience. When I get on a plane, sometimes I don’t know what I will be in the mood to read. With a eBook reader, I can carry as many titles as I want.
  4. Reading Across Platforms – Even though I have had a Kindle for a few years, this is something new. Amazon now has Kindle software that runs on almost every platform I own, from my Mac to my iPad to my iPhone. I find myself reading more and more across platforms. Reading a little on my iPad, some on my Mac, and even a few pages on my iPhone while waiting somewhere. Of course, the Kindle app magically syncs all the devices to the furthest page I have read.
  5. Ability to Search and Markup – I was always writing and highlighting the books I read. In fact, if you look at the older books on my shelf, you would be hard pressed to find one that does not have yellow highlighting in it. eBook’s also allow us to highlight and add notes. While maybe not quite as satisfying as using a marker, it has the distinct advantage of making my notes and markups searchable. If I am going back to look for something, I can instantly search for it, instead of flipping back through many pages.

 

Love the eBook

I am making the leap.

Going forward, I am only going to buy eBooks.

The Kindle app and iBooks are my main reading tools.

I am looking forward to reading a lot more books.

And having a lot less book clutter.

Do you still buy hard copy books? Could eBooks replace your books in the near future?

Updated: Thanks to an astute reader pointed out that I said “physical” book sales. January eBook sales exceeded “hardcover” book sales. Corrected above.

Check out my new Kindle eBooks: I have just released two new "Best of TMN" eBooks via Amazon. If you are new to TMN or want a compilation of some of my best TMN writings, then please check out my new ebooks on Amazon by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • TabithaEdwards

    I love this post, Craig! Yours are the reasons I’ve crossed over to eBooks. My main reason was clutter. I love reading, and I keep books that I really enjoy. As a result, I tend to accumulate too many books. But I only have so much room for them. It just made sense to make the jump to eBooks. The other big seller for me was being able to carry around as many books as I want without being weighed down. I was reluctant at first to make the switch, but I absolutely LOVE my Kindle!

    • TMNinja

      @TabithaEdwards Tabitha, great to hear it! Thanks.

      I use the Kindle app on my iPad for my main reader. (previously had a Kindle device)

      Which Kindle do you use?

      • TabithaEdwards

        I use the Kindle Wi-Fi. @TMNinja

  • ElaineReads

    I used to have ebooks on my Palm (in its many forms.) I have hundreds of ebooks on my netbook. I have had a Sony Reader for 2-3 years. I have a Droid phone and a Xoom on order.

    Having said all that, I still prefer print books because I can find them! I never know what device has a book loaded on it. Of course, that says something about my lack of organization, but I can lay my hands on every print book I own.

    There are 1000s of those by the way. I have a dedicated room plus overflow upstairs.

    Oh, and don’t get me started on DRM!

    • TMNinja

      @ElaineReads Elanie, love the part about “being able to find” your physical books! :)

      And yeah… I won’t bring up the DRM thing. :)

  • lori.radun

    Well first I have to save enough money to buy a Kindle or an iPad. If we are going to make this switch, do we need both a Kindle and an iPad, or if we had just an iPad, would we be okay with reading everything?

    • ElaineReads

      @lori.radun There is a Kindle app for the iPad, so I don’t see any reason you would need both. The Kindle is a lot lighter though.

    • TMNinja

      @lori.radun Lori, great question!

      Amazon leads the charge here. Their Kindle device and app are dominating this market currently. You can get their newest Kindle device (WiFi version) for $139. Not a bad starting point.

      Their Kindle app is available on almost all platforms… iPhone, Android, Blackberry, iPad, Windows, and Mac. You can read your books on any device and it syncs across the others.

      In terms of iPad vs. Kindle… I stick with my iPad because I use it for so much more. However, there are advantages to the Kindle. It is lighter. Perhaps, more durable. And reads better outdoors.

      (I may just have to do a post of the in-and-outs of switching to an eReader.) :)

  • TabithaEdwards

    I love this post, Craig! Yours are the reasons I’ve crossed over to eBooks. My main reason was clutter. I love reading, and I keep books that I really enjoy. As a result, I tend to accumulate too many books. But I only have so much room for them. It just made sense to make the jump to eBooks. The other big seller for me was being able to carry around as many books as I want without being weighed down. I was reluctant at first to make the switch, but I absolutely LOVE my Kindle!

  • ElaineReads

    I used to have ebooks on my Palm (in its many forms.) I have hundreds of ebooks on my netbook. I have had a Sony Reader for 2-3 years. I have a Droid phone and a Xoom on order.

    Having said all that, I still prefer print books because I can find them! I never know what device has a book loaded on it. Of course, that says something about my lack of organization, but I can lay my hands on every print book I own.

    There are 1000s of those by the way. I have a dedicated room plus overflow upstairs.

    Oh, and don’t get me started on DRM!

  • lori.radun

    Thanks Elaine. That is helpful.

  • lori.radun

    Well first I have to save enough money to buy a Kindle or an iPad. If we are going to make this switch, do we need both a Kindle and an iPad, or if we had just an iPad, would we be okay with reading everything?

  • clutterdiet

    Hi Craig, I am a big ebook lover as well and have almost stopped buying books… occasionally there is a book that has so many illustrations in it and I need to reference it so much that I get it in paper form because I can more quickly flip around to the pages I need while I am doing something, writing something. Great post! We are on the same wavelength so much! :)

    • TMNinja

      @clutterdiet Lorie! Good to see you over here. :)

      I hear you on the graphics/pictures issue. I do think that both the iPad and Kindle are coming a long way in starting to display better images/colors.

      My biggest issue is the physical space that books take up. I recall your recent post on people who “collect” National Geographic magazines. I just don’t have need (or room) for shelves and shelves of books.

  • ElaineReads

    @lori.radun There is a Kindle app for the iPad, so I don’t see any reason you would need both. The Kindle is a lot lighter though.

  • lori.radun

    Thanks Elaine. That is helpful.

  • wildpokerman

    I still buy paper books even though I own a Kindle and nook. I’m a big fan of marginalia and the ereaders are still not up to snuff when it comes to marking up a book. They do have some nice features like sharing a passage or sharing where you are at in a book but nothing beats pulling out a fountain pen and writing all over a book. Because of that my ereaders are mostly for fluff but anything serious I buy in paper format.

  • clutterdiet

    Hi Craig, I am a big ebook lover as well and have almost stopped buying books… occasionally there is a book that has so many illustrations in it and I need to reference it so much that I get it in paper form because I can more quickly flip around to the pages I need while I am doing something, writing something. Great post! We are on the same wavelength so much! :)

  • TMNinja

    @clutterdiet Lorie! Good to see you over here. :)

    I hear you on the graphics/pictures issue. I do think that both the iPad and Kindle are coming a long way in starting to display better images/colors.

    My biggest issue is the physical space that books take up. I recall your recent post on people who “collect” National Geographic magazines. I just don’t have need (or room) for shelves and shelves of books.

  • TMNinja

    @lori.radun Lori, great question!

    Amazon leads the charge here. Their Kindle device and app are dominating this market currently. You can get their newest Kindle device (WiFi version) for $139. Not a bad starting point.

    Their Kindle app is available on almost all platforms… iPhone, Android, Blackberry, iPad, Windows, and Mac. You can read your books on any device and it syncs across the others.

    In terms of iPad vs. Kindle… I stick with my iPad because I use it for so much more. However, there are advantages to the Kindle. It is lighter. Perhaps, more durable. And reads better outdoors.

    (I may just have to do a post of the in-and-outs of switching to an eReader.) :)

  • TMNinja

    @ElaineReads Elanie, love the part about “being able to find” your physical books! :)

    And yeah… I won’t bring up the DRM thing. :)

  • wildpokerman

    I still buy paper books even though I own a Kindle and nook. I’m a big fan of marginalia and the ereaders are still not up to snuff when it comes to marking up a book. They do have some nice features like sharing a passage or sharing where you are at in a book but nothing beats pulling out a fountain pen and writing all over a book. Because of that my ereaders are mostly for fluff but anything serious I buy in paper format.

  • TMNinja

    @TabithaEdwards Tabitha, great to hear it! Thanks.

    I use the Kindle app on my iPad for my main reader. (previously had a Kindle device)

    Which Kindle do you use?

  • TabithaEdwards

    I use the Kindle Wi-Fi. @TMNinja

  • lori.radun

    You can also do a post on what all you use your iPad for. How does it save you time?

  • lori.radun

    Never mind. I just saw a post you did on productivity uses for the IPad 2. :0)

    • TMNinja

      @lori.radun Thanks!

  • lori.radun

    You can also do a post on what all you use your iPad for. How does it save you time?

  • lori.radun

    Never mind. I just saw a post you did on productivity uses for the IPad 2. :0)

  • KayleighK

    I have yet to find an ebook that has smooth page transitions yet. All the ones I’ve demo’d do this obnoxious flashing thing, and I certainly don’t have the spare cash to indulge in an ipad AND buy books electronically. Can’t buy used ebooks, or trade ebooks in at the local used book store either, as far as I know. I’m sure the transition will happen at some point, but so far I’m unimpressed with the technology… and I love how used book stores smell :)

    • TMNinja

      @KayleighK I agree… the transition is going to take a while. eBook readers are improving by leaps and bounds, but there are still many challenges from price, to usability, and of course… sharing. :)

  • KayleighKazakoff

    I have yet to find an ebook that has smooth page transitions yet. All the ones I’ve demo’d do this obnoxious flashing thing, and I certainly don’t have the spare cash to indulge in an ipad AND buy books electronically. Can’t buy used ebooks, or trade ebooks in at the local used book store either, as far as I know. I’m sure the transition will happen at some point, but so far I’m unimpressed with the technology… and I love how used book stores smell :)

  • KayleighK

    I have yet to find an ebook that has smooth page transitions yet. All the ones I’ve demo’d do this obnoxious flashing thing, and I certainly don’t have the spare cash to indulge in an ipad AND buy books electronically. Can’t buy used ebooks, or trade ebooks in at the local used book store either, as far as I know. I’m sure the transition will happen at some point, but so far I’m unimpressed with the technology… and I love how used book stores smell :)

  • Notebooktivity

    I am following this development with great interest. I have managed to download a bood in iBook for the iPhone but cannot get to read it. For me a book as to be the printed word. I might change my mind should I decide for a Kindle or iPad. Reading on my Mac would not be convenient in bed, so I would need something lighter.

    And I love having books in the shelf. I brings memories, where I bought it, who gave it to me, where I read it … an eVersion will sit on a hard drive, nothing I can touch and feel.

    • TMNinja

      @Notebooktivity You are right about the ability to have a physical book to have and touch.

      For me, it is a give and take in terms of space and clutter. I would rather not have lots and lots of books on a shelf. :)

      • Notebooktivity

        @TMNinja I know the feeling. Especially when moving house books are heavy and take up lots of space. When I moved country the first time I got rid of nearly all books. When we moved again we brought boxes filled with books – I just could not give them away.

  • Notebooktivity

    I am following this development with great interest. I have managed to download a bood in iBook for the iPhone but cannot get to read it. For me a book as to be the printed word. I might change my mind should I decide for a Kindle or iPad. Reading on my Mac would not be convenient in bed, so I would need something lighter.

    And I love having books in the shelf. I brings memories, where I bought it, who gave it to me, where I read it … an eVersion will sit on a hard drive, nothing I can touch and feel.

  • umpirsky

    Books have their advantages http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhcPX1wVp38

  • umpirsky

    Books have their advantages http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhcPX1wVp38

  • davastewart

    I have also (mostly) made the switch to ebooks. One other point in their favor is the vast number of free books available. I’ve read all sorts of classics that I missed through the years, and re-read a few I loved because they were free, easy to carry and with me most of the time. The only real issue that plagues me is that through the years, I developed the habit of immediately giving away any book that I read and loved. I just feel the need to share a good story, but can’t do that when it’s in digital format.

    • TMNinja

      @davastewart For me, the ability to carry many eBooks is a big factor.

      I do agree with you though about the sharing… would be nice to be able to share an eBook. :)

  • davastewart

    I have also (mostly) made the switch to ebooks. One other point in their favor is the vast number of free books available. I’ve read all sorts of classics that I missed through the years, and re-read a few I loved because they were free, easy to carry and with me most of the time. The only real issue that plagues me is that through the years, I developed the habit of immediately giving away any book that I read and loved. I just feel the need to share a good story, but can’t do that when it’s in digital format.

  • sweetperceptions

    I have made the same choice as well! :)

    • TMNinja

      @sweetperceptions Love it!

      Which is your device of choice? Kindle? iPad? Other?

      • sweetperceptions

        @TMNinja I’m on Nook and some on Kindle. Depends largely on where a particular book is available. I love it that they have syncs between different platforms. I can carry my books anywhere I go! And new books are always within one click! :) Afaik, I love their bookmarking and sync technology so I can continue reading in another platform. From the handheld to my phone and to my Mac.

      • TMNinja

        @sweetperceptions I too love the multi-platform syncing! In fact, I just wrote a post on that very topic. :) Look for it soon!

  • sweetperceptions

    I have made the same choice as well! :)

  • TMNinja

    @davastewart For me, the ability to carry many eBooks is a big factor.

    I do agree with you though about the sharing… would be nice to be able to share an eBook. :)

  • TMNinja

    @sweetperceptions Love it!

    Which is your device of choice? Kindle? iPad? Other?

  • TMNinja

    @Notebooktivity You are right about the ability to have a physical book to have and touch.

    For me, it is a give and take in terms of space and clutter. I would rather not have lots and lots of books on a shelf. :)

  • TMNinja

    @KayleighK I agree… the transition is going to take a while. eBook readers are improving by leaps and bounds, but there are still many challenges from price, to usability, and of course… sharing. :)

  • TMNinja

    @lori.radun Thanks!

  • sweetperceptions

    @TMNinja I’m on Nook and some on Kindle. Depends largely on where a particular book is available. I love it that they have syncs between different platforms. I can carry my books anywhere I go! And new books are always within one click! :) Afaik, I love their bookmarking and sync technology so I can continue reading in another platform. From the handheld to my phone and to my Mac.

  • TMNinja

    @sweetperceptions I too love the multi-platform syncing! In fact, I just wrote a post on that very topic. :) Look for it soon!

  • Notebooktivity

    @TMNinja I know the feeling. Especially when moving house books are heavy and take up lots of space. When I moved country the first time I got rid of nearly all books. When we moved again we brought boxes filled with books – I just could not give them away.

  • JoshuaBCarter

    Great article, wanted to add a brief comment and see what your opinion is:

    I love the portability and synchronization of eBooks, using the Kindle app across my iPhone, Mac, and PC. It’s great in that you can read a couple of pages here and there. I would like to see better PDF sync as I do read several books & whitepapers in this format. iBooks keeps my PDF in the same spot on my iPhone but doesn’t sync across multiple devices; would like to see this functionality in DropBox too.

    I predict (more like hope) that publishers will follow the Bluray/Digital Copy industry format…meaning you can purchase a bundle that includes the hard or soft cover book and for a little extra money, receive a digital copy. Amazon is clearly poised to do this better than anyone else. I already utilize this to some extent. When a new book releases that I know I’d like to purchase, I’ll purchase it through Amazon, and send the Kindle Sample to my iPhone. I get to read the first chapter while the book ships to me in 2-3 days. Like others in this thread, I still prefer the printed page, feel of the book, value my home library, and like the conversation starter of a hardcover book, but also really enjoy being able to knock out a couple pages while standing in line to get lunch. I’m willing to pay a little extra for this ability, but not full price on both ends.

    • TMNinja

      @JoshuaBCarter Good point about the PDF reading. I think you are right, that currently this does not sync across devices.

      Yes, it would seem that down the road there should be an option to get the e-copy with the hard copy. We’ll see if this develops.

      For me, I prefer not having the hard copy. (Too much clutter!) And will be happy with reading on my iPad, Mac, and iPhone. :)

  • JoshuaBCarter

    Great article, wanted to add a brief comment and see what your opinion is:

    I love the portability and synchronization of eBooks, using the Kindle app across my iPhone, Mac, and PC. It’s great in that you can read a couple of pages here and there. I would like to see better PDF sync as I do read several books & whitepapers in this format. iBooks keeps my PDF in the same spot on my iPhone but doesn’t sync across multiple devices; would like to see this functionality in DropBox too.

    I predict (more like hope) that publishers will follow the Bluray/Digital Copy industry format…meaning you can purchase a bundle that includes the hard or soft cover book and for a little extra money, receive a digital copy. Amazon is clearly poised to do this better than anyone else. I already utilize this to some extent. When a new book releases that I know I’d like to purchase, I’ll purchase it through Amazon, and send the Kindle Sample to my iPhone. I get to read the first chapter while the book ships to me in 2-3 days. Like others in this thread, I still prefer the printed page, feel of the book, value my home library, and like the conversation starter of a hardcover book, but also really enjoy being able to knock out a couple pages while standing in line to get lunch. I’m willing to pay a little extra for this ability, but not full price on both ends.

  • SeaLinc2

    Hi Craig:

    I’m assuming your starting point is that when people buy a physical book, they’re buying them brand new at full price? I haven’t done that in years, except for the rare present of a book so important the price drop can’t be waited on. Otherwise I buy all my books used, which saves a LOT of money.

    I am in complete agreement with you on wanting to avoid too much physical clutter. I put together my own system based on two life experiences: at one point in life I was homeless for almost three years. And currently I have disabilities that really limit my energy levels. Here’s how those circumstances play into owning books.

    1) If there are books that catch my attention, I get them at the library first. I log on to the website, place a hold, and have them delivered to the branch closest to me so I don’t spend time hunting all over for them. This saves my limited energy also.

    2) Our library just put together an Amazon style online rating and review system. So once I’ve read a book, I can review it, tag it, and compile similar books into lists. This is a way of keeping the books on hand. I’ve wasted money in the past on new books out of worry I’ll forget I was interested unless I buy it NOW.

    3) Finally, I let the idea I need to have the book marinate for at least a month. Then I can get it if I’ve paid off my obligations for that month and will have at least $20 left in my checking account afterwards. Buying it used is preferable to new. The goal is to spend less than $10.

    4) And I don’t let myself buy the book at all if it’s a large size or very heavy. If I can’t throw it all into a suitcase and leave, then I have too much.

    It’s been a really helpful system that doesn’t take nearly as long to do as it does to type out! :-) There have been a lot of books over the last year that I thought I really just had to have. Then once I read them for free from the library, I was either disappointed, lukewarm, or just underwhelmed. I figure this system has probably saved over $1,000, even with buying used.

    • TMNinja

      @SeaLinc2 Lincoln, thanks for sharing!

      Sounds like you have a really impressive system in place for your reading. I like it!

      I agree with many of your points. I too have bought many a book only to discover it wasn’t what I hoped. Wonder how many unread ones I have purchased over the years.

      Please keep the great tips coming. :)

  • SeaLinc2

    Hi Craig:

    I’m assuming your starting point is that when people buy a physical book, they’re buying them brand new at full price? I haven’t done that in years, except for the rare present of a book so important the price drop can’t be waited on. Otherwise I buy all my books used, which saves a LOT of money.

    I am in complete agreement with you on wanting to avoid too much physical clutter. I put together my own system based on two life experiences: at one point in life I was homeless for almost three years. And currently I have disabilities that really limit my energy levels. Here’s how those circumstances play into owning books.

    1) If there are books that catch my attention, I get them at the library first. I log on to the website, place a hold, and have them delivered to the branch closest to me so I don’t spend time hunting all over for them. This saves my limited energy also.

    2) Our library just put together an Amazon style online rating and review system. So once I’ve read a book, I can review it, tag it, and compile similar books into lists. This is a way of keeping the books on hand. I’ve wasted money in the past on new books out of worry I’ll forget I was interested unless I buy it NOW.

    3) Finally, I let the idea I need to have the book marinate for at least a month. Then I can get it if I’ve paid off my obligations for that month and will have at least $20 left in my checking account afterwards. Buying it used is preferable to new. The goal is to spend less than $10.

    4) And I don’t let myself buy the book at all if it’s a large size or very heavy. If I can’t throw it all into a suitcase and leave, then I have too much.

    It’s been a really helpful system that doesn’t take nearly as long to do as it does to type out! :-) There have been a lot of books over the last year that I thought I really just had to have. Then once I read them for free from the library, I was either disappointed, lukewarm, or just underwhelmed. I figure this system has probably saved over $1,000, even with buying used.

  • TMNinja

    @SeaLinc2 Lincoln, thanks for sharing!

    Sounds like you have a really impressive system in place for your reading. I like it!

    I agree with many of your points. I too have bought many a book only to discover it wasn’t what I hoped. Wonder how many unread ones I have purchased over the years.

    Please keep the great tips coming. :)

  • TMNinja

    @JoshuaBCarter Good point about the PDF reading. I think you are right, that currently this does not sync across devices.

    Yes, it would seem that down the road there should be an option to get the e-copy with the hard copy. We’ll see if this develops.

    For me, I prefer not having the hard copy. (Too much clutter!) And will be happy with reading on my iPad, Mac, and iPhone. :)

  • Zen_Ken

    Ebooks are really starting to take off now, partly due to the iPad and Kindle. For new books, I’ve seen Amazon offer KindleBooks as an add-on to a physical book. For most books, I’ll be trying to get an ebook version, but some just aren’t there, and there are a few books where a physical copy is great to have (First Editions and such). I thought it would take a lot of time for ebooks to take off, but it’s starting to accelerate quickly. Amazon reported they are selling more ebooks than physical ones. That’s certainly a paradigm shift. Libraries are also lending out ebooks as well.

    • TMNinja

      @Zen_Ken Hey Kenny, good to see you here!

      Since this post, I truly haven’t bought a hard cover book. Sticking to my Kindle App! :)

      PS – Let’s touch base!

  • Zen_Ken

    Ebooks are really starting to take off now, partly due to the iPad and Kindle. For new books, I’ve seen Amazon offer KindleBooks as an add-on to a physical book. For most books, I’ll be trying to get an ebook version, but some just aren’t there, and there are a few books where a physical copy is great to have (First Editions and such). I thought it would take a lot of time for ebooks to take off, but it’s starting to accelerate quickly. Amazon reported they are selling more ebooks than physical ones. That’s certainly a paradigm shift. Libraries are also lending out ebooks as well.

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