Untitled – Afraid I Can’t Tell You This One In The Title…

Save Money on Books - Get the eBook Instead

Why all of the mystery all of a sudden?

Well, it’s not that exciting but has something to do with the way I thought about writing this post. You’ll see soon enough and will probably work it out before I tell you.

I’ll shortly be going on holiday – skiing if you must know – and I intend to take about 200 books with me. At least 200. Even though I’m certain I will have very little time to do any reading at all (our skiing holidays are quite exciting you see).

How will you fit all of those books in your luggage?” I hear you ask. OK well maybe you’re not asking that at all because you’ve worked it out already. OK let’s draw this out a bit longer before I get to the punchline. “Are they really tiny tiny books?” OK. Sorry. You guessed it – I can take as many books as I like with me because they are e-books.

So What Is The Money Saving Tip?

That’s the tip – for any books you want to read, get the ebook instead.

Instead of spending all of your money on books – particularly when travelling (I don’t know about you but when hanging around at airports I always end up looking in bookshops and always get tempted to buy a few books) get the electronic version for your favourite e-reader or even just to read on your laptop/netbook.

Before I Go On – Paying My Respects To The Good Old Paperback

I love books. I really do. So before I go on to tell you why e-books are a good idea if you want to save money (in case it’s not obvious already) I want to romanticise and get a little nostalgic about the good old paperback. Yes nostalgic because unfortunately I do believe that books as we know them are dying out and will be all but gone in a few years. The reason in my view is simply economics.

There are several things I love about paperback books. I think I prefer reading them than reading a screen although I have read some recent studies that suggested this was just to do with familiarity and actually e-books are easier to read and also easier to hold than paperback books. OK, so maybe I could be persuaded on that though I am still somehow emotionally attached to my paperbacks. I also like the fact that you can sit on them without breaking them. Or throw them or drop them, or knock them off the table.

They have character and they get old and I like them. They look good on bookshelves, you can write in the margins and when you give them to someone to lend or as a gift it does feel like you’re actually giving them something.

Market Trends – People Love Convenience

When MP3s first came along I was slow to embrace them. The quality was noticably worse than CD quality and I had a huge collection of CDs. Can you remember portable CD players? How pointless do they seem now compared to the iPod shuffle for example? The truth is MP3 as a format is a compromise in quality, but nobody cares in the end because of the convenience. People love convenience.

Similarly CDs replaced Cassettes and Vinyl. The world moves on and convenience takes over. It is not quality that is taking over, it’s convenience, driven by commercialism – economics, mass production and marketing, influencing the masses and making it really convenient for us to like the new techology. The early claims about the quality of CDs (e.g. you could scratch them or spill jam on them and they would still play) were just not true, but they did provide a more durable and convenient format than vinyl or cassette and then MP3s were much, much more convennient again. For a long time iPod was neither the best quality nor the cheapest MP3 player but Apple made it so convenient that it became a huge success. Now who doesn’t have an iPod? I think my own mother actually has 3 of them!

Why Are E-Books Taking Over?

There’s no two ways about it, ebooks are convenient and they’re here to stay. But this article is about saving money and that’s the main point here. eBooks are simply cheaper. Much cheaper. Cheaper to produce, cheaper to distribute, cheaper to find and cheaper to own.

You can easily get lots of great ebooks (probably including those you want to read) for free. Even if you can’t get the particular book you’re interested in for free, buying the ebook version is going to be cheaper, because it’s far cheaper to produce and distribute for the author (by the way in case you haven’t already, you can get our ebook completely free here). You will also usually get the book delivered to you instantly online for free too – no need to travel to a shop, no need to hunt around different shops or check stocks, no need to pay for parking, no need to worry about damaged goods or even to stand in a queue to pay.

E-books also take a lot less space (no need for bookshelves, though I have to say I hope bookshelves don’t start disappearing any time soon, I would miss them), are easily shared, can be sent around the world instantly and without the need for postmen or stamps, can be interactive and back to my initial point you can take hundreds, or even thousands of them with you and the device you’ll be reading them on stays the same size.

What Do You Think?

So what are you gonna do? Have I convinced you? Are you, like me, still attached to books made from paper? Will you, like me, start getting yourself some ebooks despite that fact?

Do you think that e-books will completely replace paper based books in the coming years, mostly or not at all? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.


Untitled – Afraid I Can’t Tell You This One In The Title… — 8 Comments

  1. Love your blog, and this is good advice, but unfortunately, for a lot of the books I want to read, the Kindle version is more expensive than the paperback version. So, I just find myself checking it out from the library, and then not finishing it before I have to return it due to my horrendous ADD. I hope Amazon fixes this soon so I can have a Kindle full of books I haven’t read to match my shelf full of books I haven’t read.

    • Hey Joe,

      thanks for stopping by & thanks for the comment. I know occasionally Kindle versions can be more expensive but I thought in general they were cheaper? In any case it looks like that’s the way the world is going…

      take care, best wishes & good luck at your conference,

  2. Alan,
    This made me think back to 2010 when we first set out on our journey. My husband is an avid reader of the classics. His book collection was wall to wall in our house. Each of our kids had a wall of books. Our house smelled of that paper smell which i loved. So when we moved, we had to get rid of 90 percent of our books. It was HORRIBLY heart wrenching yet liberating at the same time.
    In the end, he’s still refusing to go digital even though i’ve been digital for over 14 years and we really can’t carry much since we need to keep our belongings to one suitcase each.
    I love my tablette and nook and love the fact that i can put as you said over 200 books on it. Yesterday we downloaded War of the worlds for free and my son was reading it after diner. I love that.
    p.s. i hate your comment box. i have to scroll to type a comment and re read what i wrote.

    • I have a very similar story – we had a guest room which doubled up as a study/library in our old house. I LOVE books. It’s still a wrench for me to think that traditional books are no longer needed. To be honest I don’t really know where I sit with it. Perhaps on the side of technology even if my romantic side doesn’t like the idea. The last 5 books I’ve read have been on either iBooks or the kindle app on my iPad or iPod.

      Comment box – OK just for you I’m changing it back to the default, how about that?


  3. Alan,
    We bought my friend a Nook (or was it a Kindle?) (it doesn’t matter)anyhow, another great thing about these is you can share the books also. And get copies from online libraries.

    I wish I read more because I absolutely love to read but it puts me to sleep. Isn’t that funny? Not so much when you are in college trying to study for finals. But if i really can’t sleep, I pick up a book. 3 pages and I am out. LOL.

    Have fun on your trip, be safe and enjoy!

    • I know what you mean but the books I’ve been reading lately give me so many ideas that I have the opposite problem – I start thinking too much then can’t sleep – even though I’m tired.

      I think the new Kindles (the small ones) look really cool but I have an iPad (which I stupidly declared was mainly the kids’) and an iPod touch so I don’t really need a kindle. To be honest I’m as happy reading books on the kindle app on my little iPod touch as anything – easy to hold & backlit so great for readiing in bed,

      thanks I will 😉


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