Monday, July 26, 2010

Ebooks and independent bookstores

Today on my lunch break I went to Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle to buy a guidebook for an upcoming vacation.  With vacay on the brain, I had been thinking about whether I should buy a Kindle or Nook or whatever those things are called.  Even though I generally dislike the idea of reading a book on a computer-ish device, the idea of being able to fit a zillion books in one small space is appealing, packing-wise. 
So I asked the woman working at the checkout counter whether Kramerbooks sells eBooks.  She said (not unkindly) No, that's the antithesis of everything we stand for, and directed me to a cartoon on the subject posted on the wall.  The cartoon made the point that the qualities eBooks are striving to accomplish--indestructability, lendability, ability to read "offline" without recharging--have already been achieved in actual books.  Not untrue!  But they left out "ability to pack 15 of them in my suitcase."
So now I feel like if I buy an eBook machine maybe I am screwing over independent booksellers.  But surely they should be able to get in on the act?  Is Kramerbooks' antipathy an ideologial thing, or do Amazon, etc. bar indepent booksellers from participating in the eBook market?  (And does anybody have any recommendations for good vacation books--preferably in paperback?) 


Lorin said...

That sounds so Berkeley. If I din't know you were East, I'd assume you were here.

Other indies sell ebooks - and our library system lends them out.

My 2 cents: If you get an e-reader, don't get a Kindle. Then you will be stuck just buying from Amazon. I can read ebooks from almost anywhere on my Nook, plus pdf's.

Lorin said...

Oh, and here are some book rec's:

Sita said...

Well, you know I've got the iPad, which lets you have more than one way to upload books and therefore get them from a variety of places. That said, I read The Help (hard copy)this summer and loved it. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

And I can upload books onto my ITouch--which I find easier to use than the Kindle that I had (and which broke).

I too loved The Help.


Tim said...

I've read just enough Dystopian novels to think that my firm stance against E-Books might leave our library as the last bastion of intellectual freedom after the fall of civilization. That said, if you want a more practical reason to stick with paper books you could consider research that shows the rate of reading on a screen v. paper substantially favors paper-bound books, which means that you might be able to pack fifteen books in your Nook, but you'd be more likely to read the two paper-bound books you stuffed in there instead.