walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

People Who Buy eBooks Still Buy pBooks

ETA: I _thought_ I had spotted a big gap in what I had ordered; in the event, it appears to have been exactly one missed children's book. Further edits throughout the post to correct numbers

The subject line is a true statement, however, I wonder what, if any, solace it could provide for a publisher of new books?

In 2012, I bought 36 pbooks. Of that number, 7 were gifts (all bought new), and two were books for my children (this is an embarrassingly low number). One book was bought used for book group and immediately donated to a library thereafter, which intended to include it in the book group bag. I bought 1 audio book, which I am counting as a p for physical, rather than p for paper book. It was a gift. 20 were bought used; 16 were new.

Here is the list of 9 books I bought new for myself and my family over the course of the year (about 5 of them are exclusively for me, 2 are children's books and the history of atlases and the book about gays in Canada were bought as part of an ongoing effort to puzzle out some genealogy questions that my husband and I have):

An annotated bibliography of the sociology of Canadian Mennonites and related groups
Drummer Hoff (children's book)
Urville (book of drawings by an autistic person)
If you give a Mouse a Cookie (collected kids books)
a history of atlases (genealogy and just plain cool)
_Long Term Care for the Elderly_, which was fantastic and
_The Cultural Context of Aging_, which I haven't read yet
Bartlett's quotations
_Persecuting Homosexuals_ (haven't read -- dual interest LGBT and genealogy for the area)

I knew I had cut back on buying books for the kids; I'm a little stunned that I cut back to two. I may need to work on that.

In 2012, I bought 98 ebooks. I was careful not to count games, free books or kindle guides and so forth in this list. Of those, about 13 were bought for someone else who reads books on my kindle. About 5 of them were shorts (short stories or a novella or whatever). Obviously, none of them were bought used.

For reference purposes, over the course of the year, I bought 2 e-ink readers and 1 of the larger kindle fires (I kept one of the e-ink readers for myself; the other two were for other people).

If it gives you solace that I bought one new pbook for every 6ish ebooks I bought, or, 5ish new pbooks for every reading device I bought over the course of the year, then you are a person who is very good at seeing the silver lining.

ETA: In August, I went to a bookstore on Cape Cod. At this bookstore, I bought my children three books. I also bought my nieces a whole bunch of books -- probably a couple dozen, maybe more. None of those books are included in this count. If they had been included in this count, the analysis would have to be modified as follows: MORE new p-books than used p-books overall. 12 new books purchased for me/my family. While the total count of p-books vs. e-books would continue to favor e-books, it would be approximately a 2 pbooks for 3 e-books ratio. While it is possible there were additional book purchases during the course of the year which I have forgotten, it seems unlikely, as I don't even go into bookstores any more, except in unusual cases such as the August purchase of birthday gifts for my nieces while we vacationed together. We also went to a Toys R Us on that trip where I bought them a ton of Calico Critters stuff and assorted other plastic crap. I'm fairly certain I spent more at Toys R Us than at the bookstore and other charges associated with the trip completely swamped those shopping expeditions.

You may consider this a response to this:


Or not, as pleases you.

Appendix for the excessively curious: so what were those 20 used books?

In December, I paid over $250 for a copy of Hiebert's volume about CGCM (Holdeman), and $24 for the thin and largely useless Penner history of the CGCM.

In November, I bought a copy of _Houseworks_ used. While it was only $6, it was probably still a waste of money, as the website is better.

In October, I bought a book written by the wife of a former coworker of my husband (I think former -- a little unclear on that) about advice given to poor families in the Victorian and Edwardian years. The (distant) personal connection in conjunction with this being an area of interest for me (swear!) overcame my ongoing reluctance to buy things published by Palgrave Macmillan. While I feel guilty that the author did not receive money from this, I don't feel bad about stiffing Macmillan -- and I enjoy giving Midtown Scholar money. I also bought GTD used for $8, which was absolutely not a waste of money, even tho I don't actually do GTD and could have got it from the library.

In September, I was in the throes of my divorce project (collecting the decrees and whatever else I could find for my maternal grandmother and my father's maternal grandfather -- she had three and he had two divorces so it seemed interesting). I bought Riley's Divorce in America (which I had owned in the past but either loaned and lost or sold), _Living in Sin_ and _Putting Asunder_. I had attempted to avoid paying almost $70 for _Putting Asunder_, but had to return it to the library because of a request so I broke down and bought my own copy. I also bought some scholarly thing about moral panics (your guess is as good as mine) and _Escape from Hunger_, which took a major turn for the worse halfway through.

In August, I bought the Zippy memoir, read it for book group and donated it at the end of the discussion.

In July, I bought no physical books.

In June, I bought the 3rd edition, second printing of Kanner's Child Psychiatry, and a copy of Kenneth Davis' problematic but worth reading _Two Bit Culture_.

In May, I bought no physical books.

In April, all the books I bought were new and for other people.

In March, I bought a book about 7-11 in Japan, _Frisians to America_, _Drowned Landscape_, _Atlas Maior_ and a book about Frisian linguistics. You can sort of see a trend there, with the exception of the 7-11 books, which was really worthwhile altho a bit dated.

In February, I bought a genealogy of Delps in America for over $50 that proved not particularly relevant to the Delps I was researching.

In January, I bought a copy of _Apart and Together_, which is about Mennonites.

[An earlier version of this post miscounted how many I had described and left out GTD.]
Tags: e-book coverage, our future economy today
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