inTouch: Are Book Clubs Adopting More E-Books?
A couple of years ago when the notion that I would get an e-reader seemed as likely as the notion that I’d travel to outer space, I clipped a Speed Bump comic depicting a school marmish-looking older woman telling a younger woman, “If you choose to read on a Kindle in the privacy of your own home, that’s your business, but we’re still calling this a @#$% book club.” The young woman looks astonished, while the two other book club members, sitting with their books open on their laps, are expressionless.
That cartoon made me laugh out loud because such vehemence is not expected from someone who looks like a nice old lady. (It is still on my fridge and its yellowing indicates that I cut it out at a time before we were all LOLing.) At the time, I think I felt more like the older woman–books were objects made of paper, didn’t need to be charged, and while it wasn’t advisable to get them wet, they could withstand a liquid attack and still be used. But now, I think, I understand the position that each person in the frame takes—sometimes I’m resistant to the changes in reading; I’ve accepted/adapted to some of the changes and am surprised when people are so resistant to change; I sit passively watching others debate these changes.
Publishers Weekly recently reported that a Reading Group Choices survey shows “25% of reading group members are using e-books, up 10 percentage points from 2009″ with most people (59%) reading e-books on a Kindle; 26% using a Nook, and nearly 20% reading their books on a tablet.
I remember showing up to a book club meeting with my e-reader. It is not the latest model and I wasn’t able to quickly find certain pages (screens?) when I wanted to reference something in the book. This is an example of why PW concluded, “Despite the growing popularity of e-books and e-readers, the vast majority of reading groups still prefer print books.”
Another important point that PW makes is, “Currently, romance fiction is the genre most frequently read in e-book format (60% of all titles purchased in e-book format).” A romance writer who commented on the article attested to this, noting that when she went to speak to a reading group, all of the women present had e-readers.
Economics is another factor: the lower price point for e-books means that more people in book clubs are likely to choose an e-book. Library books are an option, but if the book is even a little popular, you might have to get on a waiting list, which means you may not get the book in time. When you’re in a book club the next selection may not have been your choice, so when you’re taking a chance on a book, you don’t want to spend a lot.
In a New York Times article, an independent bookstore owner observed that people love paperbacks and if any print books survive, it will be those. However, as the title of the online article states–”E-Books Accelerate Paperback Publishers’ Release Dates“–there is little competition there. If you’re a book club member who already owns an e-reader and the e-book costs less, the paperback may not even have a chance.
Do you or other members of your book club read e-books? Have you tried online book clubs in which no one can even see the format you’re using to read?
MOVED BY WHAT YOU READ?
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Elsewhere inReads: Maybe understanding the notes feature on the Kindle would help book club members remember what they wanted to share.