Friday, July 11, 2014

Discussion Question: Should E-Books Be Treated Like Printed Books?

Sometimes I don't feel like I own my e-books.  I can't touch them, smell them, or give them to friends.  Obviously there's nothing that can be done about the touching and smelling, but if I buy the book, shouldn't I be able to do whatever I want to with it? Yes, I paid less for it, but I'm assuming it costs the publisher a lot less for me to buy it as an e-book than as a printed book (anyone have any idea how much are the relative costs?)  It's just strange that if I read an amazing book on my Kindle that there's no way for me to lend it to a friend.  I know there's a lending feature on Amazon, but I checked quite a few of my books and none of them have that option (my understanding is that it's up to the publisher).  Plus the fact that, from what I read, you can only lend it once.  And I know I could share a Kindle account with multiple people and that's another way books can be shared.  But other than that (which really doesn't count), I can't lend my e-books.  Should I be able to?  Thinking about it from the publisher's perspective (and Amazon's), if we were able to send a Kindle book to anyone to share, they would lose money.  And probably more money than they lose by people sharing their printed books because I generally loan books to people who live near me, I don't mail them to people.  If I could send e-books, I could just hit a button and send it to anyone anywhere.  Which makes it more likely that I would.  So I do understand it, but at the same time, it feels like I don't really own the book.  

Thoughts? (And obviously I'm not talking about ARCs, that's a whole different subject).

Posted by:  Pam


  1. I totally agree with you. I'm so torn on ebooks. On the one hand, I LOVE my Kindle and all the awesome book deals/egalleys I can get on it. But on the other hand, I miss the feel of an actual book in my hand. And I definitely agree about the whole lending out books thing. There are so many I own the ebook version of that I would love to lend to my sister, but I can't. :( The thing is, normally ebooks aren't THAT much cheaper than a paperback. So why does it really matter how many people I lend it to? And what's the difference between that and the library? Isn't it the same concept? For me personally, if I like a book enough, I'm going to buy myself a physical copy anyway. If I was able to borrow the ebook from somebody it may entice me to actually buy the book whereas if I couldn't borrow the ebook I may never read the book and therefore never buy it.

  2. I agree completely. There has only been one book I have checked on that I am actually able to share on the kindle out of the many books I have purchased. So it is annoying that I feel like I partially own the book

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

    1. I agree too! I think we should be able to share them! If that's too open then put some restrictions on it, but no sharing or sharing only once is nothing!

  3. YES! I feel this way too. Ebooks seem less substantive to me. I have a kindle, and I'm pretty sure that Amazon holds ultimate rights to them. I think that we should be able to lend ebooks. They say that some come with lending rights, but it's really only indie books and for such a short time at that. I do love ebooks however. I read on my iPhone and I feel like I can get through those quicker, and read in short snippets more easily than pulling out a paper copy. Because of that, I'm almost always reading an ebook as well as a print. But some books I want to read in print. Great discussion!

  4. I agree, this is hard one. I love my Kindle, but mainly for my eARCs. I don't really buy many books on it. I prefer to actually be able to hold the book in my hands and do what I want with it. I understand why they stop you sending them, but it does stop the book from truly feeling like yours. I'd still pick a physical book over an ebook any day! :)