Our book-buying habits are changing.
Perhaps what is happening is that, after an initial bias towards digital books due to their shiny-new-novelty and an increase in audiobook subscription-based libraries such as Audible, our book-buying habits are balancing out into a marketplace where all formats can co-exist happily.
All three formats have a place in our lives.
The experience of touching a book can be as important as the words contained within that book. Through notes written in the margins, and the crinkles, creases and coffee stains, a physical book takes on a uniqueness that expresses something of the owner. An e-reader, however beautiful the case, does not look nearly as impressive on a shelf in our living room, bedroom or study as a collection of books. Nor does it so articulately express our personality.
On the other hand, my e-reader currently holds around 350 books. I do not have the storage space in my house for so many physical copies. I love the instant access I can have to any of these titles at a moment’s notice, anywhere, so long as I have my e-reader with me. It is always with me.
An audiobook is completely hands-free. I like to listen to big, complex, historical novels while I garden; to non-fiction while I travel; to fantasy while I cook.
Given that each format satisfies different functions and ways of accessing the words, I have long thought that I would enjoy a way of owning all three formats of any given title, that wouldn’t mean spending a small fortune: One for the bookshelf (to admire, touch, smell, and perhaps even scribble in), one for my e-reader (to take with me everywhere), and one for my portable audio device (so I can contemplate novel ideas and concepts, even while my hands are occupied).
Physical books have a cost per copy printed. Digital and audio-download editions cost nothing per copy; all the production expenses happen upfront. It doesn’t cost any more to produce 1000 audio-download or digital copies of a book, than to produce one.
So, I propose this to the publishing world: When selling the paper-copy of a title, offer the option of purchasing the digital and audio-download versions at the same time, for an additional fee which provides a sensible discount on the cost of purchasing each format separately.
I’m intrigued to know what other booklovers think of this idea.
Would you purchase a book in all three formats?
Perhaps you work in Publishing and think this idea is insane/impractical/intriguing*. (*Delete as applicable.)
Leave me a comment below, share your thoughts.