Books are expensive.
Let’s begin with that statement. It’s a fact. A brand new, hardcover novel (and some paperbacks) can run you anywhere from $15-$30 or more. I have a handful of authors whose books I have on my living room shelves and whose new hardcovers I will always buy. I think of them as collectors’ items. I also have a few lesser favorites whose hardcovers I will occasionally buy if the book sounds fabulous or gets great reviews, and I happen to have a little extra spending money that week.
I also have a Nook.
I got it for my birthday two years ago, and I was hesitant. I’m one of those people who loves the feel of an actual book in my hands. I love the smell of the ink and the smoothness of the paper between my fingers as I turn the pages and the heft of an actual hardcover. All that being said, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with my Nook. The best part of it is shopping along online, finding a book I’m interested in, pressing a button, and reading in a matter of seconds. So very cool. And don’t get me started on the awesomeness that is playing games on it or—even better—watching Netflix.
I love my Nook.
That being said, something funny happened yesterday that I found amusing, and I was wondering if any of you have come across the same thing.
I am a fan of suspense writer Harlan Coben. I don’t have all his books, but he’s one of those authors whose hardcovers I will consider buying on one of those days when I’ve got some extra money. I was shopping yesterday and saw his newest book on the shelf. I pulled it down, read the blurb, though it sounded really good. The hardcover was priced at $27.50. I’d get a discount, but it would still run me in the low $20s. I put it back.
The Nook version of Coben’s newest is $12.99. I haven’t purchased it because that seems like a lot to me.
Huh? Wait. $27.50 was too much, but so is $12.99?
Why is that?
The ebook would end up $10 cheaper than the hardcover (after discounts), but still I hesitate. Is it because with the hardcover, I have something tangible I can hold in my hand? Shake it and say, “See? I bought this.” And on the Nook, it’s not much more than vapor because words on a screen have no weight? Is something worth less if I can’t hold onto it? If I hold my Nook, which has dozens of books on it, is it the same value as if I tried to hold a pile of actual books in my arms? It doesn’t feel like it.
It’s all about perception, isn’t it?
It amuses me. You?