Does Anyone Buy Physical Books These Days?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MICHAELSD, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. MICHAELSD, Oct 3, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014

    MICHAELSD macrumors 68040


    Jul 13, 2008
    As much as I've been wanting to start reading actual books, there is such a wealth of information available online that I'm hard-pressed to read a book I download unless I'm immediately engrossed. Granted, I haven't purchased a full book for my own pleasure since the collector version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (which I read in two days, but that's beside the point). There are a lot of personal development, business, philosophy, and finance books I'd love to give my attention. Frankly I, along with the rest of society, need to learn how to stare at text for longer periods of time. I can do it without an issue whilst reading an article or on a forum but reading a book is a tougher commitment, which is a shame since I could probably find hundreds of books that would be a fantastic read.

    While I respect any form of writing, fiction novels just don't seem to be worthwhile to me to read anymore since there are so many TV shows and movies. This is my own thinking but fiction books are like unfinished media, scripts if you will, and the movie/TV series is the final product. That's not a wholly-applicable analogy but a lot of authors write novels for attention to potentially develop a series based on it.

    For those who do purchase physical books: where do you go? Personally I find the shopping experiences miles better at a Barnes & Noble location with the covers and book sleeves to entice compared to a blasé iBooks Store where every book looks the same. To me purchasing a physical book seems more gratifying and makes it more exciting to read.

    If you do purchase actual books, do you do it because you prefer the shopping experience or the reading experience? Although shopping and purchasing a physical book is a preferable experience, I would rather read on my iPad or even iPhone since I prefer a digital interface and oddly have a level of disdain for the feel of paper.

    It also seems to be an expensive habit if you get carried away at bookstores. You can go ahead and sell a used book but do you if you're buying 1-2/week?

    So, physical books: I'll be a little sad if we have to see them go. Anyone else? It's likely the minority that's actively reading...
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I have a number of friends that prefer books over an ebook/tablet.

    I also noticed on my last trip, quite a few people on the airplane with books instead of tablets.

    While the numbers for books is not good, and ebooks I'm sure is increasing, there is still a market for physical books.
  3. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    Yes a thousand times yes.

    e books are spawn of the devil, a good book is a friend for life.

    Old books have a character, and that cannot be duplicated on a screen.

    Plus just try to swat that fly, with your e-reader.:D
  4. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Jan 30, 2004
    having a drink at Milliways
    only real books for me to read.
    don't think it will change soon, if ever.
  5. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Does Anyone Buy Physical Books These Days?

    Yes. Until DRM is scrapped, as with music. Im not interested in buying ebooks tied to any one specific store platform. Same with movies. I have rented a couple from itunes out of convenience sake, but I see no value in purchasing... Which is really just a longer term rental the way the system works now.

    I finally went legit buying by the music track when Apple dumped DRM.
  6. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Most of people do for the reasons happybunny mentioned.
  7. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    Swatting Flies.:p
  8. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2014
    I only buy real books. E-books don't interest me at all. I don't like reading them, I don't like having them tied to an electronic device, and they don't have any character. I have a geography book printed in 1856 that I can pick up and read. I have a few Bibles from the 1830s that I can hold in my hand and read. It's fascinating to me to hold a book that old and wonder who else once held it, and to read their notes written in margins.

    If everyone else goes to e-books, I will stubbornly refuse, because I don't want that experience to be lost for future generations.
  9. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Stopping furniture from wiggling ;)
  10. Scepticalscribe, Oct 3, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014

    Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Beautifully expressed, and I couldn't agree more.

    Same here. While I will readily read newspapers, periodicals, and articles online, I far prefer to read real books, printed on paper, to anything on a screen. A real book - especially an excellent work of fiction, is like an old - and much loved - friend, one that you can return to again and again.

    So, to answer the question posed by the OP, I prefer the reading experience. The shipping experience (Amazon, Barnes & Noble) is convenient.

    However, to be quite honest, I actually prefer being able to buy my books in a proper bookstore. I love the physical fact of books, and the feel of paper, and the sight of an exquisitely printed page.

    To my mind, one of the marks of a civilised urban space is the possibility of the existence of book stores, relaxed places where you can read, add to your store of knowledge, and perhaps, be have your intellectual curiosity piqued in entirely new ways. And - perhaps - meet, or trip over, or come across, like minded souls, those who also like to read.

    Re fiction being "an unfinished media", or 'scripts' (while TV series are the 'final product'), my thinking on this is the complete opposite, if anything, to yours. All too often, I find the TV series (or movie adaptation) to be a pale, anaemic, truncated - occasionally even a criminally eviscerated or mangled - version of what was an outstanding work of literature……….
  11. Ddyracer macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2009
    I need the smell, touch and weight of a real book. I also prefer the fonts and the fact that I won't really get eyesores.
  12. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    People give my dad B&N gift cards, and he gives them to me. I also take surveys where they only give us Barnes & Noble gift cards too. That's pretty much the only reason I go into a bookstore these days and buy physical books.

    Otherwise I use a Kindle Paperwhite 2 and buy Kindle books, discounted Audible audiobooks, and I much prefer it.
  13. Fozzybadfeet macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2009
    Orange County, CA
    I tried to get used to reading books on my Nexus tablet...But I don't think I can ever give up reading a book in hand.
  14. LadyX macrumors 68020


    Mar 4, 2012

    I love pbooks. I love reading and shopping for books. I frequently visit my local bookstore. When the books I want aren't available there then I buy from Amazon. I have a Kindle but I don't use it anymore. Traditional books, the comforting smell of paper, the weight of the book in your hands, flipping the pages, etc. I missed these things so much which is why I stopped reading ebooks. Traditional all the way. Printed books will never die!

    Oh and this thread reminded me of this ...

  15. kazmac macrumors 603


    Mar 24, 2010
    On the silver scream
    Yes. I still prefer to read physical books, most film scholar stuff with the occasional novel or history book.

    I love any medium where you get sucked into the world with the characters, but there's something about a physical book, going over passages and then seeing those characters/environments and storylines play out in your head.

    The only time I buy eBooks is when I do not want to spend double digits on a novel that I'm uncertain about. I prefer to read paper rather than digital.
  16. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    And a heartfelt, fervent amen to the sentiments expressed so eloquently in this post.
  17. LadyX macrumors 68020


    Mar 4, 2012

    I completely agree with this.
  18. Ann P macrumors 68020

    Jun 29, 2009
    Despite the fact that ebooks are so easy to obtain these days (most for free), I prefer physical covers. Can't beat B&N or Amazon.
  19. juliehrobak macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2014
    I've only read about three books digitally. I've always read paper books (and I read A LOT). I haven't been to a Barnes and Noble in years. I either buy my books at Goodwill, Half Price Books, or the Library for free. Annually, I would say that my reading expenses are less than $100, and I read about three to four hours a day, with very few interruptions from that flow. On Saturdays and Sundays, I will read entire novels, and sometimes spend 12 hours reading. You could never do that with e-books, since they never get discounted, pretty much.
  20. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Yes, I absolutely prefer physical books. I buy many online at Amazon, but I much prefer to casually browse at a local independent bookstore (I find B&N to be atrocious). When I'm out for a day in the city (San Francisco) I usually drop by City Lights or Dog Eared Books (to name just two of many fine options). I'd definitely try looking up any independent bookstores, used book stores, etc. in your area.
  21. hatuko macrumors member


    Sep 28, 2014
    Espoo, Finland
    I can't remember when it was last time I bought a paper-book. I buy books online (Apple and Amazon), both novels (which I've been reading rarely over the past few years...) and technical books. I like having lots of books I can carry with me on a device like the iPad. And I can read and search the same books on the computer as well when I am working (I mean technical books). And then of course there is so much stuff online...
  22. Mousse macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2008
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    I read mostly dead authors, so e-book is the way to go. Most are already public domain (thank you Project Gutenberg) and really no point in getting a hard copy ($$$). But there are some instances where I absolutely will not settle for anything less than a hardbound book: references, how-to book (how to cook, how to build furniture, how to pick up women:p) and textbooks.

    e-ink does not do those types of books justice. Casual reading, e-ink all the way. I'm looking to add the waterproof Kobo to my e-reader collection. I want to read while relaxing in the tub.
  23. Aspasia macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2011
    Halfway between the Equator and North Pole
    I've tried, I've really tried. But I just can't make the transition from the real thing to reading on my iPad, even though my bookshelves are overflowing.

    Even considered getting a Kindle, since I like to read in bed and worried my iPad would go crashing off the bed onto the floor. That's been sitting in my Amazon "save for later" cart for a couple of months.

    Can't bite the ebook bullet yet. Plus, I love bookstores.
  24. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    when it comes to books still under copyright protection, buying used paperbacks from amazon is cheaper than ebooks
  25. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    I like both physical and electronic.

    I picked a nice little hard back off my shelf last night and began reading it. I made my way through about 85% of it before the end of the day.

    The physical books are great for all the reasons folks above mentioned, the smell of the paper, the feel of it and all the other tangible characteristics of them.

    I like the electronic books simple for the convenience of having them in once device and easily brought about with you.

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