Awhile back I read a post by Grace on her blog about how she got a Kindle but eventually stopped using it and went back to buying physical books from her local book retailer. It got me thinking back then but I was too busy to post my own thoughts about the issue.
I've often thought about trying to win Kindle/Nook giveaways and I have the Kindle and Aldiko apps on my phone, however I don't really utilize them much.
Around Christmastime I downloaded a handful of free books for my Kindle app that I haven't even looked at since. And on Aldiko, the only reason I haven't removed it is because I'm currently reading a book on there (FTW - a book about a video game gold farmer and what lengths he goes to to make his money) for free that Amazon charges full-price for. But again, I started reading that one awhile ago and I've only read a few chapters of it as I keep forgetting about it.
I can see the versatility of having a digital platform for your books - a smaller tablet or a smartphone are both way more portable and in my case, I can hold my phone and read/do stuff one handed while I'm feeding Jay, but for some reason I just prefer having a physical book.
I like being able to put a book back on the shelf when I'm done with it. Sticking an actual bookmark in it when I'm stopping for a bit, etc. Maybe it's the pack-rat side of me, as I like to collect a series and then display it on the bookshelf in our home.
From the time I was little I enjoyed reading - my parents read to me when I was little, my dad would take me to the library a few Saturdays each month when I was little and I would pick out a few. While other kids were spending their allowance on this or that, I would buy books with mine. I remember in 4th grade a bunch of girls brought all our Baby-Sitters Club books to school with us and displayed them by our assigned seats. We would swap and borrow them - it was fun! And just like movies and CDs, when I enter someone's home, books is another thing I skim their shelves for if I see them - I like to walk in and see what others are reading, watching, listening too while I'm waiting for them to finish up whatever. It fascinates me.
It was a sad day when Waldenbooks closed at our mall. The big one at the big mall in the Chicago suburbs also closed awhile back too. I used to enjoy hanging out at Media Play too - the media giant. I'd browse the movies, the books, the music selections and items and spend hours there.
Borders has always been a favorite of mine - whenever we were visiting that big mall in the suburbs, the giant Borders store was always a stop on the way home for us as at the time we didn't have one in our city (They eventually built one though). For some reason I always found their prices to be better than Barnes and Noble and until B&N moved into a bigger store out at the mall, Borders always had the larger selection it seemed. Even in college, the town I was in had both but the B&N was just soooo small and I could never find what I was looking for, plus the Borders down there gave student discounts on some items. Also, I love the Borders Rewards program - unlike B&N, they have a free version of it where I still get coupons throughout the week (I just got one last week that gave me 50% off the list price of an item - we got the Game of Thrones 4-book set for $18!) and last winter they gave me a total of $25 in Borders Bucks, which is basically free money - I got several books and items for free, just for being a loyal customer! The only thing I think B&N has over Borders is their kids section, at least in my city - B&N seem to have a much more organized kids section than Borders, making it easier for me to find books for Jay, plus they have a free kids book club program too which I get savings on. We're lucky - our Borders is one of the select ones staying open; the one down by my college already closed up!
Granted, I do buy bestseller paperbacks from Walmart as they're several dollars cheaper, but for all other book needs/purchases I try to go to Borders. Yes, I've ordered some stuff off Amazon in the past too, but only because I was already placing an order and/or had a giftcard.
Regardless, some days I find myself wishing I had the book I'm working on in digital format, but then I always come back to thinking "no, I don't need it."
What they need to do is find a way to make it so that if you purchase the physical copy of a book you can also download a free copy of it to your digital device, sort of how most DVDs these day include a digital copy disc so you can put the movie on your computer or smartphone or tablet. I would LOVE it if they somehow figured out how to do that, that way I could have my physical book at home on my nightstand or coffee table but if I was out somewhere and bored, having time to read or say I'm at home feeding Jay, I could read the book on my digital device.