Books, the idea, cont’d: Buying vs. reading

Posted by Rob Walker on April 27, 2010
Posted Under: Consumer Behavior

Via Bookshelf Blog, click for more.

Here via the Bookshelf blog are two items of note. Above, the iBookshelf app, available for iPhone or iPad, as I understand it.  Below, an iPhone bookshelf skin.

Via Bookshelf Blog. Click for more.

I assume — if you’re at all interested in this series of posts — you’ve already heard about, read, critiqued, etc the Ken Auletta iPad piece in The New Yorker. Can I possibly add anything? Not really, but in relation to this series, I did ponder this aside:

There are now an estimated three million Kindles in use, and Amazon lists more than four hundred and fifty thousand e-books. If the same book is available in paper and paperless form, Amazon says, forty per cent of its customers order the electronic version. Russ Grandinetti, the Amazon vice-president, says the Kindle has boosted book sales over all. “On average,” he says, Kindle users “buy 3.1 times as many books as they did twelve months ago.”

Obviously buying books isn’t the same thing as reading books. It’s quite plausible to me that e-books, being rather easy to buy, will set a new standard for the distribution of paid-for and unread words. Does it matter? My mixed feelings are too obvious to bother expressing.

But as it happens, I was sorting out the physical books in my office the other day, and trying to estimate the percentage of books I own but haven’t read. There are many reasons for this. Let’s just set aside the stuff that I have no intention of reading but was sent to me be a publicist, or don’t want to read but might have to at some point for professional reasons. There are plenty of the books I own that I really do intend to read — but I “haven’t found time.” How many? What percentage? And would such titles pile up more quickly on ebook “shelves”? I think for me they would.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page. Tags:

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