That eBook Thing Will Never Catch On

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the Amazon Kindle 2. However, whenever I write about it (as I did recently here and here), I always have someone who says, “I will never convert to an eBook reader. I just love the feel of a book in my hands.”

someone holding the amazon kindle 2 in their hand

I totally understand that sentiment, but imagine this:

  • In 1442, “I will never get used to a book. It doesn’t feel right. I just love the experience of unrolling a scroll and the beauty of hand-written words.” Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type and the mechanical printing press in 1439.
  • In 1881, “I will never convert to electric lights. It just isn’t natural. I love the smell of candles and the flickering of the light.” Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb in 1879.
  • In 1916, “I will never buy an automobile. It’s too dangerous. I just love of the feel of a buggy and the sound of the horse’s hoofs against the road.” Henry Ford began mass producing cars in 1914.

You may never convert to an eBook reader, but what about your children or grandchildren. I’m just sayin.’

Question: What about you? What would it take for you to convert?
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  • Josh Wagner

    Right now, it's the price for me. Spending that kind of money before I even buy one book is not going to happen at the moment. There's also no real guarantee that I can find the books I want to read right now on the Kindle.

    I love the idea of the Kindle and eBook readers. Reading any book in your library at any time! Awesome! It's like an iPod for literature. But I still want that book feel. And I know that the next generation will not care. I just like the feel, look, and smell of a new book.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I wish the Kindle 2 price would come down, too. I'm sure it will eventually.

      However, since the books are roughly half the price you pay in hardcover, it only takes about 35–36 of them to pay for the device. (I did the math!)

      • Josh Wagner

        Darn that math! Oh, well, eventually I'll get one.

      • John_Gallagher

        35-36 books?! You REALLY have to be a reader! My goal is one book per month, so that is a 3-year payback. Too long for me knowing that in less than 12 months the technology will simply change too much. Bring me a reader for the laptop and I'm in! I like the 'look' of a nice book on a bookshelf and the ease at which I can go back to pull it off the shelf, but the reader has so much potential in terms of bookmarking, blogging, and presentations. I think THAT is where the value needs to be…not in the price of the book…

      • Peter_P

        36 books is more tha I have bought in the last 10 years (thank God for friends and libraries).

        The price is way out of my range right now. It needs to start doing a lot of other stuff before I will be able to justify the expense.

      • Adam_S

        I think cost is a losing argument. It is about convenience. People will buy for convenience. But it will be hard to convince them that they will be saving money by spending money. Amazon says that once people buy a kindle their book purchasing actually close to doubles. So people are still spending about the same as before, just getting more titles (and potentially not sharing books as much.)

      • Bob Rognlien

        If you curently subscribe to a daily newspaper or weekly newsmagazine the savings of going to the e-version can pay for the Kindle in about 2 years!

    • garyminor

      For me, the "right price " seems to be $199. When it hits that level, I wil be ready.

    • Mike Rapp

      To me, Josh, it's not about paper versus plastic. The killer app is already here: the iPod/iPhone.

      About two years ago, a little company called Amazon quietly purchased a little company called With the press foaming at the mouth over the latest Windows OS (flop) and the release of the iPod Touch, most people didn't even know this happened. And those that did mostly shrugged their shoulders.

      But it registered a 7.8 on my Richtor scale. And here's why.

      When I word at Word, audio books were a throwaway. Retailers hated them because they had nowhere to rack them in their store: they were neither a book nor music.

      It was a waste of time and energy, but the authors wanted to tell people their book was on cassette, so we did them and made nothing. As the distribution world changed, audio books became so inconsequential that we stopped creating them, or just gave the license to a small company that was happy making pennies per sale.

      But audio books are coming on like a hurricane, and the iPod is the reason. Podcasts were the first shot over the bow of radio, and now that authors realize they can read their own book and people will want to listen — they are taking off like a rocket.

      I have a client that just discovered audio books. He never got it until he tried it, and now he raves about how "easy" (the killer app) it is to find, download and listen to a book. And it's CHEAP. At least it will be, when the customer refuses to pay for paper to listen to ones and zeroes.

      You heard it here second. MP3s will be the format that makes paper a minority format, just as it did the CD and paper booklets.

  • Thomas Duff

    As a technologist and a highly ranked Amazon reviewer, it would seem that I would be the perfect fit for eBooks. My hardest decision when I go on vacation is how many books to pack and which ones! (yes, I need help…)

    But I'm still a paper person. Bookshelves, libraries, book propped on my chest as I read in bed… I'm not ready to give that up. Am I "anti-eBook"? No… I'll end up getting a Kindle (or similar) some day. But for the time being, I'll still opt for paper.

    But the more I type this, the more I realize I should probably *get* a Kindle and start reviewing *some* books as eBooks… So much to do, so little time… :)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Me thinkest that thou art almost persuaded!

  • anne jackson

    I thought I would HATE the Kindle. Then I started traveling more. I will never go back!!!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I feel the same way. For traveling, you can't beat it. Gail and I are headed to Africa, and it's a very long flight (as you know). But I will be able to take my entire library of Kindle books. I have about 6 that I want to read on this trip. But they take up the physical space of one small one.

  • Julie Gillies

    Touche, Michael.

    Godspeed on your trip to Africa. I just wrote an article for about the chaos that is Zimbabwe today. .

    May God bless and protect you and those with whom you travel.

  • Dayle

    As long as books are available, I'll choose them over any electronic gadget. Sorry. Maybe not the answer you wanted, but I can't imagine a world in which books do not exist, and I hope that day never comes.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think they will continue to exist, just as candles and buggies continue to exist. ;-)

  • Phillip C.

    I have an ebook reader on my phone and I like it but I also agree that there’s just something nice about holding a “real” book while reading. I do read faster with ebooks though and would probablay buy a kindle if I wasn’t broke.

  • Andrea

    I would convert when Amazon Kindle will be available outside US.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I know, that has got to be very frustrating. It will happen eventually, I am sure.

  • Gregg Stutts

    You're 100% correct. Ten years ago, I used to think a cell phone wasn't a necessity. We'd all gotten along just fine without them all of our lives. Who doesn't have on today?

    Someone may prefer the feel of an actual book today, but as you've said, their grandchildren won't…not any more than we'd prefer to dial a phone that hangs on the wall in our kitchen.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Another good example, Gregg!

    • Dayle Shockley

      Sorry, Gregg. I don't agree at all with your comparison of phone evolution to book evolution. A phone is still a phone, no matter how it's constructed. Of course, there was Don Adams' shoe, which might not count. But, seriously, I don't think eBooks can, rightfully, be called a book. It's a way of reading a book, but it's not a book.

      And about those grandchildren, I have to dissent again. Children love holding books and looking at the pictures. Unless Kindle steps it up a bit, they won't hold much interest for the little ones.

  • juliepb

    1. Imagine a couple of Kindle's replacing the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of literary works lining your favorite bookcase. Uh, I don't think so.

    2. Imagine your grandchild trolling through dust-covered boxes and unearthing dog-eared, annotated, note-laden copies of The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Pursuit of God, 102 Minutes, He Is There and He Is Not Silent; all in your familiar and "love-you-like-crazy-whenever-they-see-it" handwriting. Can Kindle do that? I don't think so.

    3. Think back to tear-splattered pages of a particular read which healed your soul with every turning of the page (i.e. 'Making the Corps, by Thomas Ricks). Does Kindle perserve tear drops? I don't think so.

    I'll incorporate Kindle ease when it comes to travel etc., but give up REAL books? Nevah! That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Julie "Go Ahead & Call Me a Literary Dinosaur" Barnhill. Check out:

    • Michael Hyatt

      Ha! Good point. I am not suggesting that books will ever completely go away, any more than candles have gone away. We still use them when we want a special ambiance.

      • Mike Rapp

        One purchase price gets you all formats: paper, mp3 and Kindle. It's the same principle as doing away with DRM in the music world. The customer doesn't see format, they see content.

        In the software world it used to be standard to sell the Mac and Windows version of software packages separately. Now, one purchase price gets you either/both. Makes sense to me.

    • Dayle Shockley

      I agree, Julie. Books are not going away in our lifetime. There would be an uprising.

  • Chris Crimmins

    When what you are paying for is the content not the apparatus, I will join. Well perhaps before but I believe the masses at that point will join.

    If the apparatus was free, than the worry of finances or damage would be alleviated, freeing you to spend more money on that art of writing which ultimately drives the need for such a device.

    • Mike Rapp

      That's it, Chris. And with the new iPad, that's exactly what you're getting. IMHO, the Kindle costs to much to be a mass market device. Recreational long-form reading is a narrow market already, and getting moreso with the web.

  • David Dunn

    I'm a bit of a Luddite about this. The tattered corners and hastily scrawled notes of a paper book present themselves differently to me than neat print on a screen; a "real" book is more subject than object to the bibliophile. I guess that's why I prefer "real" conversations to video conferencing, even though both transmit the same information. That being said, though I prefer books for reading, as an academic I have to "pillage" a lot of books and articles. I would get an eReader if it could run EndNote and if Nashville had a decent public transportation system.

  • Jim Martin

    I love the Kindle2! I have now read almost three books as well as numerous issues of various newspapers.

    I am especially drawn to reading “one-read” kind of books on my Kindle. It is convenient and very easy to use, etc. I also like the text.

    I prefer to buy traditional books if they are the kind which i will refer to again and again in my work,

    For me, having access to both e-books and paper is very, very nice.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I am reading WAY more, now that I have a Kindle. It does make it easy. And I am buying more books, too.

  • Kevin Cooper

    If I wrote a book, I don’t think I would care whether it was distributed via hard copy books or a ebooks or Kindles. I’d just would want to get it into the most hands as possible. Good Post!

    • Pam Hogeweide

      and that is the point, after all, isn't it! When Napster first introduced file sharing of music, listners went wild. But the music industry freaked out, and several high-profile musicians went berserk. If content is the point, then the vehicle to deliver that content is changing. I don't see books going away anymore than vinyl records went away.
      But nobody listens to 8-track anymore!

  • Adam S

    I am an ebook lover. I read Anna Karena and several other russian novels on my Palm IIIe. I have been reading on PDA and phones for years. I bought a Kindle in November and upgrades to the K2 in Feb. I read on the phone and PDAs for convinence but the Kindles are a world of difference better. Once people try them and use them many will be converted. Not all, but many. They are not perfect. They aren’t in color. Note taking while possible isn’t great. The size is too big to fit in your pocket but too small for large scale books.

    But there will be many more options in the future.

    One thing I don’t hear many people talking about is the classics on ebook. Virtually all major works in the Christian and non-Christian world are freely available. I am reading a couple devotional Classics (Andrew Murray’s “The School of Prayer” and Kempis “Imitation of God”). I really think that ebook readers might bring a renewed interest in classics. After all they are great books that have stood the test of time and they are free.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Can you point us to a couple of sites where the classics are available?

      • Adam_S

        Well the simplest is Amazon. They have about 4000 free public domain books that you order just like a purchased book.

        (Just lost my comment because I had to login. When will intense debase allow me to use more than one computer at the same time.)

        The granddaddy of public domain books is Project Gutenberg They have 80,000 to 100,000 public domain works. Get the txt format which is natively read by the kindle. I really like feedbooks because of its format. You download a "book" from feedbooks which is actually their catalog. Then you search the book for what you want. Turn on your wireless and download the book much like what you would from Amazon. Christian Classics Ethereal Library is by far the best Christian site for public domain books. All of their txt format books are free but they charge for some other formats. Most of these sites rely on donations to pay for their servers and bandwidth so it is good to donate every once in a while.

        There are many other sites that have free books as well. Publishers are starting to give away some books to promote an author. Baen (a mostly science fiction publisher) has been giving books away for years. I have read dozens of their free books (mostly the first couple of a series) and then purchased later books. I have probably purchased about 40 or 45 books their, most of which I would have never heard of had they not given away a few.

  • theronkelso

    I'm so close to converting. Just fix the social life of a book and I'll be there. I want to be able to share books with friends, families and people I meet on any number of social networking sites (e.g. GoodReads). Better yet, don't just share books, share (yet-to-be-well-designed) annotations (yes, my books are filled with pencil marks – sorry Mrs. Nobis).

    • Michael Hyatt

      The social networking piece is definitely coming. The vision and the technology are already there. It's just a matter of implementing and selling it. I have already seen prototypes (not of the Kindle) that incorporate this in a mind-blowing way. You will never read alone in the future—unless you choose to.

  • Randy_Southerla

    Amazon must be of two minds about the Kindle. On the one hand its a way to sell more product, but on the other it risks gutting their market for "real" books. I suspect that's why the device is still so expensive. Sell it to the early adoptors, travelers etc., while keeping the rest of us buying physical books. It's a great thing to have on the plane, but the need for it at home is limited. It will be interesting to see when the Kindle reading public reaches the critical mass needed to make it the obvious thing to do.

    • Adam_S

      Several groups have looked at the cost and they are not losing money on the Kindle but they are probably only making between $35 and $50 profit per kindle.

  • colleencoble

    Buggies and candles. Gasp! Mike, that's a GREAT idea! I'll just become Amish! A brilliant solution for me. Oh, er, wait. That would mean I'd have to give up my MacBook. :-)

    Okay, okay. I get that I'm an anachronism. Ahem, I'll be serious now. For me to fully convert, the books would have to be available at the library. I'm an avid library goer, though I realize it's shocking. I could never buy as many books as I read. Unless you want to instruct Ames to up my advance of course. :-) Hmm, should that be part of future negotiations?

  • Mark E.

    I like the Kindle2 and believe the ebook is likely inevitable. However for me the biggest issue is DRM. Right now purchasing books for the Kindle is a lifetime commitment.

    Any book purchased for the Kindle can only be viewed on the Kindle. This seems to me like buying DVDs that only work in one brand of player or buying books that can only be read with one, expensive, brand of glasses.

    I want to share a good book and pass it along and share annotations with close friends. We are not there yet.

    • Pam Hogeweide

      totally, Mark. I love the concept of a reading device and one day I'll own one. But there does remain the question of how to swap out books or share that favorite book, or even give it away. Having said that, IPOD has proven that if music is available in tracks then listeners are willing to buy the tracks they want without concern about sharing their purchase. Maybe that's the future of books. Readers to be able to upload just the "tracks" they are interested in.

  • Marla Taviano

    What would it take for me to convert? If my library rented them out, and they came already stocked with books. As much as I love to read, I don't have the $ to buy books right now.

  • wvpv

    Engadget has an interesting article on Kindle adoption this morning:

    Informal poll suggests nearly 70% of Kindle owners are over 40:

    • Michael Hyatt

      That is fascinating. I never would have guessed!

  • Kevin Benson

    I love both platforms and probably will the rest of my life. I regularly use my iPhone to read Kindle books or similar e-book reader apps to read classics. But just as the picture you've painted for us of the future…in another generation, physical books will be a small niche item. Apple will create an iReader (or maybe this Media Pad being rumored to compete with Amazon's Kindle, Sony's e-Reader as well as others and the shift will happen.

    Since price is one of the biggest drawbacks, I wonder if publishers (especially Christian publishers) have toyed with idea of partnering & subsidizing Kindles using a book club model to drive down $ – like the iPhone/AT&T model or some variation of this. I think it would be great to explore an idea like this to make it more accessible.

    • Michael Hyatt

      We are experimenting with all kinds of things. For example, we gave away over 5,000 Kindle copies of John Maxwell's new book. We haven't thought specifically of a book club, but it is definitely worth considering.

  • thelittlefluffycat

    I use Kindle for iPod, and I'll take it a step further and say I can't really imagine using the regular Kindle because it's too large and extra. I tuck my iPod in the bottom of even my smallest purses, and it's always there. Plus I can listen to music!

    I love the feel of a regular book, and I will always have regular books — just as the contents of the iPod mostly come from CDs — but the ability to change my mind about what I want to read with a finger tap? Priceless! A recent waiting-room stint sent me from Tolstoy to Gaiman — who would think of that in advance?

    • mvivas

      I think it's convenient to have Kindle in iPhone form. However, my iPhone, while great strains my eyes when read for long periods of time. Kindle2's e-ink technology doesn't strain your eyes. It's like reading a real book on paper.

  • Lisa notes…

    The price of the Kindle doesn't bother so much; it's the price of buying the books. I read tons of library books for free. Can the Kindle do that for me? As soon as it can, I'm on board!

    • Adam_S

      Yes it can if you talk about public domain books. Some other readers support epub formats, which a few libraries also support. It is still a new area, but it is growing.

    • Gina

      I don't like the price for ebooks either. I'd rather see a book on my bookshelf that I paid for then have a book hidden away in an electric device that I'll probably forget about.

    • Pam Hogeweide

      totally good point!

    • Michael Hyatt

      There really are tons of ebooks available for free.

    • Shari

      My Sony Reader can and does do that. It's the biggest reason I went Sony over Kindle. I can check out books from the library and they expire in 21 days, no hassle, no returning. Selection could be wider, but there are many new releases out there.

  • jaledwith

    I'd get a Kindle (or other eBook reader) if you could get college textbooks on it. All of a sudden a $300+ reader doesn't look so pricey if it means the cost of my books sinks by 50% or more each semester.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, this would be awesome for college students. Believe me, that is coming.

  • Jeff Suever

    I will probably add a kindle at some point. Seems a lot more convenient for reading in bed. And personally, ANYTHING that gets us reading and the TV off is a good thing. Especially when it comes to the last thoughts of the day.
    Right now, it is just the price. We also use the library a lot. If the library set up a system where you checked out the download, then it expired on the due date, I would have one now!

  • Dlake

    I can see a device like the iPhone becoming the all-in-one device for all our information consumption.

    Kindle seems pretty cool and I am sure the technology will improve there too.

  • mvivas

    I love books as much as the next guy, but I bit the bullet and I love my Kindle2. I have read more since I got it and I love the convenience. Also, we can never forget that it is also an amazing tool when you want to subscribe to newspapers and magazines. I did the whole 15 day free trial of the NY Times and it was always ready to read as early as 6am every morning.

    I still think there are some things that need improvements:
    1. Large library of books. Publishers need to embrace technology, not fight against it.
    2. Keep the price at 9.99 or lower. I refuse to buy a book for more than 9.99. I keep thinking that the publisher saves on printing costs and delivery, so why try to squeeze the readers (Mike, you being a publisher, maybe you can enlighten me)
    3. Turn the reading experience into a "social network". Imagine, highlighting a few sentences that inspired you and have it sent to the cloud to share with your contacts (sort of what you do in Twitter, where you quote from "The Noticer"). I think that's a perfect example if it can be integrated with Twitter and/or Facebook along with an Amazon service

    I think, books will always exist and they are special in their own way, but the Kindle has really shown me what the future should be. It's great, but it can be so much better.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it still has a long way to go. I think the social networking thing will be coming next. Yes, we do save money on printing and delivery. That's why I think the $9.99 model might make sense. We'll have to see. Everyone is experimenting now, trying to see where the market will do.

  • Susan Cushman

    Like Josh said, for me it's the price right now. Or maybe I just need a couple more personal testimonies, like the one I got from a woman in a nail spa (yes!) in Jackson, Mississippi (yes!) yesterday. She was reading from a Kindle while getting a pedicure, so I took the opportunity to ask her about it. She and her husband own a business that requires lots of travel, and she's an avid reader, not only of books, but lots of newspapers and magazines. She loves it, and answered a few questions for me first hand. I'm getting closer….

    • Michael Hyatt

      Come on in, the water is warm!

  • Laurinda

    I buy everybook I read and use it as a reference. I mark it up then later flip through it to see my notes and what I had underlined when I'm preparing to speak. I would need to be able to "snag" quotes from the book and store them for future use (along with author, title etc….)

    • Susan Cushman

      Me, too! I reference the notes in the margins for all sorts of things–blog posts, reviews, etc. This is definitely something that's keeping me from the Kindle right now.

      • Lori_hintonrae

        Hey, guys–from what I understand, you can annotate with the Kindle, and even "dog ear" pages. It'll sort your notes for you and everything. A friend was demonstrating this very quickly for me, so it'd be great if an owner could verify and detail…

        • Adam_S

          Yes you can annotate and bookmark pages. And for any book you buy from Amazon those annotations and bookmarks are auto saved to Amazon so you won't lose them. It really depends on how you use annotations and bookmarks whether this will work for you or not. I don't write in my books and I tend to give away all my paper books when I am finished with them so this isn't an issue for me. (Although not having a copy to give away is an issue for me.)

  • Matt Mikalatos

    If God meant people to fly He would have given us wings. Or something like that.

    I would love to try out the Kindle but I simply ain't got the cash. I hear the Sony Reader is better in that it "plays" more formats. Mike, knowing you I'm guessing you researched it pretty well before before making a choice. What say you?

    • Adam_S

      They really do about the same number of formats. Sony reads more natively but Amazon will convert formats for you.

      The biggest difference is the wireless. If you want to buy a book from amazon directly on the kindle (or email yourself documents – I have used it for a wedding and a funeral), then go with kindle. If you are ok hooking up the reader to a computer to transfer books then the sony is fine.

      Sony is a little cheaper, but Kindle comes with lifetime wireless.

    • Michael Hyatt

      The Sony is a nice reader. The Kindle 2; however, is continuously connected to the Amazon store—and the whole internet for that matter. It's like having an entire bookstore (with 250,000+ titles) in your hand. That's the advantage of the Kindle over Sony's device.

  • Lori_hintonrae

    I'm with you–although initially turned off by the idea of book-turned-machine, after exploring a friend's device I can't wait to get my own Kindle. I've done the math, too, and think that with the number of books and mags I read in a month, it'll be a pretty decent trade off. As an English teacher, I also love the classroom applications inherent for annotating literature on a class-wide basis and teaching research to students…I think the younger generation could really latch on to this, as well, if cost weren't an issue. It'd be great if grants were available to fund schools to outfit classes with such devices.

  • LisaTBergren

    What do you think of the rising prices of Kindle books? I was more intrigued when they were lower. I think it's good for publishing/authors, but if I'm going to spend $10 on a book, I'd rather have a book I could pass along to a friend.

    • Adam_S

      I think this is overblown. There have always been books over $10. Amazon has never said all books are under $10 only that they keep the NYT bestsellers under $10. Most books really are under $10 and classics are completely free if you get them in the right place.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think the market will eventually determine the price. There will be lots of experimentation until the value of the ebook is established.

  • pritchett4

    I recently switched platforms from Palm to WinMo and do some reading on my PDA. The DRM was and is a real pain. I lost some purchased music that was DRMed when the company I purchased it through went out of business and license key was linked to the company. Made the decision not to purchase any DRM material. So if eBooks are cross platform (use on PDA & laptop) without DRM I could be in. I am guessing that the lack of DRM on ebooks would be a problem for the publishers.

    • Adam_S

      There are several publishers (Baen) that have made DRM free a selling point. I am reluctant to buy too many books because of DRM. Amazon's DRM scheme has not been broken yet. But most other formats are pretty easy to break if you want. I hope Thomas Nelson understands the problems of DRM and will move toward DRM free.

  • Jared

    What is the difference between using the Kindle and using the I-Phone? If the I-Phone can do the same thing, what is the use of the Kindle?

  • Amanda

    Reading on the Kindle actually gives me migraines if I partake for too long, so I will always be someone who treasures books. I also like the palpable nature of books – as someone who is half-way finished with a master's degree and still has yet to do a doctorate, I need to feel the books and manually tab with Post-it notes, etc.

    Also, my photographic memory tends to work less efficiently with a Kindle because I can't see the page something was on, and where it was placed on said page.

    I guess I'm stuck with good ole' paper books for awhile. ^_^

    • Adam_S

      I have seen photo memory problems especially as read scripture on digital devices. But on the other hand there is a search function on the Kindle and most other ebook devices.

    • Adam_S

      Also raise the size of your print. That might help with headaches.

  • Jason Bunch

    "You will never read alone in the future—unless you choose to." _ I really like this comment, Michael, on one of the comments.

    I truly await the time when we can convert the social networking to reading and studying in a more diverse way. Where have you seen the prototypes for using social networking attached to the idea of reading? You have truly sparked my interest.

  • KarlaAkins

    I am there, but I can't afford a kindle — yet. I'm saving up for one.

  • Teri D. Smith

    The price is what's holding me back. I can see it for fiction (and traveling), but for non-fiction I love to highlight the things I want to go back over and study. Can I highlight on a Kindle?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes you can. You can also bookmark and annotate. It's pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

  • Riley

    As a Kindle user I see some real benefits – portability of many books, instant purchasing, book sampling, record of books read, ability to increase print size for my old eyes. I see it as another form for sharing information that MAY someday replace paper but may not. The biggest disadvantage I've experienced – and I think a big one – is the ability to quickly and easily move around in the book to refer to other parts and look up something. For certain types of books this is a serious shortcoming. For pleasure reading it works, for business or technical books where I like to refer back easily to something the author discussed earlier in the book it doesn't work. I'm not sure how this shortcoming can be resolved.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Have you tried bookmarking the page?

      • Riley

        Yes, I use the bookmarks and text highlighting – both great features – but still not quite as convenient – at least for me – as a hard copy for moving around in certain genres. An example – I might be reading a mystery and lose track of a character and want to look back some pages to see where they entered the story. I can search for all references but not quite the same as just flipping back in the book. It will be very interesting to see how this device progresses in the years ahead but I'm not convinced it will replace hard copies in all circumstances. Maybe something Microsoft is developing will! Needless to say this shortcoming for me has not affected my love for my Kindle.

  • Adam_S

    Kindles' screen is way better for long term reading. The iphone is smaller (which is convient for carrying but makes it so you have to scroll more.) Eink, which is the technology that the Kindle uses does not have a backlight, which is what strains your eyes most about reading on a computer or phone. Also the tech is somewhat like an etchesketch in that it is either on or off at each point. So it only uses power to change the page, not to maintain the page. So its battery can last a couple weeks at a time, vs about a day with an iphone.

  • ClayofCO

    Being a book lover, I won't simply "convert." However, I will supplement my library of books with an ebook reader when:
    –it's a commodity item (not luxury), priced for mass market consumption(under $100 would be good).
    –it's a fast, sharp, full color screen with sound and video.
    –it can store thousands of high graphic content books, and more
    –it will read text to me in a "real" voice

    Bottom line. I don't really think the future is an "ebook" reader, as though the "book" is the only paradigm. I think it should be an e-nformation device that delivers all forms of information–print, graphic, photo, audio, video. If you believe the printed "book" is a dying concept, then what's the point in creating an e-"book" reader? It will be an interim device.

    • Michael Hyatt

      If Apple releases an iTablet as is rumored, this might be your device—although I don't think they will sell it for $100.

  • terri patrick

    I'm always amazed at the passion book lovers have against ebooks. It's not like the publishing world is going to march into bookstores and libraries and wipe the shelves clean. All those dusty tomes, and the asthetic connection of solitary words on a page, will always be there, as candles and carriages.

    What I like about ebooks is, if the book is worthy and I choose the added cost, I can obtain a printed copy as a trade paperback that almost has the feel of a hardcover. But now, I can also scan or read complete, books that entertain, but didn't kill a tree for me to read. And if the book isn't one I'll save to reread, I don't have to figure out where to donate it.

    Personally, I dislike the feel of mass-market paperbacks, with 300-400 pages of tiny print. For that reading, yeah for ebooks. I can increase the font!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree. I hate mass market paperbacks. Ebooks are a big improvement.

  • LynnRush

    I try never to say never. Because, you just never know…LOL. No, seriously…I said I'd never be a road biker (because I was an avid speed skater), but now I bike almost 100 miles per week.

    After grad school, I said I'd never read a book again (jokingly, of course) because I was so burned out on reading text books…well, heck, I not only read novels, but now I write them as well.

    So, what would it take for me to convert from books to e-books. I guess if I accidentally won a kindle, tried it and liked it…then I'd convert. Or, if I got one as a gift. But who knows? I might stumble into a bit of money and go buy one myself.

    Great post today. Happy Friday!!!

  • Kayla

    Once Kindle is up on, I'm game. Hehe. It's just too darn expensive right now. However, if they make it cheaper and put textbooks on there at an affordable rate for college students, that would be PERFECT.

  • Gina

    My teen has his bible and a version of The Merchant of Venice which he reads for school on his iPod touch which is much smaller than a Kindle. I already see the trend going that way for him, though he still loves to read books.

    • Michael Hyatt

      In Japan, reading novels on the cell phone has become very popular. I just don't think the next generation will have the same attachment to the printed page.

  • Tina Ann Forkner

    I was never very excited about the ebook. Intrigued yes, but supportive, no. I admit it. When my husband asked for a Kindle, I could not believe he, being married to an author, would spout such rubbish. He said he hoped my books went to Kindle and I said "never!"

    Well, I found out my newest book releases on Kindle next week, and suddenly I have been forced to take a new look at the device I watched Captain Janeway use in Voyager. It might not be for me, but it is for my husband and probably will be for my kids and grandkids someday.

    I have already heard from several of my readers who have pre-ordered it on Kindle. I support the ebook now, although I am sheepish admitting that I am suddenly on board now that I actually have a book readers can read on the Kindle device.

    Sometimes it takes drastic measures for someone to finally wake up and embrace something new. :-)

  • Sidney

    Anything that will bring more of the general public to read has to be
    a good thing. Maybe, even a siddrurical(order and arrangement) thing!
    Knowledge, wisdom and understanding from 'reading' of all things!
    What is there not to like about that?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I'm with you. Anything that encourages reading can't be all bad. I am finding that I read way more with the Kindle than without it.

  • Sidney

    When I was a little boy I would count on my fingers and toes. Never
    could figure out how to move past twenty. Then, one fine day my daddy
    sent me to the store for a pack of pall mall cigarettes. The nice man behind the counter wanted more than 20 cents and introduced me to a pen and
    paper. I've been writing ever since. Would you believe it? I'm up to the
    number 55 now.

  • Chownage

    It'll take $359 for me to convert. It's just too expensive for what it is.

  • Debbie

    Well, first the price needs to come down. Second, I'd really love seeing the device before spending any amount of money on it. I've not seen the Kindle or the Sony eReader in person (though I've looked around for it), and I want proof that reading via screen is comfortable on the eyes and body.

    However, I doubt I'll ever give up paper books completely. You see, I send the books I'm done with to inmates as a part of my prison ministry. I doubt inmates will be allowed eReaders anytime soon.

  • Pam Hogeweide

    I am right now reading a fascinating book called "Print is Dead," by Jeff Gomez. Here is an excerpt that highlights the mindset of younger people, whom some refer to as Digital Natives or Generation Upload because they have grown up amidst technology and the internet:

    In the same way that this new generation is eschewing traditional forms of media (not bothering to go to the movies or watch television when shows are broadcast, and not buying CDs in stores), they will also be open to new methods of buying and consuming reading material. The very nature of Generation Download shows us that readers will one day (and sooner than we think) be more than willing to forgo an ink-on-paper book, and will not mind cozying up to their computer screens (or the screens of some device) instead of a physical book.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I loved that book. I devuored it. I didn't agree with everything, but I think that directionally he is correct.

  • Sidney

    When I was just a little boy I would count on my fingers and toes.
    Trouble was, I never could figure out how to get past twenty.
    One fine day my daddy sent me to the corner store for a pack of
    pall mall cigarettes. Trouble! The man behind the counter wanted
    more than 20 cents. Salvation! The nice man gave me a pen and
    paper. I've been writing ever since. Would you believe it? I'm up to
    55 now.

  • Les

    For me its two things.

    1. Ownership. When you buy an ebook you don't really own it. Just like when music is purchased via iTunes or Amazon, you don't own it. You just have a license for it. But unlike mp3s, ebooks do not share a well standardized format. This means its extremely difficult to make sure that any ebook I purchase stays with me, even if I switch devices.

    What happens when Sony or whoever comes out with the worlds greatest ebook reader? And then the next year a new upstart comes out with the worlds greatest ebook reader? And the next year…

    Will I suddenly have to have 4 ebook readers to take with me because some books are available on one, but not the other, and each has its own DRM? Or will I be forced into "pirating" books I've already purchased for one device so I can illegally read them on another device?

    Until there is a standard format that guarantees I won't have to repurchase my books and therefore ensures that I "own" what I've purchased, I'm not interested.

    2. Sharing. This is obviously closely tied to #1, but its a unique issue as well. I want to share books I love. I want to loan them to my friends and family, I want them to enjoy them. I want to donate them to the library, etc…

    Perhaps that will be a good measurement. When libraries are able to offer ebooks on all sorts of compatible devices, I'll be ready to make the switch. Until then, I'll "suffer" with paper awhile longer.

    • Adam_S

      epub is slowly becoming a universal format. Libraries are starting to use it more and more. But Kindle doesn't support it. So it is really all the little guys are banding together to try to force a standard format.

      I agree with you on both points but I still bought it and am buying more books than I am really comfortable with. I still want to see a large scale DRM free store. There are a few small publishers, but no one big.

      I give away virtually all of my paper books and this is a fairly big issue for me. I am actually looking forward to Thomas Nelson's trial of buying a paper books and getting the ebook for free. I might do that so I can give away the paper, even if I pay a little bit more. But I am not going to pay a lot more for the privilege of giving a book away.

  • Adam_S

    Target and Borders both carry Sony Readers (I think they both just carry the 505.)

  • KinanJarjous

    It's actually quite convenient, though what if it gets broken or damaged? The worst that could happen to a book is be burnt, and you can get an extra copy (unless it's the last surviving book).

    Personally I spend most of the day staring at a screen, be it my PC or phone, a change of scenery is always nice.

    • Adam_S

      I have a good warranty : )

      Amazon actually is known for their good customer service. Most of the people that I have heard that have broken theirs have a replacement in 48 hours or less.

      • KinanJarjous

        That probably applies for people living in the US, what about those on the other side of the world?

  • ptmccain

    I think what you mean is that it is more difficult to make a copy of the intellectual property you have purchases when you buy it digitally. You do not actually "own" the copyrighted material that is in a book, you simply own the format in which that copyrighted material was provided to you. In other words, you can not copy that book and give it to somebody else, legally. You can't extensively "borrow" from the book, without proper attribution and potentially paying royalty. A person who benefits from copyrighted intellectual property without paying for it is, basically, stealing from the company that spent the money to publish it and, most importantly, from the author who produced it.

    • Adam S

      You don't own the intellectually property but you do own the rights to use that property, including the right of sale. That is part of the problems with DRM is that there is a legal right of sale and DRM is preventing that legal right of sale. Borrowing a book, or giving one away is not theft, it is a part of the purchase.

  • Alexanderfield

    I agree with some previous posters that the Kindle price hurdle will deter people from ebooks for some time…HOWEVER, with that said, two things will counter that very soon. First,the Kindle is now selling books on the iphone, so who needs a Kindle if you prefer to read on your phone? And also, with Apple and Barnes & Noble getting into the reader game along with Sony and Amazon, I hope to see prices for these devices go down considerably! Here's to an ebooks future! : )

  • Derek

    Wow! You have 93 comments already! My vote: I'm a hold-out. I love physical books.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You might be Amish if …

  • Michael Hyatt

    Personally, I hate DRM. Inhibiting sales doesn't protect authors or publishers. I am not nervous about piracy either. I don't have time right now to elaborate, but I hope to do so in a future post.

    • Adam_S

      I look forward to reading about that. I believe DRM actually hinders purchases for some purchasers. I am not able to insure that I am going to be able to read it later, then what I am doing is renting. If I know I can read it later I am more likely to purchase.

  • Michael Hyatt

    The Kindle is much easier to reader—bigger page, less glare, and not backlit. The e-ink technology is designed to mimic the printed page.

  • Michael Hyatt

    Unfortunately, I am under a non-disclosure agreement, so I can't reveal the name(s) of the companies. But this will be standard in the next 12-24 months on most devices.

  • Tiffany Stuart

    I feel like a hoarder grabbing up all my favorite books for the coming day when there will be none.

    Who am I saving them for? My kids and grandkids won't care.

    I know this is the wave of the future as is "no more newspaper." I'm just not ready. But the truth is my back would love to break when I travel. As an avid reader I carry way too many books…It's quite a sight. I'm sure my husband thinks I'm a bit off. That's okay. I appreciate a good word at my disposal when I need one.

    A Kindle might be my answer!

    No one will know I'm traveling with so many good books.

  • PFNikolai

    Apple Media Pad with ebook software, phone, etc.

  • Linda

    Price–both the cost of the reader and the cost of the books. The books are in electronic format, so no paper cost. Yet, I was talking to a friend who has a Kindle, and she's buying eBooks for $9.99 apiece–more expensive than a paperback. And the Kindle itself is almost $400. That's a lot of money, especially when cell phones are selling for $50.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don't know where you are finding paperbacks for $9.99, unless they are mass paperbacks. Trade paperbacks usually have a retail price of $14.99 to $16.99. Hardcovers are $22.99 to 29.99, sometimes more.

  • Ben

    I too choose books, however, I have five grandchildren and they are learning to read books on their phones and ipods. The Classics are available for free for the ipod and iphone and they are already downloading a $15 book for only a few $'s(3-5). They only read them once and then discard them in paper but they can keep them longer in the ipod. They are all under 14years old and their minds won't have the same memories about books that we have. By the time they reach 62, as I am, their grandchildren might say " PaPa, what's a paper book?"

  • cvray

    I bought one for my husband for his birthday…he loves it. Maybe I'll get one for Christmas or Mother's Day :)

  • SpenceSmith

    Sign me up! eBooks all the way! I just need to make that Kindle purchase. As i travel i see them popping up everywhere and I carry a few too many books in my bag as it is! So… it will take nothing but a purchase for my conversion. Great post!

  • Benji Zimmerman

    I am looking forward to getting a Kindle soon, but my question is How long until the bookstore I manage is obsolete because of Kindle/ebooks?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don't think this means bookstores will be obsolete, but I do think they have to figure out what their value proposition is. The question is, what can I get in a bookstore that I can't get online or digitally? I think there's a lot, but not unless they understand it and emphasize it.

  • Jim

    not really interested at the moment, i think its a great innovation.

  • Jeffrey Holton

    You've almost got me convinced, Michael. Almost.

    Candles and buggies are awfully romantic and highly prized items.

    Consider Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future. Kirk's favorite gift is always…a good, solid antique book. And he reads them.

    Granted, by the 24th century, it's a…uhm…pardon me…novelty.

  • darkened jade

    I think that until they can get rid of the problem with eye strain from the back light and reflections on the screen, and the inability to hold it whichever way as you lie on your side or back or whatever while reading, ebooks and their devices won't do anything for me. I can only read about two pages of text in a sitting at the computer screen before I have to get up and walk away, but I can read an entire novel without moving in paper form. I do think the convenience of electronic books is amazing, and they cut down costs, and you can carry more books, and there are a lot of advantages, but at the moment comfort isn't one of them for me and when I read, I want to be comfortable.

    • Adam_S

      The kindle is funadmentally different from an LCD screen. It is not back lit and and has a very low reflection rate. It can be read in direct light. It is lighter (in weight) than most paperbacks. I think it is as comfortable if not more so than a paperback.

  • Carol Ann Erhardt

    I love ebooks. So does my husband! Our poor house was becoming overrun with all the books I've collected over the years. I love taking my ereader with me to the doctor, to work, and on trips. No longer is my luggage weighted down with four or five books. I am really ready for a Kindle. I may treat myself when I finish my current manuscript.

  • Ron

    It wouldn't take much to get me to convert to a Kindle 2. I started researching it about a month ago and am currently reading a ebook on my laptop. With the ability of Kindle to bookmark where you left off, it would make it much easier than using my laptop.

    Right now I have not spent the money for it, but I can see that in the future that I would have 4 of them in my house, one for each family member.

  • Adam_S

    I disagree. Yes they are not now color but picture reproduction isn't too bad. I think you are confusing the reality of past ebook devices with all ebook devices. There will be commercially available color ebooks by the end of 2010.

    Yes children love holding books. And I prefer my 19 month old niece read paper until she is a bit more gentle with books.

    Books are about content not the reading method. The reading method does changed some things. But by your assertion, audiobooks are not books either. Many people would disagree with you.

  • Adam_S

    Check back in 30 years. I think you will be surprised.

  • Adam_S

    Right now you can only buy the Kindle in the US so it is a moot point until they start international sales. But I believe that they will make similar warranties available internationally as well.

  • Adam_S

    You should go look at a Kindle or Sony ereader (they both have the same screen). There isn't a backlight on the Kindle. It is designed to be much the same strain on your eyes as reading a paperback book.

  • Jenni Catron

    I am considering buying the Kindle 2. In the meantime I have the Kindle for iphone app and have two books – 1 fiction, 1 non-fiction – that I'm reading on it to warm me up to the idea of electronic reading.

    I'm with you, Michael. It's hard to believe that books as we know them will go away, but history suggests that they will.

  • ptmccain

    That is a more precise way of putting things, correct. The challenge simply is that when intellectual property is in digital form it is much easier for copyrights to be trampled and the materials distributed to thousands of people, not merely one person to whom you give/lend/sell your book. That's the conundrum all publishers are facing these days, particularly niche publishers who depend on sales of their books, even if only 3,000 copies, to enable to make a go of it.

  • ptmccain

    The Kindle has no backlight nor reflections, to speak of. It is as easy to read as is any trade paperback, or as difficult. Low light? Can't read the paperback, can't read the Kindle.

  • Rachel Hauck

    I appreciate your thoughts Mike, but I'm not ready to equate the Kindle or an e-reader to the assembly line for mass production of cars or the electric light bulb, or the printing press.

    And in truth, wagon makers didn't fear the car. They didn't foresee the world becoming motorized.

    In general, people don't like change.

    Can you state how a Kindle will advance society in the same way as say, the telephone or the inventions you mentioned? I don't see it yet. :)

    Our eyes get so exhausted from looking at "screens" all day. A book is easier on the eyes IMHO.

    However, I'm not naive enough to think more and more books won't become Kindlized. I hate to think of print books going away. Should there ever be a national disaster where we don't have power, it will be good to have books in our hands.

    I am leery of everything going electronic. Just me. But, I'm sure I'll adjust if I have to. ;)

    • Adam_S

      Try looking at an eink device. The page is much like a printed page. MUCH less eye strain than a normal LCD screen.

  • Doug Smith

    I don't doubt that the "e-book thing" will catch on. But I think it's too early to predict that the Kindle will dominate… or even survive.

    Digital delivery of content (i.e. e-books and e-book readers) completely bypasses Amazon's extensive distribution system, which cost Amazon billions to build and has been vital to their success. The Kindle is Amazon's effort to achieve lock-in of a proprietary standard so that they can still deliver books that don't need their warehouses and distribution centers. Nothing wrong with that. But there are rumors that Apple has a prototype of an extra-large iPod Touch, with a display roughly the size of the Kindle's but in full color, that can read standard e-book formats (Adobe Acrobat, Acrobat e-book, etc.) in addition to the other iPod Touch features. Books, music, videos, etc. That could be a Kindle killer.

    • Adam_S

      I just don't think the Apple device as the rumors portray it would really compete much with a Kindle. They have very different screens and that is the central benefit of the Kindle. You can read on an Ipod touch and watch video and play games, but the eye strain on a Kindle is much, much less. The Kindle device is for reading and not much else. A large ipod touch would be more on an all in one device (but not that great for reading).

  • Mike M

    Thanks for your posts on this topic, here and previously. I have been following the opinions on Kindle 2 closely. Amazon has this link to register interest in books that have not been Kindled. Have you found that that helps? Do you know how Amazon, or the publisher, decides whether or not to Kindle a book, and what the process is?

  • ajeanne

    I'm looking forward to ebooks, although I love the feel of paper books. However, I'm waiting for Apple to produce a book reader. The Kindle doesn't have the aesthetic look of my imaginary Apple book reader, so I'm going to wait. (Do they have one in the works? I have no idea!)

    • Adam_S

      Rumor is they have a device that some are saying is the right size to be a competitor to the kindle. Likely they are really after different markets because the rumors say the apple device would have an LCD which will be color and backlight (not good for reading) and probably also be usable for video and music.

  • Connie Brown

    I lugged a heavy suitcase and computer bag through airport security recently. As I dragged my book-rich bags, I was seriously thinking about owning a Kindle 2 (or something comparable) some day.

    The price for a Kindle2 is not attractive. If I can figure out how to make it a business expense and write it off, I may take the leap soon.

  • Wyatt Matthews

    Based on what I saw of the Sony eReader, I may want to wait a while. I've not seen any others myself, but if they all have the refresh handled the same way, it will be one to two generations before I even think of shelling out any 3 figure amount when I can still get a cheap laptop that supports color and even more utilities/application.

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  • Uday Sharma

    Yes to eBooks and no to 'it's-my-cheese' stance of eReaders that allow only their versions to play (prime example – Kindle). But of course this kind of restriction won't last and the world will take its own course for the best of all. I am eagerly looking forward to the day when kids will carry a sleek thing in their pockets instead of a bagload on their backs.

  • Mark

    I love the Kindle Dx, but am concerned about Amazon limiting the number of times a purchased book can be downloaded, so will refrain from large investment in Christian reference books for my Kindle. Needless to say, nothing can beat the smell and feel of a real book – especially one with a leather cover!

  • Cherie Hatton

    For me it is all about the price. I would buy the Kindle 2 in a heartbeat if it wasn’t so expensive. All the WOF have gotten me hooked on wanting one…they talk about them all the time.

    I guess the other thing holding me back would be availability of all the books I want to read. But I am sure that will change over time.

  • Bill

    Michael, I agree with your post completely. The convenience of getting a book immediately is just too good! I like to make notes in my Kindle for a particular book and then I can see all the notes at once in sequence instead of flipping through the pages of a book to find the page I made a note on and then looking for the next note.

    I read your post that included the recommended book in your Life Plan blog on Becoming a Coaching Leader. I had the ability to download it immediately and begin reading.

  • Matthew

    Forgive me for going all Fahrenheit 451 on ya, but we'll be a both printed and ebook home. I think if we really value the message of the text, we'll probably end up buying a hard copy of it! There's something about knowing that those books haven't been censored or edited as they've sat on my shelf for the past 5, 10, or 55 years.

  • __d

    "I will never listen to digital music. It sounds too crisp. Cassette tapes are more universal and can be recorded onto."

    "I will never carry around a cellular phone. It's too snobbish. Why would I need a device that I already own at home?"

    "I will never convert over to electronic mail. It's too impersonal. I can't imagine contacting someone without a hand written letter and signature."

    "I will never use a digital camera. There's not enough control. I enjoy the labor of developing film within the magic of a darkroom."

    "I will never read news on my computer. It's too unnatural. There's nothing like opening the front page news over breakfast and coffee."

  • @cindydownes

    Convert to an e-book reader? Wow, that's hard to believe I would ever do. I'm one of those who loves the look and feel and smell of a book. However, I have started using my iPhone to read nonfiction. But, my collectibles? I can't imagine replacing my collectibles with e-books.

    For me to convert, the e-book reader will have to improve its visual appearance. It has to be in color so I can see the pretty colors of the cover – I like the new iPad for this. Next, it would have to have some way to present my collectibles in a special way. I love leather covers, beautiful illustrations, and special papers. How could an e-book make one book more special than another so that I would want to collect it?

    I've seen a few iPhone apps that are beginning the process. One is called "iBookshelf," which is actually a database for your library. It presents the books in the same way as music albums in your iTunes library. You swipe through the covers and they flip by showing all the beautiful covers. That's ok for a start, but not enough to get me to switch. Another app, called "Classics" has a beautiful wooden bookshelf that displays the beautiful covers of the books I've downloaded. I like that a lot. It gives me the impression I have a collection of books.

    But what about the inside? I'd need to see the appearance of textured paper that looks like velum, beautiful illustrations, and exquisite fonts. It would need to be easy to use, as well as easy to bookmark and pick up where I left off. (The Classics app features a nice red ribbon bookmark that's pretty and works well. I like the sound effects and page turning effect of the Classics app also.)

    If I had the visual gratification, that would go a long way to get me to switch. The other thing I would have to have is the ability to lend and resell my books. I refuse to pay $9.99+ for an e-book and never be able to share it or sell it. An e-book just doesn't feel like my property.

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  • Donny Pauling

    I love new technology. I purchased a Kindle DX last year. I liked it at first, but eventually decided I preferred the feel of a book in my hands.

    The cover sold/endorsed by cracked my Kindle where it attached to the unit. This must have been a known issue, because the moment I called them they told me they'd send me a new Kindle – no hassles. I returned the old Kindle DX, and cover, to them. For the new one, I purchased a "sleeve" from Best Buy similar to a laptop sleeve. Now, when I read my Kindle, I only have the Kindle in hand (not Kindle + cover).

    I have discovered I LOVE reading from my Kindle this way! It's as thin as a magazine and just feels great to hold. Kindle DX has once again become my preferred method of reading.

    I'll likely switch to Apple, however, when the iPad is available. Why? Because all iPhone apps work on it: I frequently use the Kindle for iPhone app, as well as the Barnes and Noble eReader app. The iPad will allow me to purchase books from B&N, Amazon, or Apple. That convenience will likely win my business.
    My recent post A Mother Asks for Help

  • Martine Howell

    I said that I would NEVER convert to electronic books. Like you say in your post I love the feel of a book. I did not like the idea of having to look at something that is glaring and bulky like a laptop to read a book. Now with the invention of the Kindle I am more open to the idea. The Kindle is small and portable. It seems like it would be a great addition to my reading library. The only complaint I have at this point in time is with the limited number of book titles available for download. When more titles become available I will be more open to buying a Kindle.

    My recent post Let’s Play: What’s Wrong With This picture?

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  • Exodus

    You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it

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  • Makus

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

  • Dave Jacobs

    I’m a big reader and once had the same objections you listed above. But now I’m happy to say I’m a believer in e-readers. I have the latest kindle which allows me to underline, add notes, even cut and copy.

  • Jeff Clarke

    I’ve already converted and I enjoy the Kindle as well!

  • Best Registry Cleaner

    I really want a Kindle.

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  • Mike S.

    I have and often use my current gen wireless-only kindle… but I still prefer printed page for non-fiction books for the following reasons:
    1. Chapter and section headings (more then page numbers!)
    2. Page Numbers
    3. Fast bookmark navigation – Kindle takes WAY too long to find the bookmark and navigate to it

  • Joan C. Webb

    What would it take for me to convert? Hmmm. Extra bucks to buy an iPad. Although as an author, I love words on pages bound into little packages, I “fell in love” (so to speak) with my husband’s iPad while on vacation. I read 5 books in about 10 days. I’m convinced. Still like holding the book, but…

  • Joni Hannigan

    I admit I’m holding out a while longer for an iPad. Tried a Nook over Christmas and 1) Couldn’t find books I wanted, and 2) Couldn’t turn pages fast enough. So perhaps the iPad which is slightly larger, will accommodate me. It also handles a lot of eBook apps (and does a lot of other things), so I think I’ll be happier than limiting myself to a Kindle.

    As for the nostalgia, I agree with Julie Barnhill. And let me add that I’m not sure an eBook will ever replace the shelves of signed first editions either and the thrill I get when I pick one up and remember the moment I was there. Or the rage at seeing that one of my children tore off the cover or put it down in water. No, really, I consider it a plus that someone read it. Used book, splattered books, even torn books are a mark of distinction on my shelves. I lovingly placed a 27-year-old coverless Bible story book printed on oilskin paper in my 2 year-old granddaughter’s hands this past weekend. She promptly smoothed it down and asked me to read it to her.

    Booklovers can be pioneers, however! We live in this great age. I look forward to cleaning out the bookshelves and decided what I MUST keep–and what I can recycle/discard and either replace digitally or make a list to look for if/when I get time to look at it. And with the time I save worry about how to store and catalog and categorize all those books, I can spend time reading eBooks on whatever device I end up with–wherever I am–on a plane, on the beach, on a ship, or waiting in a doctor’s office.


  • Michael

    I find it interesting how many book-ish features are trying to find their way into e-books, mostly because of our love affair with print. Page turns, book marks that look like book marks, dog-ears, highlights that look like they’re made by a highlighter. I even heard one person suggest that e-readers should have screens on the back for others to see the cover of what someone else is reading. These features will surely be replaced by something better and more relevant as those who have no idea what a “book” is become the dominant user.

  • Brian

    I’d have to say it seems the publishers are the ones driving the ebook sales. As they continue to release books in hardcover format only, more and more people aren’t willing to pay the $25+ per book and see the $10 ebook as a great deal. My problem is that in pushing the ebook format more and more of their brick and mortar accounts will be closing as we are seeing. It may be very beneficial for a publisher to sell ebooks instead of paper due to the lower cost, no returns, no damages, no defective print runs, etc, etc but in the future, once all the brick and mortar stores are closed where will someone go to browse a shelf and find that new book or new author they never knew existed? I can’t do that on Amazon. I think publishers are really hurting themselves by driving more sales to ebooks. Just my thoughts though.

  • Vicki Small

    It took arthritic hands that found holding a book, while reading in bed, increasingly difficult and painful. I wouldn’t say my Kindle 3.1 is really easy to hold, largely because of the forward/back buttons on each side, but it’s easier than most books, for me.

    Last week, I discovered a totally unexpected bonus: I have never been able to read while riding in a car or for very long on an airplane (I’m never on a boat, but I imagine the same would be true). Last week, we made the nearly 1,000-mi. round trip to move my mom to a different facility. I spent several hours, each way, reading my Kindle, with nary a hint of motion sickness!

    My husband has also made the switch, which he hadn’t expected to do

    I do wish the makers would remove the buttons from one side.

  • Tca Johnston

    I work in a book shop and I understand the marketing potential of e books and I too love the feel of a book, but my 13 year old son loves his kindal. I think there is room for both. I had a man in to our book shop last week who had a bible that he has been journalling for 20 years – this cannot be left for generations in a e-book

  • Vicki Small

    P.S. I expected more of a price differential between Kindle books and hard cover or paperback books. I don’t understand why Kindle books cost as much as they do, given the lack of paper, binding of any kind, real ink, returns, etc.

    • Vicki Small

      Not a reply–more of a request: I had hoped to get a reply to this comment. I don’t intend to be argumentative; I’m sure there is a good explanation; for example, that electronic paper and ink are far more expensive than I would think, especially given that I know nothing about them. But without some information, I go on thinking that Kindle books are more expensive than they ought to be.

  • Vicki Small

    By the way, what are the differences between a Kindle 2 and the Latest Generation?

  • Jack Repenning

    Well, yes, I’ll always have my calf-bound copy of Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” But I may not be able to buy a replacement without haunting estate sales!

  • Jack Repenning

    “What can I get in a store that I can’t get on-line” will need to be something other than “some particular title.” The experience of sitting at the in-store coffee shop is often cited … but I can read my Kindle, and even buy more books, at my neighborhood coffee shop. And plain old coffee shops are already much easier to find than bookstores!

    My vote for “what e-readers need to solve if they ever hope to really catch on” is: browsing shelves full of thousands of books. I have around 1000 physical books in my house, and I already shudder to imagine searching through all of them on an e-reader. E-browsing the inventory of your average Barnes & Noble is down right scary!

  • firerain2

    I find it easier on the eyes to read an ebook. I don’t fall asleep reading and the light is always just right.:-) It’s a lot easier to read while on the treadmill too. And I don’t even use a Kindle or a Nook but use their apps on my iTouch. Great way too to read classics in the public domain – all free for the taking!

  • Don

    I have a kindle…and I like it a great deal…BUT:

    1. Kindle is the only ereader that will not let you check “books” out at the library.

    2. I cannot tell you how many times the kindle version of the book is equal or more expensive than the real book. This should absolutely never be the case!!! With an ebook there is not paper/ink to buy, no cover, no binding, no shipping, etc. An ebook should NEVER be even 50% the cost of a real book.

    3. Once you are done reading an ebook you cannot sell it like you can a real book.

    Due to both of these (especially #2) I am seriously thinking about selling my kindle and going back to the real books. At least if I am going to pay that much, I can still sell it when I am done!!!!

  • Joe Abraham

    Those three quotes are something to think about! I have made such blunder statements (many times to myself and few times to others) and later had to do what I said I will never do! I think we have an obsession to our “old-is-gold” stuff and we need to deliberately overcome that for more effective systems.

    Speaking about eBook reader, here in India, it’s just in the baby stage. So I am not thinking about it now.

  • Dylan Dodson

    Great analogies!

  • Jack Repenning

    Kindle is available (and free, an excellent price!) for laptops from Amazon.

  • Jack Repenning

    You really should borrow someone’s actual Kindle. I have Kindle apps on Mac and iPhone, as well as a Kindle 2. There’s no question what so ever, the Kindle 2 is the best reading experience. But one of the coolest things is, all the devices remember where you were on any of them. I routinely fill waiting time by iPhone-Kindle-reading what I was reading on the K2 last night in bed!

  • ET @ Titus2:3-5

    If I could highlight and write notes on the pages of the books in my e-reader, I think that would convert me. Can you do that in the new ones???

    • Michael Hyatt


  • Todd D Vasquez

    To give an indication of where I see the future going, my concern is not whether my children and grandchildren will read their books digitally but whether they will read anything that hasn’t been made digital.

  • Jack Repenning

    Kindle *does* allow you to snag and review: whatever you highlight is stored “in the cloud,” at (and in the book as well, of course). The mechanics of highlighting need a lot of work, though. A yellow highlighter is almost completely non-intrusive; the Kindle highlight operation … anything but.

  • Colleen Coble

    I know, I know. I was one of those. :) I love my Kindle now but I still like to read real books too. I don’t think I’ll ever totally give them up. But then I once said NEVER about an ereader. :) 

    I actually think MORE people are reading since the Kindle became so popular. I think it’s going to be a boon to authors and publishers everywhere.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree, Colleen. The only ones I worry about are book retailers.

  • Jack Repenning

    The actual Kindle is much much more readable.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree. The iPhone is good in a pinch when you don’t have your Kindle, but I find the Kindle easier on my eyes.

  • Jack Repenning

    Original Kindle, or Kindle 2? The ‘2 is dramatically better.

  • Lisa

    I’ve converted, and for some books (like the ones I use for grad school), I love the functionality: to get definitions, or do intext searches on topics, create citations, and the ability to conduct web searches.

    But, I will miss the tactile ability to highlight, make handwritten notes, or be able to “thumb” to certain passages. The electronic way of doing these tasks are taking me a while to develop!

  • Dwayne Morris

    The ticket is the ability to print and index my highlights and notes. Once I crossed ths hurdle, I was hooked. Now it’s almost addictive to search for and buy books.

  • Rejoshmiller

    Those are bad analogies if most of your family is Amish!! LOL!!

  • Dwayne Morris

    You need to check out Great tool for finding books based on books you’ve already read.

  • Brandie Lagarde

    Okay, I admit it. I was one of those naysayers because I am a crazy person about books. It has to be the right size, pages have to feel right, and the print can’t be too crowded. When I published my book I drove them insane, but my book looks and feels great.
    Then I got a Kindle.
    It opened a whole new reading world for me, it now only matters how well edited and compelling the story is because all books are coverless and look the same. I can’t imagine it taking mankind two years to catch on! I’m like their biggest salesperson, I talk more about it than I do my book!

  • John J Volk

    Abraham Lincoln could never have had the education or the man he was – he read books by candlelight. Today electricity is cheap and prevalent, but there are realistic scenarios in which electricity and electric power ceases to be available. What happens to your books then? If you can’t plug into an electrical outlet and recharge you can’t read! This to me and the fact that I am proud of my library of books I have, sounds a death knell on all things electronic. There is no permanence! Ebooks may be fine for something I will read once, but like to pass my books on to others – and the lending option on Nooks and Kindles is a joke. Only God can make a Tree! Only a Tree can make a book! Therefore God made books!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Love your logic! Seriously, why does it have to be either or. When I bought a TV, I didn’t get rid of my radio. I still use both.

  • Bolovesjoe

    I bought the complete works of George MacDonald for $1.99 and The Essential GK Chesterton (400 works) for $.99 on Amazon for my Kindle.  These are books I never would have purchased otherwise (where would I even PUT them all?) but I LOVE having them available whenever I have some time to kill and am looking for a great quote.  Mostly, my Kindle has revolutionized the way I wait for my kids in parking lots – having my whole library available  is just the greatest $114 investment ever. 

  • darlene

    I’m actually considering a Kindle, however my hesitation is that I am not sure if they are designed in a way that will let me read books the way I normally do – sometimes starting with chapter 1, jumping to chapt 5, etc. And if I want to refer back to a page already read, is there a whole lot of scrolling involved? I guess I need to talk to someone who actually has one and see if they will let me “hold it.” :)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, you need to try it for yourself. It’s easier than you think.

  • Jared P

    My struggle is with the number of books on my shelf. I want all my “stuff” in one spot. Am I being too picky?

  • Becky Jenkinson

    But Michael…..I sell books!  I sell books from Thomas Nelson (and other publishers!).  How do I compete or even interest those who want the ebooks???

    • Michael Hyatt

      That’s the problem you must solve. No one is going to do it for you.

      I bumped into my local bookseller yesterday. His store is two blocks from my house. I asked him, “So how’s business?” I feared the worst. He smiled and said, “Business has never been better. We’re having the best year we have ever had.”

      It is possible to win, but I think you have to believe you can and then figure out the rest. Some are doing it!

  • Jack Repenning

    Me, too, on both accounts. And if we step back from personal preferences for just a moment, and ask “where is this all going?” I think we have to admit that “money is going to talk,” here. If we like physical books and book stores and all the rest, the best thing we can do to save them is to buy them. But, despite my professed preferences, I’m definitely buying more eBooks than pBooks these days — and more eBooks now than I was buying any kind of books, before the eBook wave took me.

  • Gregwood

    Changing to the Kindle wasn’t something I would ever do, but due to the inability to hold a book in my hands for an extended period and because my eyesight is getting worse due to having M.S., I have rediscovered my love for reading. I LOVE my Kindle and have purchased a couple for my parents who have a hard time finding large print books. Now they can simply select a larger font to any book they want. It has also come in handy for travelling with the weight restrictions on luggage. I would need a separate suitcase for the amount of books I have in my Kindle.:-)

    • Joe Lalonde

      Wow, thanks for sharing your story. It is amazing how technology has helped you and your parents rekindle, (-; , your love of reading.

  • Jason H.

    I’m a big believer of e-books and have not purchased a hard copy of a book for personal reading in years. Unfortunately as a doctoral student, I’m stuck having to buy $100 books for each class until major publishing companies in the academia field can figure another way to fund their publishing efforts. :)

  • Daniel Lyle

    What would it take for me to switch?  79 bucks.

  • Daniel Lyle

    What would it take for me to switch?  79 bucks.

  • Ian

    While I don’t have anything against ebooks (in fact I think they are a tremendous oppurtunity for want-to-be-authors like me) I have to admit that I was one of those people who said I’d never convert up until a few days ago. My wife got me a new cell phone that came with a Kindle App. I downloaded several free books just to say I had the ebook experience and to my surprise I am actually enjoying reading them.  :)

    I don ‘t think I will be going 100% digital anytime soon (I enjoy highlighting my non-fiction books way too much) but I can certainly see the value and the potential future of these devices.

    The IPOD has pretty much sealed the fate of the CD as far as I know (anyone got any current stats on that?) and it may very well come to pass in the next generation that printed books are relegated to the dustbin of history.

  • John Mark Harris (dot net)

    I bought my mom (63) a Kindle Touch for χmas this year, they can’t text message, and can barely use voicemail, but necessity is the mother of invention (or something). Mom did get on Facebook after we moved (with her 2 granddaughters) 660 miles away. Mom is always reading, there is always a thick paperback in her purse. The verdict? Mom and dad have been reading to eachother via their new Kindle Touch. They said it was the best gift they’ve ever gotten. My sister and I split it… The “eBook reader” is wonderful once you actually try to use it, may as well have the best one. I got myself the same thing, Kindle Touch with the Amazon Black leather case with the light. It’s great!!! Don’t get me wrong, I love paper books, I have about 12 six-foot bookcases full, but now, if a book has a Kindle version, that’s what I prefer… Great blog!

  • Bonnie Holley

    Already a convert. I can take my whole library with me anywhere. Why would I hang on to a paper book? Besides, most e-books are at least half the price of paper.

  • Bonnie Holley

    Isn’t hanging on to paper books a bit like saying, “Wow, I love my cassette or vhs tapes? ” I have some special paper books for sure, as keepsakes, but the e-reader boosts my reading and my experience of the world!

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  • susie finney

    For me the big thing is price.  I have a pretty tight budget right now.  I love regular books, but having an e-reader would be wonderful, since I live in a pretty small room and already have more books than I have room for!

    • John Tiller

      True, Susie! The only present that I ask from my family for my birthday and Christmas is Amazon gift cards. I load them up and then order books to my Kindle whenever I want them. It saves space, it saves money, and it’s super-easy to get a book when I want it!

  • Rob Sorbo

    I’ve grown fonder and fonder of my Kindle. I still do like the feel of a book, but the Kindle has so many features that books don’t have (like, text to speech!).

  • Joel Acevedo

    I felt same way and even though I like the feel of a book Iam
    Hooked on my Nook. When I travel I take my library with me
    And the E reader gives you access to do many other things, I can read, go online, listen to music
    Watch movies and not have to drive to book store cause everything is at my
    Convenience .

  • apreachaskid

    I was one of those people who thought that they would never convert. That was until I started reading PDF files on my computer and thinking to myself how great it would be to take them with me. Once I had installed a Kindle reader on my Blackberry, there was no doubt that having a fully functional tablet for on the go was the way to go. I love the accessibility of an eBook. I’ll always tout the benefits of a print book, but the benefits of being about to carry a virtual library through an eReader is definitely worth its weight in gold.

  • Kathryn Turney

    I remember when I received a company issued Sony Reader while working at Simon and Schuster. I was told that this is where publishing was going. I, like many of the other responders to your blog, did not like it and did not want anything to do with it. I have continually resisted for several years. But…now that I have reset my career path due to the state of employment in the publishing industry and am back in school, I am trying to rethink it. I can buy the digital version of my textbook for 50% less than a traditional textbook. That is quite a savings and a Kindle would pay for itself in one semester for me. Wow…did I just talk myself into ending my boycott? While I’ll never get rid of my favorite signed first editions and childhood favorites intended for my children and grandchildren. I am gradually warming up to the idea.

  • Goetz Mueller

    I love books, having a complete wall covered with them.

    However, I’ve started to listen to audio books as this opens even more opportunities, e.g. while commuting, mowing the lawn and other things where the hands are need. I’m reading ebooks since a couple of months as they also provide new options, on the iPhone while waiting in a line etc. and they perfectly synchronize the actual position on the different reading devices. And they need almost no space which is to me even more important than the reduced price.

  • Paul Alan Clifford

    For self-published authors like me, ebooks are great.  In the last two days, I’ve given away 504 copies of my book, The Serving Church, as a part of Kindle direct publishing.  My enemy isn’t piracy; it’s obscurity.  I’ve noticed that the more I give away, the more I sell.  Since each electronic copy doesn’t cost anything, I can give away hundreds or thousands with no problem.  ( if you want a free copy before the end of 2/15/2013)


  • John Gassen

    Michael, I have a Kindle, but find I don’t read much on it because people still swap books with me. My backlog of books is large enough that I rarely pick up my Kindle. I really thought I would read more with the Kindle, but that hasn’t been the case.

  • Rebecca C

    I used to think that I’d never convert. My mom has been a Kindle devotee since the first one came out. She finally convinced me to give it a try when the Kindle Keyboard came out a few years back.

    It worked. I’m a huge fan of ebooks (specifically Kindles, love e-ink screens) now. While there is still nothing like being able to hold a book in your hands, there is nothing like the convenience of carrying hundreds of books in my purse at once. We still have our guest room converted into a library full of paper books, but we also have 2 Kindle Touches and a Keyboard.

  • Ken Zimmerman Jr.

    I felt the same way about social media once but I have learned that you have to adapt to the times. The world is constantly changing and extremely quickly. Kodak almost went out of business because they did not grasp the revolution caused by the digital camera. I said the same thing about liking to hold an actual book but my last three book purchases were all e-books.

  • Michael

    Wow, surprised to see this one recirculated today:) I wonder how much the public sentiment has shifted since you first posted this. My guess is you may not still be pointing to your K2 as your device d’jour. Tablets have overtaken the e-reader market, mobile is dominant and with the ever-increasing spread of fiber-based connectivity, completely interactive, always connected households are only months away from nearing early-adopter phase. What say ye?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yea, I posted this four years ago. Wow. Time flies.

      I am currently using an iPad Mini. However, I use the Kindle app.

      Interestingly, e-books seem to have flattened out—almost no growth last year. We may have reached a steady-state. It’s come much earlier than I anticipated with much less saturation than I expected.
      I probably need to do a follow-up. Thanks.

      • Michael

        Look forward to it. eBooks have flattened for many, true that. But, will people gravitate to new content forms, is there anything to the curation idea (Amazon and others don’t do this well). Hope you’re well.

  • Janine Joi

    I may do it. Been toying with the idea. However I have a Lenova thinkpad tablet, so need to use that. However. I have a lot of books that are not in ebook format. If i could get all my books in ebook format, I’d do it. as it is, I’m on book buying restriction, ditto blankets, dishes, just about anything. [my own doing]