You may (or may not) recall my post where I discussed my thoughts on different book formats and how they can affect my reading experience.
Today, I want to touch on a similar topic and focus on novellas, e-books and audiobooks.
This post is less about how the format of a book affects my reading experience and more about their availability and pricing. Basically, I’m just going to ramble. Feel free to stop me – oh wait, you can’t!
Let’s start with my nemesis – e-books.
Ok, they’re not really the enemy. But I’ve mentioned before that I feel disconnected when I read on a screen (be it the computer, phone, kindle, nook, etc.) even if it’s an author I love. Honestly, the only reason Sweetbeeps and I use the Kindle is when I get e-arcs to review or we find super cheap deals (like less than $5). Even the free classics hold little allure because I already struggle to get immersed in some classics, so an e-reader is not how I want to try them out.
I can absolutely appreciate the convenience of e-books. They don’t take up shelf space, you can download one on the fly if you find yourself in need of something to read and sometimes they’re free! Here’s the thing – hold on, let me get my tinfoil hat out – I don’t fully trust digital formats. Before I go full crazy on you, let me make the valid point that sometimes, when I receive e-arcs to review, they have expiration dates. First of all, don’t pressure me! Secondly, it’s like I’m not really receiving the book in exchange for my review, but renting it. And if I don’t read it within the set timeframe, I lose access and just have to delete it.
Soooo, based on that (and the fact that I read a book along these lines once), I can imagine the files on my e-reader disappearing someday. If I can download a book, who’s to say that a company can’t take it back, or even edit the original file? I’m not going to go searching because it’ll make me crazier, but I’m willing to bet there are theories on this. It’s certainly more likely to occur than someone from a bookstore coming into my house to take back or change a book I’ve purchased.
Now that I’ve established that I’m whack, let me go back to a more reasonable point – price. I don’t troll sites for deals, so I’m certainly not an expert on the average prices of e-books. But when I do notice kindle prices when I’m browsing on Amazon, it seems that most often I see them similarly priced to a paperback. For me, that’s not worth it. I’ve established myself as an extreme book hoarder and I’m ok with slowly losing the space in my house to piles of (unread) books. So if you tell me I can spend $12.00 on a paperback or a digital copy (that I can’t easily flip through, use fun bookmarks on, or most importantly, sniff) I’m going to take the paperback every time.
Speaking of pricing, I feel similarly about novellas. It seems like novellas are becoming a trend. Many of the new releases I’ve purchased in the past six months or have placed on my wish list seem to be novellas. Sometimes this is frustrating when I don’t know I’ve ordered a novella. I get all excited and then when the slim little book arrives and I realize I’ve paid $14.00 for 100 pages, there’s some disappointment! This isn’t at all related to the quality of the writing inside, by the way. A lot of the standout books I’ve read recently have been novellas. The frustration comes again though, when I want more pages to read and I’ve got to wait another year for another 100 pages. Much like how I feel about graphic novels, it’s a bit of a tease given the long waits and the short page counts.
Maybe novellas are more marketable? Perhaps shorter formats appeal to a wider audience? Maybe it’s easier for writers to get through smaller chunks? I couldn’t say, but I’m conflicted regarding the price. Again, comparing the baseline price of a trade paperback ($12-15ish), I sort of wonder if novellas shouldn’t be cheaper?
But I, of course, think that writers should make money (more money, in fact!) and I’m not saying that the experience of a novella isn’t worth as much as one from a paperback. It’s just a shorter read. But if I’m paying $15, I’d like it to get me as many pages as it can! Pricing certainly matters to the reader, not everyone can afford to buy as many books as they’d like (actually, can any of us?) and sometimes the better deal might mean more pages.
I don’t know. There’s got to be a balance between publishers and writers making money and readers getting value in what they purchase. I’m not saying that shorter or digital formats don’t have value. I’m just musing about the differences in prices.
We know how I struggle with considering audiobooks in terms of how I track my reading. I promise I won’t get in a tizzy about that again.
Lately, I haven’t been listening to audiobooks. Part of the reason is that I prefer to listen to books I’ve already ready, but the bigger reason is that nothing I want to read is available through my library! I primarily use Libby and I feel like every book I have on hold has a waitlist of approximately a zillion weeks. I feel like if something is a digital file, it should be more easily accessible. Again, I know people need to make money on these things, but it would be nice if libraries had more then two audio copies of Harry Potter. I have recently downloaded Hoopla, which has no holds (at least, that I’ve encountered) but seems to have less of a selection than what I find through Libby.
Well, if you made it this far, those are my (somewhat disorganized) thoughts! Do you have anything to say about pricing or availability? Do you also believe that someone could take away digital files you’ve paid for without your permission?!