Despite the fact that I’m published primarily in digital form (only one of my books has ever been released in print), I’ve always considered myself someone who preferred paper books to digital. I have a particular preference (or so I thought) for mass-market paperbacks, not so much because they are cheap (although that weighs into the equation), but because they are lightweight and portable. As a result of my belief in my love for the mass-market paperback, I have an mmpb TBR pile several feet high.
And yet, I’m not reading those books. Instead, I’m reading the digital books I’ve downloaded onto my iTouch. What’s more, I tend to FINISH the digital books that I do start reading, whereas the print books are far more likely to be picked up, paged through, and put down, never to be revisited.
I’ve been puzzling over this phenomenon since I realized I have read several novels and novellas start to finish in the last month while I have not finished reading a single print book in twice that time. Why should this be so, I wondered, especially since reading on the tiny screen provided by the iTouch isn’t exactly the most aesthetically pleasing experience?
One reason is actually pretty easy to ferret out: the light on my side of the bed is burnt out and I can’t be arsed to replace it, which means I CAN’T read paper books in bed, but I can read digital books on the backlit iTouch without a hitch.
But that doesn’t explain why I’m more likely to FINISH reading them, even those I find to be flawed in ways that would likely have me giving up on a paper book within a few chapters. The answer finally dawned on me yesterday, though.
You see, I’m currently reading a historical romance on the iTouch that I suepect I would have set aside long ago in paperback. It’s not that it’s bad, mind you. There are just…issues with it. It’s one of those books that might pan out and might not. And if I had it in print form, I’d have already looked ahead in the book to see if it would be worth my while to finish it. (Yes, I’m THAT kind of reader. For shame, I know.)
But on the iTouch, skipping around in the book is a pain in the you-know-what. Oh, I know I could do it, but it’s more effort than it’s worth. And so, I keep on reading. Which means, eventually, I read through to the end, even if the book doesn’t wind up panning out.
I’ve said for a long time that I won’t pay mass-market paperback prices for digital books, which meant agency-priced romances were strictly off my list. For all the reasons others have explicated in the past, I have always felt that digital books should be priced lower than paperbacks, and if I couldn’t get the digital version of a book for around the $5 mark ($6 at the absolute most), I wouldn’t be buying.
But this morning, I went to Amazon and picked up Julie Anne Long’s What I Did for a Duke, a book I’ve been dying to read for a long time but haven’t run across in paperback yet, for the exorbitant (in my former mind) price of $7.99? And I suspect it’s going to be worth every penny, because if I’d bought it in paperback, there is a good chance I’d never have finished it. But I KNOW I’m going to finish it in digital, and that means it’s worth as much or more as the paperback. To me.