With the gaining popularity of e-readers, many question whether they should buy into this trend and purchase an e-reader.
The features of the new Kindle 3G from Amazon makes it seem like a good deal. This e-reader can hold 3,500 books, is lighter than a paperback book, has a battery life that lasts up to a month, and has over 670,000 books available.
The Nook by Barnes and Noble also seems appealing. It has over one million books, can run for ten days straight, and can store as many as 1,500 books on the storage.
Both of these sound like great deals to avid readers; however, before jumping on the bandwagon, potential buyers should consider some important questions.
First, is an e-reader a good personal investment? In other words, how often will the e-reader be necessary? People who travel often are more likely to appreciate an e-reader because they do not have lug around every book that they want to read with them. If an e-reader costs $150 and a person does not even spend that much money in books a year, then an e-reader is not a good investment. A better question for potential buyers is, "Are physical copies of books actually a burden?"
Second, will this e-reader be the last e-reader purchased by the consumer for a long period of time? The music industry has undergone and is still undergoing a debate concerning digital copyright, and e-readers are becoming involved in this debate as well. If the e-reader is not going to a long-term investment, then purchasing books for a particular e-reader is not worth the money spent on the books. The Kindle 3G contract says that purchased content may only be the device it is purchased on or another approved device. This means that if you buy a Kindle and buy a different e-reader five years down the road, all those books that were bought on the Kindle cannot be transferred to the new e-reader.
People stocked up on VHS tapes for years, buying the newest releases whenever they came out. When DVDs became popular, those people realized that they had hundreds of useless tapes. A similar phenomenon could happen to those who purchased e-readers.
It is very easy to get caught up on the hype of e-readers and buy the new Kindle or Nook. E-readers might not be a fad that passes with time, but before purchasing an e-reader, potential buyers should consider whether it is actually worth their money in the long run.