Friday, May 4, 2012

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the E-Book Dilemma

For how long have readers been forced to consult their social consciences when deciding from whom to purchase a book? For me, the dilemma seems to have dated from the early 1990s when the big bookstore corporations gained enough ground to compete with the smaller independent bookstores. Now that the latter have all but vanished, a new conundrum emerged for e-book buyers.

"Boycott Amazon!" has been the hue and cry for the past several months. Amazon's supposed "dirty tricks" in attaching artificially super-low prices on Kindle book bestsellers aroused many book consumers to paint Amazon's top ebook competitor Barnes and Noble as a corporation to be pitied, because it couldn't compete with Amazon in this market. Barnes and Noble colluded with these dissenting consumers, vocally embracing Amazon boycotters.

Then, early this week came the announcement that Barnes and Noble has entered into a partnership with Microsoft, a corporation that has less need of our pity than both Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump combined. The Barnes and Microsoft partnership is supposed "to usher in a new era in the publication and distribution of e-books. Of that I have no doubt.

So tonight, after days and days of deliberation,  I decided I couldn't wait a minute longer to buy The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan. I bought it from Amazon for my Kindle for $7.99 as opposed to my Nook for $13.99, and I refuse to feel guilty.

I believe most people hate to feel manipulated by corporations, and like many of us, I unwittingly allowed myself to be manipulated.

Please weigh in with any thoughts that come to mind!


  1. When I want to read a book, I don't think about all this - I just buy it from wherever it is most convenient/cheap - which is usually Amazon. I know a lot of people hate Amazon but I've been using it for years and I am consistently impressed by its prices, customer service, delivery times, etc.

  2. Maxine,
    Like you, I have been satisfied with Amazon. I must admit I prefer reading a book on my Nook Color to my 2nd-generation Kindle. The brightness of the screen and the clarity of the text increase my reading speed. But when it comes to ordering actual books, Amazon is my top choice.

    It's refreshing to learn that you don't get bogged down in all the head stuff I sometimes do! I think I'll reform myself!