Sunday, May 30, 2010

Calling all TEENS!

I need your help, my dear, loyal teen followers. And that of any friends you can recruit :).

I've been researching online the TEEN MARKET for EBOOKS. Guess what--I've found just about nothing out there on this topic. Ebook vs. print discussions abound online. And there are discussions here and there about which genres do better. But I'm having one heck of a time finding out if teen books sell well in ebook form.

So, I decided to go right to the source, so to speak.

What I'm asking is this:

Please leave a comment on my blog with your answer/opinion. If you're a teen (or even an adult with a take on this regarding TEEN books, not just ebooks in general), let me know--do you read ebooks? If so, why? If not, why? Is it because you don't have an ereader? Do you not have one because they're too expensive? Are you aware of the free ereader apps for computers and phones, etc? Just too in love with print to try? Can't find the books you want in ebook format (because publishers aren't putting enough teen books in e-format)? What other reasons for or against?

Please ask your friends who don't follow my blog to visit and answer. Maybe you can even post on your blog about my little survey/discussion here. The more answers, the more accurate my research.

Thanks, gang! I can't wait to read your answers. I'm very excited about getting the teen take on this. I want to know from YOU what you want!


Megan said...

I mainly read books in print that I buy at the book store because I don't know where to get e-books. I would love to be able to buy books online to read in e-format if I actually knew where I could get them. So if I could know where to get them, I would most deffenatly try out this whole e-book thing.


Kat Heckenbach said...

There are lots of places to get ebooks that can be read on a computer. And there are free applications for phones and such as well. Amazon has FREE applications for your PC, different phones, ipads, and more. I do think the word hasn't spread fast enough about those things. Everyone thinks you must buy a Kindle or other ereader to be able to read ebooks, and it's just not true.

Here's the link for Kindle for PC:

You have to have a Kindle acct, which means a credit card associated to buy the books. I'm wondering if THAT is an issue with teens getting access to ebooks.

Also, I am NOT endorsing you downloading these apps without your parents' permission!!! But if you tell them about it, and investigate all the options, you might find a whole new world of books--many that are free or WAY cheaper than what they cost in the bookstores.

Unknown said...

I do not have an eBook, nor do I want one. Here's my opinion on eBooks: As I see it, eBooks are conveniences, not necessities... in other words, I'd only use a gadget like that if I really needed it (like if I needed to bring a bunch of books on a plane ride or something). I'll always prefer the "real" paper-page books over electronic screens, and I'll probably eventually be considered old-fashioned for it! Haha. Oh well.

Just to clarify, I am COMPLETELY supportive of new technologies, but I'm opposed to them overtaking our lives so much that it becomes ridiculous. (Which is slowly becoming the case among us youths. Sigh.) E.g., texting the person next to you, or sending a Facebook message to your friend down the street unnecessarily. Yes, it really happens.

Generally, I think a lot of teens are supportive of eBooks, but there are still a lot (maybe a 50-50 ratio, I don't know) who are like me and prefer the feel of a real book in their hand. A discussion about eBooks happened sort of recently (in February) on Wayne Batson's blog. Here's the link if you want to read some more comments from teens on the topic:


Kat Heckenbach said...

Thanks, Brianna! I actually read that post on WTB's blog, but I need to go back and read more of the comments. Thanks for reminding me.

I agree--I LOVE the feel of paper books...the smell, the sight of them on my bookshelf. It's not old-fashioned at all ;). But I'm beginning to see some advantages of ebooks.

You say you won't go ebook if it's not a necessity--what if a book you were dying to read was ONLY available in ebook form. Would you skip it? Would you be willing to download a free application, like Kindle for PC, so you could read it? Not give up print, or stop buying print, but getting the ebook version just now and then?

Jacob R Parker said...

I'm kind of a scrooge when it comes to e-books. I get the vague sense that if I actually tried an e-reader I'd fall in love with it and never read a physical book again. But the writer in me objects to the concept of publishing a file. It seems... cheaper, less... I don't know, like something someone will quickly glance through and log away with the hundreds of other files. Plus, I've read so many print books that the physical book has become part of the appeal. (I'm going to be soooo anti-change when I'm 80 years old ;)

I think we're probably headed to all or nearly all digital, but I also think it will happen a lot more slowly than most think. As stated in Steve Laube's great blog post ( physical CDs still make up 75% of music sales.

I did set up that kindle app for my computer, and it was for a book that was only available on kindle. I've found that I take a lot more breaks when reading on the computer, even if what I'm reading is great. It's harder to get sucked in.

I'd buy Finding Angel if it was only on kindle!

Kat Heckenbach said...

I can see the difficulty of getting sucked in while reading on a computer. My personal situation is that I have a netbook--much more portable and easy to read on that even a standard laptop. Not quite as good as an ereader, though.

I, too, was SO resistant at first. And I totally understand not wanting your book to be buried in someone's computer file rather than displayed prominently on the shelf :). I really, really do get that! But, there are a lot of people switching to ebooks, and you can't eliminate them as readers. I'd eventually want BOTH print and ebook, and would prefer both now, but the ebook thing is a real consideration.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jacob! I think I'm getting a cramp from grinning right now :D.

Hannah Nicole said...

I don't like e-readers and I've never purchased an e-book, nor downloaded a free one. To me, I need to have something tangible that I can hold. The allure of a fresh book is something that I'm so strongly attached to, and an e-book seems to dismiss the possibility of the romance. The whole idea of books is very romantic, and putting them online seems to dull that sharp magic that is so prominent. In regards to e-books, it may just be my inexperienced opinion, but it seems that e-books are less popular and almost a last resort. That being said, I don't think that there's anything wrong with an author putting their works on an e-book, but I would probably not buy it.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Well, I took a look at the link Brianna included--I had mistakenly thought that was a different ebook discussion on WTB's blog that I had already seen. But this one is different, and judging from the comments it looks like teens are not jumping on the ereader bandwagon--or even reading books on computers or phones. Interesting....

KM Wilsher said...

oooooo, this is exciting KAT!

Unknown said...

To answer your question, Kat: Yes, I would still buy a book I was dying to read if that's the only way it was available. That qualifies as a "necessity" for me. :-D I'd rather have it on my computer (or ebook, or whatever) than not at all!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Hannah. There's just something about a book that the electronic version brutally murders. There's just something about the book itself. An allure, as Hannah stated. There's a certain romanticism about opening the cover and turning those pages. I love literature, so to take away the print form that has bound it for millennia just doesn't fly. Plus, it doesn't help that ereaders are indeed expensive, and then you still have to buy the e-books on top of that. If I had $200 to spend on an electronic reader, I'd rather spend it on fifteen or so books. And it also bothers my eyes to look at a screen for so long - which is a problem as I normally read books in about ninety minutes, so reading from a screen would really hurt my eyes.

Kat Heckenbach said...


Thanks so much for sharing your opinion. I totally agree that there is just something about a physical book. The feel of the pages, the smell--it's an experience! I will NEVER give mine up. All my favorite books are on my shelf in print, and I'll always buy my favorites--the ones I read over and over--in print.

I do want to clarify two things, though.

One--the initial cost of an ereader is high, but ebooks tend to be cheaper, and you can get a lot of them for free.

Two--the screen on an ereader looks just like a book page. They use something called e-ink, and it is NOT back lit like a computer, so your eyes do not get tired.

Again, I don't own an ereader, although I'm thinking of buying one. I do read some books on my netbook using Kindle for PC, though. What I like is that I can read a book I really want, but the library doesn't have, and I can usually get it much cheaper. If it's something I must then have in print, I can still afford to buy the physical book.

I'm NOT trying to talk anyone into ebooks. I completely understand, and I want print books to stay around! I'm really hoping thing will work out such that I can put Finding Angel out in print AND ebook. For now, just testing the waters :).

Unknown said...

Kat, I'm clueless about e-readers, but I wanted to let you know that I heard on public radio the other day that a school in Clearwater is going to adopt e-readers for all their required reading. Here's a URL to a news story about it:
Anyway, my thought is that if schools are going to start doing that it will probably greatly increase the comfort level of students about using an e-reader.