Yet another e-book post, but in this case, I'll show some math.
I'm still debating the e-book purchase, and still unable to make it happen. See, I don't understand the math.
For example, let's say I want to read These Dark Things by Jan Merete Weiss. I picked that book only because it popped up when I looked up e-books on Amazon as a top seller.
Here's the cost:
Amazon: $8-15, depending on which you go with. I buy a lot of used books, personally.
But now you have the added expense of the e-reader. You can spend anywhere from $120 to $300, so let's assume you get the cheapo and go with the $120.
These Dark Things ran you $120+tax+$10
Hardcover it ran you $8-15, depending on which you go with. I buy a lot of used books.
If I lose my e-reader, or get it wet at the pool, or drop it in the crapper because I am a potty-reader, read until my legs go to sleep and then stand up and recirculate and sit back down, then I lose all my books.
Any of that happens with a book, I lose only that one book, not my whole damned library and movies and music I downloaded!
I can't let my brother have my book when I'm done with it. We swap a lot.
I guess the advantage of an e-reader is it gives you access to $0.99 books, and your entire library is in your hip pocket.
Certainly, though, cost of ownership of the e-reader is far beyond what you get with a book.
If you want the actual break-even point for the number of books where you reach a break-even point, then here is the equation:
n = eR / (hb - eb)
n = number of books purchased in either venue
eR = cost of e-reader
hb = cost of hardback book (or paperback)
eb = cost of e-book
For instance, let's use the below numbers:
eR = $200 + tax = $218 (medium-quality e-book)
hb = $10 (median price for hardback or paperback)
eb = $8 (use a fudge-factor that suggests e-books are about $2 less than the same printed book, which is NOT accurate)
We get a break-even point of
n = 218 / (10-8) = 218 / 2 = 109 books
So you'll need to read over 100 books to break even with your e-reader, and that is making the BAD assumption that the same e-book costs less than the same printed book.
Plus, I am not factoring in the $0.99 books you'll buy as e-books that are not available in print.
My guess is you will never break even with an e-reader. E-readers will never be cheaper than printed books, not at today's price.
If you check Amazon, you'll see little if any separation in price for the same book, and in many cases, you can find a less-expensive hardback, gently used or from overstock.
Example from Amazon's Kindle Homepage defaults:
The Fiery Trail: $13-17 hardback, $15 Kindle
Washington, A Life: $15-23 hardback, $20 Kindle
I could go on, but I won't. Do your own research.
Furthermore, if we use MUSIC as a prior example, you'll note that music CD (printed) still costs the same as electronic music downloads. Music still runs you $0.99 to $1.50 per song.
I'm sticking with print, and downloading e-books to my PC-Kindle (free application), if I should need to read an unpublished $0.99 e-book.
Of course, I still buy CDs, and who the fuck still buys CDs.
How about you? I know many of you purchased e-readers. Do you actually see any cost-benefit, or are you happy with the convenience despite the higher cost-of-ownership?