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Do You Buy Books Anymore?

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We’re talking the old-fashioned kind. A “new” Dr. Seuss book, What Pet Should I Get? is cause for rejoicing, and likely the purchase of a paper copy, if you’re into Dr. Seuss. But do you really buy books these days?

When digital books first came out, I was among the purists who turned my nose up at the concept. But as e-readers advance in technological innovation and decrease in cost, it’s hard to deny their appeal. I was the sort of kid who always toted around a stack of paperbacks—now my Kindle library is loaded up with hundreds of books that I can access anywhere. And many of them are free, since I’m a fan of old-school work available under public domain.


Don’t get me wrong—I still love books, the objects, more than than most objects in the world. I used to help run a genre bookstore, and I have precious versions of science fiction and fantasy classics sporting pulpy covers I would be loath to part with. But whenever a friend recommends a must-read book, it’s a matter of seconds to download it versus a trip to the bookstore. The sad truth is that many stores in New York have folded, and the ones in existence won’t always have what you’re looking for in stock.

Sometimes the digital approach just makes more sense. I recently finished Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, which weighs in at 1,504 pages but did not dent my phone’s Kindle app. There are a few instances where I still desire paper, however: graphic novels; picture books for kids; supporting an author at a book-signing. There are also days when I want to stop looking at any sort of screen, and there’s no true substitute for a book in my hand.


We were curious about the habits of Gizmodo readers. Do you buy “old-fashioned” books, and if so, when? Or have you found an excellent e-reader or app that has turned your library digital?

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