Sunday, September 6, 2015

TSS: Labor Day, My Eyes, and the Rising Price of Ebooks


Good morning, friends. I hope you're enjoying the long Labor Day weekend. With 90 degrees and humidity, this will truly be summer's last hurrah in central New York!

My reading has been sporadic again this week, but I think I finally figured out what's happening. Most of my reading has been on a kindle this year...with adjustable font. Last week I borrowed a copy of All That Is  by James Salter from the library. Even though I liked the writing and was getting interested in the characters, it was a chore to read. The print seemed so small! It's been a few years, so I decided to schedule an eye exam. It's probably past time for a new prescription. And I'll definitely give James Salter another try at some point.

Which bring me to my next topic... Have you noticed the price of ebooks lately?


At 7AM on September 1, I visited amazon eager to download Purity  by Jonathan Franzen, but my "buy now with 1-click" finger froze when I discovered the $14.99 price tag . The ebook was actually MORE EXPENSIVE than the hardcover! How could that be?? I surely was not the only potential buyer to balk. Since then, the hardcover has undergone a price adjustment from $14.95 to $15.10, so it's no longer more expensive, but still...

It's hard to ignore the recent rise in ebook prices. Surely the new distribution deals between amazon and several big publishers are behind it. The fine print on amazon's website now says "This price was set by the publisher", and ebook sales have declined sharply. Here is an article from The Wall Street Journal  with a few more details. It seems I'm not the only one refusing to pay $14.99 for an ebook.

Current Reading//


by Maureen Corrigan
An interesting mix of literary discussion and FSF biography. I'd say a reread of The Great Gatsby is imminent... it's been over a decade. 


Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
I'm kicking off R.I.P. X  with my first foray into the world Lord Peter Wimsey!


Up next//  Decisions, Decisions...



Our #6Barsets project continues this month with The Small House at Allington. I'm anxious to return to Trollope, but may squeeze one more book in ahead of it.



The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante was also released September 1st.  I might have to indulge my Ferrante Fever and read the final Neopolitan novel right away.

Or maybe Jonathan Franzen's Purity ... in print, of course. I flat out refuse to pay $14.99 for an ebook!


On the blog//
Did You Miss Me?
Readers Imbibing Peril: R.I.P  X


In the kitchen//


Have you heard? Trish is bringing back her Pin It and Do It challenge this fall. For me, that means new recipes and my family is already pretty excited. Click here for details.


The Week Ahead//

It will be nice to settle into a routine again. A couple of doctor's appointments with Twin B plus my own eye exam are on the schedule, but other than that it should be business as usual. Plus, the Monday holiday makes it a very short week. Which is good because...

 Friday can't come fast enough. Every year my sisters and I plan an overnight get-away for our mother's birthday - we shop, go out to dinner, drink a little wine, and stay up most of the night talking. This year Mom turns 80, so it will be extra-special!

We don't have any big plans for the rest of the holiday weekend... just a little relaxation to wrap up the summer. What are you up to? Did you read anything good last week?



It's Monday, What Are You Reading?  is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. While she is taking a break, check the hashtag #IMWAYR on twitter.

59 comments:

  1. I sympathize! I've been straightening some bookshelves, and realizing that I have old paperbacks (some from college!) that I would never be able to read, even with a prescription! As for ebooks, I still have an overall prejudice against buying them; I guess I just have my lifelong fondness for printed books. I've been succumbing to read-and-listen combinations (for which I blame and praise you!), bargains (I've gotten a few great ones), and books I might not be able to find otherwise. But even 9.99 usually stops me ,,, but the ability to adjust the font will probably turn that around. :) Happy long weekend - summery (too summery!) here too. And enjoy Lord Peter!!

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    1. Audrey - Lord Peter is perfect company today! Not sure why I've waited so long to make his acquaintance!

      I have a love/hate relationship with ebooks. I prefer reading them, but they'll never replace all of my favorites on the shelves.

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  2. I do hope you enjoy Lord Peter! He was my first real literary love, and I've never gotten over him. We are hoping that this will be summer's last hurrah here as well. A cool front came through last week but reminded us fall is coming, but then it got hot again. And humid. Your birthday celebration with your mother sounds lovely!

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    1. Lisa - Just had a nice hour by the lake with Lord Peter. This could be the beginning of a long and happy relationship ;-)

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    2. I've had Lord Peter in mind for a re-read for a while now, and you inspired me to pick up Whose Body - so I'm spending Labor Day with him, Bunter, and Charles Parker.

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  3. Hope your mom has the loveliest of birthdays, and that you all have a most marvelous time!
    I don't buy a lot of ebooks anyway, but yeah, there's no way on earth I'd pay $15 for one.

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    1. Debi - Thanks! Mom's birthday weekend is always one of the highlights of the year for all of us. I wish I could remember when we started the tradition, but it's probably been at least 20 years :)

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  4. I am eagerly waiting for my new eye glasses (they were returned twice - for one reason or another.) Book prices are high! I am sort of split with print and ebooks. I have free shipping with B&N and will sometimes pay a couple of $ extra for a hard copy. Happy Birthday to your mother! Have a great weekend!

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    1. Pat - This is the first year I've read more ebooks than print... for convenience (while we were in FL), then I started enlarging the font. Should have tipped me off that an eye exam was needed ;-)

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  5. I prefer eBooks or trade paperbacks these days, but I refuse to pay more than 9.99 for an eBook. I'll wait for the library copy even if it means not reading it immediately upon release. Glad u joined RIP X love that challenge.

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    1. Diane - $9.99 has been my cut-off price, too, but I've only spent that once or twice. $14.99 is beyond outrageous!!

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  6. I feel annoyed that e-books are so expensive these days. I read yesterday that sales are down for e-books. Hmmmm...can you connect the dots, publishers?

    http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com

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    1. Deb - Exactly!! Seems like the publishers really don't care though...

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  7. I have also been stunned by the e-book prices, since most of my books purchased are e-books, and I have counted on them being less expensive than paperbacks or hardcover books. Not so, apparently.

    I also enjoy e-books because they don't take up any space in my house...LOL. Plus, the whole font thing on the e-reader. I have a hard time with books that have small print, and once got a review book with print so tiny that I simply could not read it.

    So lately, my e-books have mostly been NetGalley downloads. But sometimes I can't resist a purchase, especially if I can't find it on NetGalley.

    Enjoy your week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Good luck on the eye exam! Hopefully corrective lenses will do the trick.

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    2. Laurel-Rain Snow - I think we're choosing ebooks for many of the same reasons. I don't get as many from NetGalley these days, but a lot of classics are free and I always take a look at the daily deals. It's not like I'll run out of books to read, but the prices are getting ridiculous!

      Fingers crossed new glasses will fix my reluctance to pick up a print book!

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  8. When most of my e-books are netgalley, freebies or less than $1.99, I won't pay that much for sure! I still prefer print. Have a great celebration with your mom! It is my mom's birthday today. Enjoy the weekend.

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    1. Nise' - I've gotten out of the NetGalley habit, but I'm always checking the deals. Hope your mom has a wonderful birthday today!!

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  9. I've noticed the same thing, ebooks are so high now. I've ahd several that were more than the print version. I've been buying more of them until just recently... enjoy the relaxation, doing the same thing here. Happy Labor Day!

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    1. Greg - This was the first time I'd seen an ebook cost more than print... what a shock! Hope you enjoy relaxing this long weekend, too.

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  10. Yes, I had noticed that, sometimes, ebooks can cost more than regular books. I find that amazing. I like the way you can adjust the font on a Kindle. One size is too small for me also.

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    1. Topazshell - I really love my kindle! It's easier to buy and borrow books, and I can take dozens along wherever I go... but I won't pay $14.99 :(

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  11. That ebook price is insane. On Sept. 1, I marched into my local Costco and bought the hardcover for $15.87. Yeah, a little more than Amazon, but I needed other things at Costco too. Somehow I have to think that Mr. Franzen would not have liked the sight of his book in my cart next to a rotisserie chicken and toilet paper. :) I just started Adam Johnson's new collection, Fortune Smiles, and so far, it's amazing. Crossing my fingers that it stays that way.

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    1. Amy - Just the thought of Franzen's reaction to seeing his book in a shopping cart with a rotisserie chicken and TP makes me laugh out loud!! Will keep an eye out for your thoughts on Fortune Smiles... it looks good.

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  12. I've had trouble with my eyes since college and things haven't gotten much worse this year. I'm in limbo right not, trying to find an opthalmologist who can treat me and it's very frustrating.

    An ebook needs to be cheaper because I can sell or give away a physical copy of the book but can't do that with an ebook.

    Enjoy your time with your mom! My mom is 88 so every day I get to spend with her is precious. I'm meeting her and my sister at the beach mid-October and can't wait.

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    1. Kathy - Not being able to lend/sell/give away ebooks is another huge reason not to pay top price for them!

      Time at the beach with your mother and sister sounds amazing... glad you're able to do that again.

      Sure hope you can resolve your eye issues soon, too.

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  13. Between the library and netgally I don't buy many books but I looked for something just the other day thinking it can't be that much and was a bit surprised. I really enjoyed Whose Body and hope you do as well. Wimsey is a really interesting detective. Hope your eye exam will make reading a bit easier!
    I hope you have a lovely time with your mother and sister! Sounds like a fun birthday! I'm excited about Trish's challenge. I keep trying to use more pins and this sounds like fun. Have a great week!

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    1. Katherine - I read the first few chapters of Whose Body and really like it! Lord Peter is quite a character. We always have a great time for my mom's birthday getaway... can't wait until Friday. And I'm already looking through my pinterest boards for challenge ideas :)

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  14. Higher prices are never a good thing.

    I do find however that I download a lot of free books that are out of copyright from Project Gutenberg. If I look at all my ebook downloads and average in these free acquisitions, I find that the average costs of ebooks for me is still very low. I can see how this would be different if one purchases more new releases.

    I also recently read a traditional book with very small print. I have two pairs of glasses in the house, my newest prescription and my previous one. Usually my old prescription is fine, but I realized that it did not cut it with the small print.

    Good luck with the eye exam.

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    1. Brian Joseph - If I look at averages, then I suppose I'm not paying very much for ebooks. I love classics and most of them are free, also the daily deals offer great titles every now and then. Unfortunately, that doesn't make me any happier to see a $14.99 price tag.

      I'm confident a visit to the eye doctor will take care of things... probably need some stronger reading glasses.

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  15. Our library checks out e books and I was surprised to hear ow expensive they are for them as well. When they get an e book for check out they only get so many check outs with that book and then they have to purchase again. I think that is CRAZY! It made me feel bad knowing that I had checked out e books I never had time to read and therefore wasted a check out. I would not know this information other than the fact I work closely with our library through the Friends group.

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    1. Sheila - Wow, that is totally crazy!!!! I'm going to ask at my library and see if that's the case for them, too. That would make me feel about the ebooks I've checked out and not read, too :(

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  16. I always say, if you can't sell it, then you don't own it. So I mostly use my kindle for the internet.

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    1. James - Very sensible! I've never thought of it that way before...

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  17. I just go to stores and buy close-up glasses there. They work fine for very little money. My kindle books are pretty cheap or free because I read (mostly) old ones, but I have noticed the new Alexander McCall Smith ones are way pricey. I spend my book money on what I call real books. The ones I can touch and see on the shelves and dream about.

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    1. Nan - I have a couple of those around the house and often use them when reading in bed. My regular prescription has progressive lenses (they used to call them bifocals) and I think both the distance and reading portions probably need to be adjusted.

      It's been a couple of years since I read Alexander McCall Smith. He is so popular that I'm usually able to find his books at the library sales!

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  18. I had to get new glasses a few months ago. I've always worn black ones but this time my kids talked me into getting some with a little color. I got 2 of the same frame, one in bronze and one in purple. I love them!!

    Yes, I have noticed the rising cost of ebooks. If I'm going to pay that much, I'll spend a bit more and get the hardcover.

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    1. Vicki - That sounds like a great idea! I figure that if I wear glasses every day, I should have several pairs to go with various outfits and moods :)

      I'm not a big fan of hardcovers & actually prefer ebooks and trade paperbacks. May have to adjust that if the price of ebooks stays so high though.

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  19. We've just come back from an early morning walk and practically raced the last leg to get into the air-conditioning. I can't remember such a hot Labour Day!
    Outrageous price for an ebook...and the cover art on that Trollope is SO pretty!

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    1. Darlene - Our weather forecaster was just saying this is the hottest Labor Day weekend of the century! Only 15 years, I know... but it sounds more dramatic!

      I'll actually be reading a free ebook version of the Trollope, but I do enjoy looking at that cover on my blog ;-)

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  20. It got hot here again too. Sigh. You are going to love Lord Peter! Enjoy the journey.

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    1. Beth F - I'm already loving Lord Peter! Glad there are so many books to look forward to.

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  21. I'm pretty stingy when it comes to buying e-books in general, but almost $15 for one strikes me as particularly ludicrous. I wouldn't dream of spending so much on something that I can't hold in my hand or easily lend out to my friends and family when I'm done. Yikes!

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    1. Megan - My thoughts, exactly! That price is totally ridiculous... especially for a book I can't lend to my family/friends, donate to my library, or resell.

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  22. Hope you've had a great weekend! Recently enjoyed "You Should Have Known" by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Since I liked "A Wanderer in Paris" so well, I'm working my way through "A Wanderer in Venice," in between other books. And, currently reading "A Window Opens" by Elisabeth Egan. Lastly, I couldn't resist .... I've ordered a copy of "The Story of the Lost Child." As for e-books, they are definitely not a part of my world, even if one can make the print larger. I, too, am at the point where small print is really a problem. What I dislike as much as small print are magazines and to a certain extent bloggers that print in very light pastel colors. Arrrgh! :-)

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    1. JudyMac - I have You Should Have Known on my kindle and am more inclined to read it since finishing her earlier book, Sabbathday River. A Wandered in Venice sounds wonderful, too.

      I'm not sure whether I'll continue with Trollope's Barsetshire right away or read The Story of the Lost Child first. Can't wait to see how the series ends.

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  23. I had no idea the price of an e-book is now $14.99. That's terrible. I'd rather get a hardback then. Who are they kidding? I'll read the WSJ article. thanks

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    1. Susan - I think $14.99 makes me even angrier knowing that I can't lend it to friends, donate it to the library, or sell it!

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  24. Totally with you on the ebook price craziness!! I much preferred it when ebooks cost $9.99!

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    1. Athira - $9.99 is my absolute maximum price for an ebook, and I've only spent that once or twice.

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  25. I use Overdrive And my library to borrow any ebook I can't get! I am not paying $14.99 for ebooks! That is just sad! And mean!

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    1. Patty - I use Overdrive and the library, too, and only buy new releases that have really long hold lists. Guess I'll just have to be a bit more patient now...

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  26. So We Read On looks interesting! I think Great Gatsby is my most re-read book and I'd read it again in a heartbeat (it's not my favorite...but it's just so fascinating and complicated).

    And yes, I will not pay $15 for an ebook--I have a hard time paying even $10. I'm kicking myself for not getting All The Light We Cannot See when it was a monthly deal at $3.99. The kindle price keeps going up and is now 13.99. Nope and nope.

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    1. Trish - Funny. Gatsby is not one of my favorites either, yet I keep coming back to it. I paid $9.99 for an ebook once and that was stretching it for me... give me those free classics and daily deals any time. Can't believe I missed the deal for All the Light We Cannot See. I've borrowed it from the library twice now, but wasn't able to get to it.

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  27. I downloaded (pre-ordered, in fact) Ferrente's newest book, and now I fear I won't have time for it until Christmas. I'll look forward to discussing it with you when we both have it read. I'm glad you and your family are so excited to Pin it and do it!

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    1. Bellezza - Ferrante's newest book is off to a very strong start. It surprising how easily (although slightly reluctantly) I am drawn right back into Elena's story. Ferrante is a wonderful writer, but I am sure this translator also deserves praise!

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  28. Your overnight getaway with your sisters and mom sounds like a lot of fun. Happy Birthday to your mom! I can't get over the price of ebooks. I've only bought a few (maybe 4 or 5) and I'm pretty sure I didn't spend that much! With my employee discount, I can get most paperbacks for under $10. Even then, I don't buy that many books anymore. I have so many that were either comps, ARCs or library sale books that I want to enjoy those first. Of course, there are always the new books that I can't resist, but those are few and far between. We are enjoying mild weather this weekend and have our windows wide open. It'll get hot (high 80s/low 90s) once again this coming week, but fall is just around the corner. I'm off to sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and read for a bit before tackling some housework. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, JoAnn!

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    1. Les - Most of my ebook purchases have been "daily deals" for $1.99 to $3.99, plus I've downloaded many free classics. I've only paid $9.99 once or twice, and the $14.99 price of Purity both shocked and outraged me! I'll wait patiently on the library hold list or go buy a new hardcover before I pay that price.

      Another chilly, grey morning here, but it sounds like we'll be back in the mid 80s in a few days... just a little taste of fall, I guess.

      Have a great week, Les!

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