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November 4, 2011

Welcome to Michael’s Corner

This is where I will post occasional book reviews and tips on buying books. Your comments are always welcome.

- Michael Bearden, Owner, Petaluma Paperbacks


E-Books & Readers

November 4, 2011

One of the questions I get asked on just about any day now is “Are books being replaced by Kindle (and other electronic reading devices)?”   Now, in the interest of full disclosure here, I have to say that I have not done much reading on any of these devices, only having had one opportunity to read a complete book on a Kindle; I’ll talk about my experience in the sections about the devices.

My previous electronic reading was trying to read full manuscripts on the computer, and I always found myself tiring after a relatively short period of reading, even if the writing and subjects were good and interesting; this contrasts with my having no problem reading 6 hours at a stretch, pausing only to pick up a new book when I finish the current read.  My one experience showed me that the new Kindle screen is much easier on the eyes than a monitor screen, and that some of the issues like turning pages is smoother, but I definitely had a problem being able to skim and sample pages, or go back to check something from earlier in the book like I do often while reading.

The most important negative factor that I hear from customers is the most basic consideration, PRICE.  I hear variations on this: “The biggest gripe I have is that the Kindle can become a very expensive little habit if one reads a lot of books purchased from Amazon. Really, at $9+ a pop, it can get pretty expensive in a short while. Given that the publishing, warehousing, storage, etc. of these books must be many times less expensive than hardback or paperback editions, it seems that the books should cost a fraction of the current retail prices.”

Since our bookstore has the lowest cost for books for our customers as its first aim in our business model, starting out by buying a Kindle which costs $80 to $200 before you buy your first book seems to me like a big jump to make.  Then, I look at a sample book, “The Affair” by Lee Child, which costs $9.99 on Kindle.  We sell the paperback for $5, and if the customer has book credit, it cuts the cost to $1.50 + tax…oh, and the customer gets $2.50 in credit when they bring the book back.  Multiply this by the 10 to 20 books our average customer purchases on a visit with us, and the difference really stands out in stark contrast. However, it is also possible in many areas now, to download recent books at local libraries, which I think is great!

Other positives and negatives from customers are:  Most positive #1=convenience for travel; #2=being able to change the font size.

Other negatives include #2=fear of losing or damaging it; #3=they miss the feel of a book’ #4=eyes tire sooner more for many than they do with books; #4=difficulties with losing their place, or trying to go back and check something.

I certainly can see some great uses and times for an electronic reader, purchasing books for a trip for example, where it simplifies and lightens packing, but I am still a long way from seeing it work for me as a constant reader.

I would definitely like to hear and read your experience and opinions on electronic reading devices. Please send them to

We’ve Moved

November 4, 2011

Petaluma Paperbacks Has Moved!

From the eastside to the westside of Petaluma

You’ll find us at

800 Petaluma Blvd. South Suite D
Petaluma, California 94952

at K St, in the back of the building, formerly Bare Woods

(707) 776-0893

new location of Petaluma Paperbacks

We’re Open

Tuesday - Saturday
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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