Pros, Cons and Options for eBooks

Carrying a backpack full of books has already become a thing of the past for bookworms who’ve switched to eBook readers.

And if you’re able and willing to front the money for one of the devices, you may be able to save a good chunk of change opting for electronic files instead of old-fashioned hardcovers and paperbacks.

Pricing

Ebooks can cost more or less the same as what you’d pay for your average paperback, but they’re significantly cheaper than hardcover books. 

For example, an electronic version of The Da Vinci Code costs $9.99 on eBook.com and a paperback costs about the same. The hardcover version, on the other hand, costs about $25.

It’s also important to keep in mind that an eBook user effectively pays a $300 down payment before any books are even uploaded and read when they buy a device like a Kindle, so you may want to consider how much you currently spend on your home library and whether that upfront cost is justified.

Benefits and Shortcomings

If you can make the upfront investment, you’ll surely save bookshelf space, and if you’re the type to read several books at a time, you won’t have lug bulky books around.  But if you only read books occasionally, and flip back and forth through pages, an electronic version may not be right for you and may not pay off in the end. 

Plus, when you have actual paper pages, there’s no concern that your battery might die, leaving you with a blank page.  What’s more, if you spill your coffee on your Kindle, you won’t be able to fix the problem by letting it sit on the radiator for a couple hours, as you would with a paperback.

Your Options

Amazon.com (Stock Quote: AMZN) reduced the price of its Kindle 2 eBook reader to $299 from $359, and the Sony (Stock Quote: SNE) ebook reader costs $279.99.

But best sellers at the Kindle store cost $9.99 while many of the books at the Sony eBook Store cost more than that.  (Sony does provide access to half a million free books through a deal with Google, however.)

Beyond the Web sites selling eBooks for owners of a specific reader, you can also buy books at eBooks.com and get certain books free at Project Guttenberg.

Related Stories:

The Hidden Costs of Amazon's Kindle

The Kindle 2: Nice, But Still Pricey

Zune Pass v. iTunes: Which Is a Better Value?

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