My husband bought me a Nook from Barnes and Noble way back in November. Before I took the e-reader plunge, I had been concerned primarily with how the purchase of an e-reader would affect print distribution. Ah, how quaint November seems now.
On the positive end, I read more often. I love having so many titles at my fingertips. I love powering up and picking up where I left off on any book in my library at any time. On the negative end, I miss giving friends titles I enjoyed and introducing them to new authors. I missed it so much that, when I’m fairly certain a book is going to be a great read, I buy the hard copy just so I can give it away. If it’s a true keeper, I buy both.
But the inability to share is not the primary reason my love affair with the Nook is cooling. What is the primary reason? I’m frustrated because I cannot sink into my couch and simply browse like I could in the Barnes and Noble Romance section. In the bookstore, I would make my way to the romance section and quickly scan the books. Name and Title font was often a quick way to reveal the sub-genre that intrigues me most: historical romance. After determining that I book was in the genre I like, I’d glance at the publisher’s logo. All publishers have a type of book they tend to promote, and over the years, I’d come to trust a few publishers to print books that meshed with my tastes. If it was a publisher I trusted, I’d remove the book for a physical check.
To buy or not to buy, that was the question. Some combination of author familiarity, author quotes/recommendation, cover blurb and, finally, the excerpt usually found in the first few pages would spur me make my decision. It was a process I developed quite sub-consciously over years and years of being a devoted romance fan. It does not translate well to the Nook.
On the Nook, like in the bookstores, Barnes and Noble dumps all romance together–there is no sub-category for paranormal, historical or contemporary. Unlike in the bookstores, it’s impossible to quickly scan the 8,000 or so romance titles for the genre you love. I have tried searching by genre, but that will result in list of titles I read years ago, some back in the aught-year dark ages when print reigned supreme. There is no option to sort the search by release date or popularity or publisher. In fact, there’s no way to search by publisher at all.
I hadn’t wanted to drift away from my particular habit of buying based primarily on publisher branding, because it’s worked well for me in the past. *sigh* I do marvel that publishers have not put pressure on e-tailers to have a search-by-publisher option. Change is the only constant, and so I’ll simply have to adjust. I will have to re-think my whole purchase process, or hope the power-welders over at Barnes and Noble software development make some adjustments. So far, I’ve simply stopped browsing and instead rely on recommendations on twitter and reviews on goodreads. I miss the thrill of the find, however.
As a writer, I’m thrilled self-publishing has become a viable option. As a reader, I’m growing more and more hesitant to click buy if I don’t know the author and/or publisher. I don’t know how to reconcile those two opposing points of view.