A recent visit to Barnes & Noble has me thinking.
I had a $25 gift card, and there were a couple books I really wanted to get: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers. The books had just come out, so they were only available in hardcover. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money, so I went back and forth between the two. The more I deliberated, the more irritated I became.
Did I really need to pay $10 more for a hardcover book? If they were both in paperback, I could have bought both books for about $5 more than the cost of just one of the hardcovers.
Then I had to decide if I should just find two other paperbacks and wait for BR and AHFTK to come out in paperback. But that takes months. I could get them from the library, but there's usually a wait for new releases from guys like Walter and Eggers. I was jonesing to read them now. I eventually chose to buy Beautiful Ruins (amazing book by the way-check it out), but I left the store unsatisfied.
If I knew the extra money was going directly to the author, I would be willing to continue buying hardcovers. I'm pretty sure authors don't see much of that extra $10, so then it comes down to what's cheapest for me. Of course, ebooks are often the cheapest way to go, and while I've done a few books on my phone, I'm not sure I'm ready for a full ebook immersion.
I still want to have actual books, especially the books of my favorite writers. Paperbacks aren't so bad. The cover art is still there, and it's not like I'm going to read a book so many times the binding won't hold up. As far as books I can't wait for, well, after this experience, I'm getting pretty comfortable with the idea of buying ebooks on itunes.
I just can't see paying $25 for a new release. Not anymore.
Are your reading habits changing because of economics?