As I wait for my Amazon Kindle reader to arrive tomorrow, one thought occurred to me. Most of the discussion on the new gizmo from Amazon (see Techmeme) is centered on how the Kindle will (or will not) finally get the long-awaited e-book market going. Or if it'll out iPod the iPod in the book/magazine category.
But the question that occurred to me was the following. How might the Kindle impact my book-buying habits over the next 12 months? I'm talking about the real, old-fashioned, physical books.
By way of background, I've been a book geek ever since I could read a few decades ago. And my wife some times thinks I buy books like Imelda Marcos collected shoes.
And I've been buying most of my books online (primarily through Amazon), since Jeff Bezos got the whole buying books online thing going over a decade ago.
Assuming any book title I want over the next 12 months is available in Kindle format (a big assumption given that the Kindle library is starting at a relatively modest 80,000 titles), I'm probably better off buying in e-book form rather than the physical book.
As an aside, the Amazon Kindle collection is already greater than alternatives out there, especially Sony's Reader ebook store.
For one thing, it'll likely be cheaper than the real thing, given that Amazon is subsidizing Kindle titles for a while (most best-sellers are $9.99).
But even if they weren't, the titles will be more convenient to own in electronic form, especially since they're sharable on multiple Kindles between my wife and myself.
And they'll always be available for re-download on Amazon if I lose or damage the Kindle (I misplace physical books sometimes).
Not to mention I'll be able to take notes in the margins on the Kindle (something I do a lot with physical books), and access/share these notes with others.
Anecdotally, I'd already started to buy ebooks over the real thing for my Sony Reader when I had a choice in my titles of interest.
So it'll be interesting to see if I end up with more e-books than real books over the next year given the broader and deeper Amazon Kindle initiative. I'll be watching for that tipping point, if it comes.