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I don’t think I’m an “avid” reader, but I guess I enjoy leisurely reading more than the average Joe. As a big fan of e-readers (Nook Simple Touch), I have done some research on the price of e-books vs. paperbacks. A big argument is that the e-book should be less expensive than a printed book, since you aren’t paying for the paper and production costs. That may be so, but there are other costs that go into digitizing the book.

I have thought a LOT about this topic, and without getting too technical, as long as the price of an e-book is roughly the same as a paperback, I’m OK with it.  Here are a few reasons why:

Instant reading: whether it’s WiFi or 3G access, you could be anywhere (beach, mountain, coffee shop), purchase a book, and begin reading it in seconds. I think that is a nice feature that should come with a premium.
Compact/portable: You can fit 1,000+ books on one e-reader.  A thousand tangible books would take up a ton of space.  On a family vacation a few years ago before I had my Nook, I literally packed FOUR hardcover books of 400+ pages in my suitcase.  That’s some heavy stuff.
Lendable: You can still lend a book to someone, electronically, usually with a fixed period of time like one or two weeks.  Kinda nice that you know you’ll get the book back for once 😉

You’re still thinking about that ice cold frosty beverage, aren’t you?

When it comes to spending priorities, it’s easy to pick two things to compare the price and priority.  Example: E-books and beer.  As a self-proclaimed “beer snob,” I am typically enjoying something other than your typical light beer made in Milwaukee or St. Louis, both to remain nameless.  Often, the beers I like will cost $5+ in a local establishment.  How long does it last?  Maybe 20 minutes? 30?  An hour if I’m enjoying it with a meal?  After that time, the beer is gone.  Never to be enjoyed again.  I could buy another beer, sure, but that’s another $5.

Here’s my point.  Many e-books I’ve read are in the $8-12 range, roughly the cost of two beers.  I’m not a fast reader, so a book may take me 5-8 hours to read.  There are a few books that I’ve read twice.  If I wanted to, I could read them ten times, and not have to buy it again.

Slight ulterior motive with this post…Why did I write about this?  When it comes to insurance, particularly life insurance which is somewhat “optional” (e.g., auto insurance required by law, or homeowners insurance required by a lender), I will occasionally compare it to cable TV.  Many people pay $100+/month for cable, yet spend much less, if anything, on life insurance to protect their family.  Is cable TV more important than protecting your family?