Last week, Joanna wrote about giving up on the iBooks app. It generated quite a number of comments, but one in particular, from reader Michael W. Perry, caught my eye. He said:

“One final note. You’re starting to discover an issue that ebook retailers have been averting their eyes from. In the near future, ebook buyers are going to become upset when they realize that ebooks have a major headache, they’re scattered across two or more apps and most people have trouble remembering which book is where. Settling on one app is a poor answer. That app may not have the features you want or access to an ebook you want. It’s a bit like having several apartments and never being able to remember which has the shelves with a particular book you’re looking for.”

His comment made me think. Is this a real issue, or do readers just not care? Do they not worry about multiple reading apps, or do they just buy from one retailer? I decided to throw the question out on KindleKorner. I’ve been a member of the group for several years now, and I’ve found them to be a good cross-section of the e-reading public. There’s a mix of techies, technophobes and technophiles. I thought their opinions would give an indication of the thoughts of the e-reading public in general.

Here were some of their comments:


“If ebooks do go totally mainstream, where there are more readers of ebooks than DTBs, I am sure there will be tons of ways to organize them. Just look at how many apps there are for iPhones and Android phones, and Windows phones and whatever comes along next. I guess what I am trying to say is that people are resourceful. Just because one person doesn’t see an easy way to do it doesn’t mean that 1,000 others don’t see it as simple.”


“Reading on multiple devices is not an issue for me. I was reading on a
Kindle, Nook, and Kobo, but I bought an iPad Mini and installed the
Kindle, Nook, Books on Board, and Kobo apps. I buy books where they are
the cheapest, and more often than not read on the iPad.”


“I simply buy from Amazon. They have hundreds of books I would like to read, but will never finish in this lifetime. If there is a book I can’t live without, I can go to the library and take the book home, or buy the book from someone who sells it. 90% of my reading is done on my Kindle, and Amazon works for me.”


“I can barely read the books available on Amazon, much less go to another source for more! The only time I get an electronic book that’s not on Kindle is usually for a review or a freebie promotion from an author friend. Then I ask for a pdf version, and send the email to Amazon to convert it to kindle. I love Kindle!”


“I also get my ebooks from Amazon and read on my Kindle Keyboard. I may look
at publishers’ websites, but when I buy I just find it easier to buy from Amazon.”


“I buy almost exclusively on Amazon, too, for the Kindle. As far as I know,
the Kindle is the only ereader with TTS, (except for the iPhone and iPad),
and Amazon has a significantly larger and more extensive collection.”


“I just don’t buy books from sources I can’t remove the DRM from—in practice, this is just iTunes. Everything else gets DRM removed and stored in Calibre, where I can convert it to read on my Kindle (or anywhere else I might care to). In practice the large majority of my reading material is not bought at all, but published freely on sites such as fanfiction.net. The non-Amazon places I buy books from generally provide multiple formats for each title (O’Reilly, Baen).”

The response that seemed closest in agreement with Perry was this one, from Becca:

“This problem is why I use Calibre and the Apprentice Alf plugins, so I can have every book I buy in one format (Kindle), so I don’t have to remember which app opens which book. I can’t imagine anything more annoying.”

So I think Carl’s answer of, “I guess what I am trying to say is that people are resourceful,” is spot on. Many of the responders above have been reading e-books long enough to amass libraries in the thousands. If they haven’t seen it to be a problem, my theory right now is that this isn’t going to be a problem in the near future.

Thanks to all the folks on KindleKorner who contributed quotes!

Any of our readers have an opinion?