17 December 2009

eBooks, Gift Cards & B&N

Our bookshelves are bursting with books because the whole family loves books. So earlier this year I decided to purchase most of my books in the electronic version. And I'm glad I did ...
  • They take up less space - just some bytes on our hard drives.
  • They cost less - usually less than the paperback price.
  • They are easy to cart around - I keep mine on my iPhone or the Kindle. (Not all ebooks are compatible with the Kindle, like those purchased from Barnes and Noble.)
  • They can be purchased anytime and anywhere (when using the iPhone and Kindle.)
However, my ebook purchasing experience is limited as I've purchased ebooks mostly from Amazon. Generally, I'm satisfied with the overall experience. It was easy to set up the devices for document delivery and purchasing books is WAY to easy. I haven't received any Amazon gift cards, so I assume  they allow gift cards to be used toward ebook purchases. (I couldn't find anything on the website to indicate they didn't.)

As of a few days ago Barnes and Noble now allows users to use gift cards to purchase ebooks. I made my first B&N purchases today from a gift card and loaded them on my iPhone. (For those curious, I performed the experiment with L. Viehl's Darkyn Series #1, 2, and 3.)

My observations about the B&N experience:
    + easy to add gift cards to account
    + easy purchasing process
    + ebook wishlist is available to queue books for future purchases (added rest of Darkyn books)
    - needed credit card listed on account to unlock book on the iPhone
    - it took a while to view updated balance on gift card
    * books can be read at the computer (I don't intend on trying this feature out.)
Overall, a decent experience.

Most of our books, both paper and electronic, are purchased through Amazon because of the low price, ease and cost of delivery (we are Prime users). And I can't see a reason why to change.

And before anyone says that there are lots of other ebook sites and applications, I know. I have seven different ebook reading apps on my iPhone; I've downloaded lots of books from them too. However, most of my friends and family haven't heard of these sites or applications.

So, should I receive gift cards from B&N in the future, I'm glad to know I can use them to purchase ebooks for my iPhone. On the flip side, I can give gift certificates to my friends and family that are readers and they have a choice in format. (Even if they are DRM'd files, that's a post for another day.)

And now you know too.


Alfonso said...

Call me old fashioned. I still prefer paper. It is a pain to move it all.

The Kindle works well enough. And I am starting to like listening to audio books, though I often have to re-hear them several times to get it all.

Alfonso said...

I meant it is a pain to move it all if you have 50 boxes of books...

Anne Velosa said...

I save audiobooks for my favorite books, ones that I've read multiple times, so I can get the story without having to sit and read.