I was curious to see how having a Kindle might make a real difference in my life, so spent an hour this weekend looking at my 2007 Amazon purchase history, checking out which titles were available on the Kindle and which weren’t, pricing differences, etc. Doesn’t count the books I bought in airports or, you know, in real life instead of on the web.
Anyway, here’s what I found: of the 58 books I bought from Amazon, 39 (67%) are available in Kindle while 19 (33%) aren’t. For fiction, it’s 16/23 (70%), and for non-fiction it’s 23/35 (65%).
Overall, I spent $837.34 on books from Amazon in 2007 — of the books that were available on Kindle, I spent $578.14, compared to Kindle-pricing of $380.01, for a savings of $198.13. (When you include the price of the hardware at $400, means it’ll take 2 years to pay for itself.)
But here’s the kicker: of the 23,034 pages of books I purchased last year, 14,871 (64%) could have come to me as electrons instead of dead trees. Now, I’m not being naive — I don’t have the tools to do some sort of eco-analysis on the total energy footprint of the Kindle and servers compared to the relatively-more-efficient-and-developed printing industry. But I do know that there are several 500+ page books that I’m just not reading because they’re too big to drag around. Halberstam’s The Coldest Winter, for example, or Winik’s The Great Upheaval, or Follett’s World Without End. And I think with a Kindle, I would start reading them all.
[disclaimer: there’s some pricing and page count funkiness because of the timing of the analysis, availability of paperbacks now versus hardbacks then, etc. also, i should note that the real-paper catalog on amazon doesn’t seem to be the same as the kindle catalog — they’ve got lots of sync work to do there. titles were different, searching was different, etc.]
And I’ll note also that of the 58, I’ve loaned out probably a dozen this year to friends — something that’s impossible at the moment with the Kindle.
Anyway was an interesting exercise for me — I think that for someone who reads as much or more as I do, this’ll make a ton of sense. For others, I think waiting will make more sense.
Here’s an image of the spreadsheet if you’re interested…fiction at the top, non-fiction at the bottom; available titles in green, unavailable in red.