I have talked to some people recently who hate and distrust my Kindle (Writer Friend, usually in favour of the written word in any form, eyed it suspiciously on first meeting it as though it were a large growling dog. It took them a while to learn to get on).
I've heard that Kindles and their ilk are killing 'real books' (I have read tons of books on the Kindle at this point and the only one that felt like a fake book was, well, my own). I've heard that as a writer, I shouldn't own one because I should want 'real books' to survive.
My usual answer to this is 'I have bought over 100 books this year, for my Kindle, and I've only had it for seven months. How many have you bought?' If the 'but they're not real books!' argument continues, I tend to say 'This year I've managed to give royalties to more authors than I ever have before. And they get a higher royalty rate from my purchases than yours. I don't see how this is a problem?'
Depending on whether or not I'm doing my Scary Voice, most people back off at this point. You should never mess with a short girl who likes books - she will have honed her sarcasm skills.
But there is one thing I feel bad about, and that is bookshops. I love bookshops, and I am very aware that the money I have spent on books this year has benefited authors and publishing houses. But not bookshops.
I don't believe print books will die anytime soon. There are far too many well-read and intelligent late adopters of technology. I live in a country that doesn't have universal broadband availability yet (#firstworldproblems), which will no doubt affect uptake as buying books online is a headache with slow speeds.
That said, I am concerned that, as a young city-dweller, bookshops may die out in my own environment soon. This year, Dublin lost Waterstones. Who knows who it will be next year?
So what is a broke, Kindle-loving bookshop enthusiast to do?
Well, my mother's birthday is next month. I'm buying her a book. And for the dreaded C-word of which we do not speak, I usually buy books for at least a couple of relatives. This year, I'll be making an effort to buy as many books as I can (there are no Kindle/Nook/iPad owners on my gift list - well, there is one iPad-owning uncle but he prefers print books).
Have your book-buying habits changed? Do you make an effort to buy any kind of book (new releases, special editions, etc) to support the retailer or the industry?