YEARS AGO WHEN I WOULD TRAVEL, I would load up my suitcase with five or six books. But in these days of e-readers and the extra cost of checking baggage (to say nothing of the additional charges for a bag weighing more than 50 pounds--those hardcovers add up!), lugging those books just doesn't make as much sense. Though I prefer reading a novel on paper, I love the alternative of bringing my e-reader on the plane or down to the beach.
But this presents a dilemma at the bookstore. Am I buying this book for reading at home? Or will I want to take the electronic version with me because I will be traveling and thus should wait to purchase that version from my computer? Suddenly my books have to be one or the other. What I want, of course, is to be able to buy both versions at once so that I have some flexibility. Even better, then I have a beautiful hardcover book, no matter what.
Access to the digital version when purchasing hardcover books would also allow me to support my local bookstores more instead of having to visit a website or an app store to purchase that electronic copy. Many record companies have taken this approach: they include a voucher to download MP3 audio files upon the purchase of a vinyl record from a record store. That way, you get the hard copy--to listen to, to hold, to have as a keepsake--as well as the digital copy for the time you are on the go.
Sadly, it will be a long time before mainstream publishers are able to support this effort. Yet I am so happy that the...