Monday, July 25, 2011
Could the Ebook Revolution Lead to Buyer Confusion?
Today I want to talk about a reaction I get to a certain type of shopping situation. I'm wondering if others have the same reaction and if this reaction could apply to the ebook marketplace. Let me explain.
When I go to a large street market in another country or a large flea market or farmer's market in the US, I'm confronted with an overwhelming sea of choices. In a crowded and noisy environment, there are multiple vendors selling the same thing. Is vendor A's broccoli really any different from vendor B's? And there's usually a huge variety of things for sale, from broccoli to beef, batik to baskets, bracelets to blouses, bike tires to buckets, you get the idea.
In such markets, especially in a third world countries, it's guaranteed that a lot of the merchandise will be cheaply made and of poor quality. But I'm not an expert buyer in all of those categories of merchandise. I don't know what distinguishes a poorly made basket or blouse from an expertly made one. So, not only do I feel overwhelmed by the choices, I feel like I'm almost guaranteed to make a bad one.
What's my typical reaction? Often I just give up and walk away. The stress of decision-making is too great, and the chance for reward is too small to be worth the stress. I close my purse, avert my eyes from the vendors clamoring for my attention, and escape. Do you ever feel the same way?
Now, let's look at the electronic book marketplace. Again, there's an enormous variety of choices, and again a lot of the books are of poor quality. Making a good choice and feeling like you're not wasting your money can be just as overwhelming. I must admit that I've yet to test the waters, that instead I read only paper books and only those that are recommended to me by readers (or writers) whose judgement I trust.
What about you? Are you closing your purse and walking away, too? Or have you found a way to wade through the morass and find the true bargains, the electronic book purchases that you will savor for years to come?