Can Kindle Save You Cash?

Yesterday Barnes & Noble announced its new, friendlier electronic book reader, the "Nook," to compete with Amazon's wildly popular "Kindle." Both gadgets hover around $250, but the Nook has a leg-up since it allows you to hook a friend up by lending books - albiet only for two weeks - but still more true to a traditional book experience.

Now that there's another serious competitor in the market and e-book technology is on the rise, maybe it's time to rethink those cumbersome bookshelves, people.

Think about it: Despite the hefty $250 price tag, the new e-readers might still save you some cash, not to mention a pulled muscle from moving boxes of books into your next apartment.

So what's the true cost of a traditional library vs. an e-reader? We did a little math ...

Old-School
Library
Lets say you have a reasonably decent, 240-book library with:

  • Ikea's Billy Bookcase, at right, for $60. The bookshelf measures 31.5" x 11" x 79.5", which would accommodate approximately 40 books per shelf.
  • 30 percent hardcovers at an average price of $18 = $1,296
  • 70 percent paperbacks at $8 each = $1,344

Total = $2,700


Compact E-brary

Now lets say you've gotten rid of your dusty books (maybe you've sold them through Amazon) and you've gone electric with:

  • a Kindle 2, also just released this week, goes for $279
  • most books, including new releases and some best-sellers cost $10 = $2,400

Total = $2679


The Verdict
The e-reader slips just $21 under that of the traditional library. So not much of a price difference but the space-savings, de-cluttering and ease-of-moving it can offer may be enough. But of course, if you love curling up with a book and think you'll miss turning pages, you might still want to wait 'til prices drop even further and you're dragged by practicality and peer pressure into the new dimension.

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