Is anything better value for money than a book?


I was pondering this recently when I finished a book that had taken me 2 months to read. I am not a prolific reader by any means, but I like to catch a few minutes each day and also have a tendency to read long-form articles that I have sent to my Kindle. The book in question cost £0.99 and was splendid which made me wonder if anything can touch a book for value over time.

Films can be amazing and can of course be watched over and over, but they do not come close when it comes to value. Almost always, you pay your £10 and 2 hours later you are done.

Music is slightly different in that if you find what you consider to be an amazing album, it could live with you forever. There are some albums by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Queen and others that are unbelievable value when I consider how many times I have played them and how much joy they have brought. Still, books are one step ahead for me.

Games can be great fun and offer tons of longevity in the right hands, but with many costing +£50 it is quite possible that a few will prove to be real stinkers and terrible value.

For me, a humble book in paper or digital form still represents amazing value for money and with the ability to randomly take a punt on books that cost almost nothing it will likely remain that way.

I showed the above to the WhatsApp group and got some alternative views-

For me it’s definitely music. I have music that I have had since I was young, and I still enjoy going back to. There are very few books I read over and over. Some films and series I like going back to as well. I’m not the one to talk to about games. But a serious gamer may have a different point of view. My son would probably say he gets his moneys worth if we left him to it. I suppose apps aren’t media as such. I guess because all the above are consumed through my phone, I almost feel that investing in a good app is about as important to me as the media is makes or consumes. I find it incredible when people moan over the price of a decent app you’re likely to use daily, while they’re drinking a beer for the same price which only lasts them a moment. Vincent.

Books for me before music. Sami.

And then Kirk appeared-

you mentioned “value for money” (a U.K.-ism I’ve always been fond of) but as a guy who makes an ok living but always feels pressed for time, for me it’s “value for time”

Movies vs Books is a good example; my current policy is if a respectable movie has been made of a book, go for that instead, because there are SO MANY great books that will never be condensed that way, and so the crux of a 20 hour book can be imbibed in 2 hours – sure something will be lost, but sometimes things will actually also be gained and hey- more time for different books!

(admittedly I’m a little tone deaf to the things some folks get out of a many good hefty reads – sweeping arc and character development. So I sometime judge books on a “cool ideas presented divided by number of pages to get there “)

Similarly with games- as a kid one might be “alright! this game gives me 40 hours” and a time-pressed adult might say “oh no this game takes 40 hours”- the question will be a subjective evaluation of how much of that is quality time

The thing about music- and I have strong opinions here including a “why do people like streaming anyway”- is that so often it’s a complementary activity. I’d guess far fewer people “just” listen to music like they might’ve in the LP era- (come to think of it streaming might be more like having a radio on in the background vs sitting down
and putting on a record…) Instead it provides the backing soundtrack for other activities in their lives.

Re: Vince’s point on the stinginess of people for apps vs say a pint or a cuppa- true, and it’s sad. Don’t know if it’s the race to the bottom for 99 cent Apps that set the tone, or the virtual nature of them?

a lot is the expectation. An AAA console games costs 50 or so. An AAA book, even virtual, costs 10 give or take (my gut feel is dollars or pounds the numbers work either way) Apps cost 1 or 2 and if the app author doesn’t like it there’s a dozen others in the appstore.

Which is why Nintendo swung hard at 10…

but a counterpoint; from the Apple fanboy perspective, maybe Apple has damaged the market by not offering try before you buy. See, a pint or cuppa rarely lets you down, it’s a predictable pleasure, but apps are all over the place for value. Combine that with the LIM point about how many of us have found his or her comfortable set of apps…

(sorry for going on a bit- interesting topic!)

related self link: is the media i consumed in 2016- don’t know if any of you log this stuff. I used to average ten games a year, last year was 1…

This is what can happen on the LIM WhatsApp group- feel free to join.

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