Long before the Kindle, iPad, Nook, etc., I started reading e-books (reading ‘electronically’) with what I think was the first quality device, a Sony Reader. For reasons not worth detailing, I moved on to the Kindle, and now I use the iPad for virtually all of my e-reading.

Probably about 70% of my reading is now on an e-reader. But what I want to highlight in this post is not the reason(s) why I am an advocate, but rather how it is now possible to use e-books and still support your local independent bookstore.

One of the concerns I always had about e-books was that I felt I was abandoning Politics and Prose, our local, wonderful independent bookstore that has grown from a small, one room store to one of the truly unique places in Washington, DC for folks interested in books, authors, and everything connected to them.

Yesterday, I took my iPad to P & P, and in about 20 minutes, I learned how to order books through P & P so that they would benefit from what I pay for my e-books (they get 40% of the cost of the e-book).

It is easy to do, and the e-books have all the advantages, all the special effects that the ones ordered through Amazon and/or Apple (iTunes) have. You can adjust the size of the print, change the type face, know how much you’ve read, how much is left to read, etc.

Politics and Prose and other independent bookstores (Powells in Portland, for example) use Google Books as their way of getting e-books to you. The prices on the books I’ve compared are similar to those from Amazon and Apple/iTunes. If you live outside of DC, there is no tax, just as there is no tax on the e-books from Amazon or Apple/iTunes.

If you do live in DC and purchase an e-book through P & P, you are taxed on the price of the e-book. But at least that tax stays in the community as do the jobs and profits at P & P. (Tho I must say, I did not see the tax added on to the one book I purchased yesterday.)

For me it seems a no brainer, just a way to support my local independent bookstore and to continue to read e-books.

The one downer is that if you use a Kindle, you cannot use Google Books and therefore are restricted to Amazon. That means that many of you can’t buy your books through P & P or your local independent bookstore. And that’s a bummer.

But the rest of you can.

If you go to Politics-Prose.com, you can read about how P & P handles e-books, and for some of you, you wouldn’t even have to go to the store. The instructions are right there for you to follow.

Being a bit computer challenged, and probably a touch lazy, I chose to go to the store to learn how to do it. As with most of my experiences at P & P, my time spent learning how to use their e-book service was terrific – knowledgeable and patient staff who were appreciative of my wanting to use this way to purchase books.

And now I don’t feel quite so guilty about abandoning one of the wonderful benefits of living in DC.

If you live here and read e-books, check out the website or take your e-reader in for a ‘lesson.’ If you live outside of the area, you can still order your books through P & P or do so through your local independent bookstore, assuming they have the service.

(Full Disclosure: I do not, nor does anyone in my immediate or extended family, work for P & P, nor do I benefit in any way from the above post, except, of course, that this wonderful store has a better chance of continuing to exist in this new world of e-books if folks purchase through them rather than outside of the community.)