Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wake up and smell the circuitry

I've agonized about it for years. I've considered my options, weighed the pros and cons. Tried to ignore the issue, hoped it would go away. But I finally had to face my demons head-on. I decided to buy an e-book reader -- an Amazon Kindle.

For as long as I can remember, I've been enamored with new books: the sleekness of the dust jacket; the wisp of turning pages; the intoxicating scent of the binding glue. There's nothing like cracking the spine of a new tome and flipping through it, getting a peak of what's to come. And, as a new writer, I dream of the day when I can hold my own published book -- a paper book -- in my hands. I still want to see it on my bookshelf, on display at a bookstore, or hidden in the corner of the local library.

Now I'm fairly certain the print book will not die in my lifetime. But it will go the way of the compact disc. At some point in the not-too-distant future, the majority of books sold will be in electronic format. Ignoring that fact is like the music execs ignoring electronic music files. According to this article from the Wall Street Journal, e-books will change not only the way books are read, but the way they are written.

If I hope to take advantage of this new medium, I need to understand it; I need to experience it first hand. Plus, the Kindle is pretty damn cool. The most important feature of the Kindle (and the Sony Reader) is that it uses electronic-ink technology so the screen looks like a printed page. It's not backlit like a cellphone or computer screen, so it's easy on the eyes and can be read in bright sunlight just like a paper book. See a word you don't know? Just click on it and it gives you the definition. Want to know more about a topic in the book? Kindle will look it up on Wikipedia.

I think the uptake of e-books will actually help new writers. E-books are cheap, and they will only get cheaper. It's also easy to give them away for free. With a lower (or nonexistent) price point, a reader is more likely to take a chance on a new author, and this exposure will sell books -- including print books.

So I'm getting on the train. And I can only hope that someday people will be reading Double-blind on a Kindle.


  1. I AM FREAKING OUT WITH JEALOUSY. I WANT. SO BAD. AAAAAH! you have no idea, i've made strangers watch the kindle video ad on amazon. plus just about everyone i know. man! wow. enjoy!!!

  2. I can't wait to borrow it! I'm excited about the anonymity it gives. I no longer have to go to a store to buy romance novels. I can upload at home with no shame or judgement (except from you)!

  3. let us know what your pros/cons are...and if you would recommend it to others?

  4. Leafblower, Leafblower, where's this week's damn leafblower? I miss the early Tuesday posts.

    An impatient reader

  5. So...how has your first week with your Kindle been?

  6. Amy told me about this. Eek! I feel so old fashioned. I imagine I will spend my old age as a shut-in, surrounded by my only friends -the yellowing pages of my paper books and a dirty, outdated dictionary.
    Also: I like spying on what people are reading. Especially cute boys.