Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eating my words - - - again

There's a lot of discussion going on about e-Books. Its been an on-going dialogue for awhile now, and we've all heard every single theory regarding will it, or will it not, destroy traditional publishing as we know it.

I have no idea.  But I'm more on the side of, no, I don't think it will.

We've also heard the discussions about how e-Books may be responsible for the demise of so many of our independent bookstores. Is that true?

Again, I have no idea.  But, again, I'm leaning towards no - not e-Books alone, at any rate.

I've tried to stay away from this discussion for a couple of reasons - mainly because all the arguments, pro and con, have been pretty well all laid out already.  And although I may not have too many original thoughts all on my own, I do have some opinions on all this based on what I read and what I hear others say.  As I'm fond of reminding people, just because our thoughts and feelings and ideologies may differ, it doesn't make some of us right, and some of us wrong. It does make us different. Viva La Difference - Right?!

So, here's a little about what I think and how I feel about some of these things that are being discussed at length right now.

I love and applaud independent bookstores. One of my favorite things to do is just hang out and browse around bookstores. I seek them out when Donald and I are on vacation. It makes me sad to hear of one I might have visited and been quite fond of closing. My own limited experience leads me to think the economy may have a lot to do with the closings. But - and I gotta say this - some of the closings may be self-inflicted.

There are bookstores who just seem to do everything right. They're a joy to visit, and a joy to feel as though you're contributing to their well-being by talking them up and by spending your hard-earned money there. Then there are those that truly seem more concerned about following you around the store to sell you another pasty or another cup of coffee. Don't get me wrong - I love the idea of pastries and coffee in bookstores. But what I'd like even more is this - How 'bout while I'm enjoying these goodies, and ask the waitperson sales associate about a particular book or author not be met with a totally blank stare and a reluctance to look it up on their computer.  I adore the smart, book loving people I meet in most bookstores, but some bookstores are not hiring smart, book loving people. I'm sorry, they're just not.

I especially love attending bookstore events featuring my favorite authors doing signings. What is more fun for a reader? (Unless it's being able to attend one of the conventions and being able to see, and possibly meet, a whole bunch of your favorite authors in one huge wonderful place!)

I was one of those people who initially "poo-poo'd" e-Readers and e-Books. They just weren't of interest to me and weren't "my thing." Although, I do recall saying that I agreed with a certain person who wrote in their blog about a factor I had not thought of.  And that's for those of us who love and want (possibly even need) to be surrounded by books, but who live in a smaller apartment or house or facility where there simply isn't enough room to have a lot of our books around us.  What, then, makes more sense than an e-Reader?  It's a consideration for those of us who face that possibility of what do we do when we move into that old folks' home.  Which also brings up another point - I'm especially impressed with the feature that allows you to not only enlarge the font, but change it to one you find more appealing and easier to read.

One of the first books I downloaded is the book I will always hold in my heart as my very favorite all time book ever. Ann Fairbairn's FIVE SMOOTH STONES. As soon as I found it was available as an eBook, I downloaded it. It was first published in 1966, went out of print. Was published again by a different publisher and went out of print again. It was published yet again fairly recently by a third publisher. I never ever want to not have this book in my life, so I keep buying copies of it and now have an electronic copy too.  Obsessive about FIVE SMOOTH STONES?  Big sigh, 'fraid so.

So, to me, the e-Readers have their own spot in a reader's life. Yes, I was one of those who said an e-Reader was of no interest. And yes, once again, I've eaten my words.

I'm a tickled pink owner of an iPad, on which I've downloaded the Kindle app and the Barnes & Noble app, in addition to the iPad iBooks app. 

One of the things I love - a spot an e-Reader fills for me, is being able catch up on some writers' back lists.

I'm constantly discovering "new to me" writers.  Many of whom have been around for quite awhile. Some of those writers have back lists which include out of print books, which are, or probably  will eventually, show up as e-Books. I'm not as willing (nor am I as able) to spend $30 on a hardback book for an author I'm not familiar with (even though I might be quite intrigued and interested in their books) as I am for an author that I'm quite loyal to.

The other reason I have one is 'cause it's fun. I love it. I'm a fan of today's technology - almost as much as I love my books, I love technology. So there. I'm guilty of enjoying my little gadgets (almost as much as my friend Molly Weston who was here recently). My iPad is my newest little buddy - don't even think about trying to separate us. It was a gift and one that keeps on giving.

Do I want to do my part for books, writers and independent bookstores? You bet I do. I do what I can. And I do it as often as I can. However, financially is not always one of the ways I'm going to be able to do as much as I would like. And frankly, I don't like being made to feel like I might be one of the bad guys because I don't have unlimited funds to spend to do my part in keeping any portion of the book industry, which I love, afloat - be they writer, publisher, or bookstore.

When a book tickles my fancy - I squeal about it and hope that word of mouth helps. Along with the money I spent on it.

When a bookstore tickles my fancy - I squeal about it and hope that word of mouth helps. Along with the money I've spent there.

Like most readers who are lovers of books - - - I do what I can.  

How 'bout you guys? Are any of you recent converts to e-Readers and e-Books? Or, do you reside in the other camp  and not care for e-Readers and e-Books? I'm interested in hearing thoughts and opinons about all this, please.


Vicki Lane said...

I'm definitely intrigued by the Kindle but till I work my way through the stacks of TBRs, I can't justify the purchase. But a book's a book, no matter how you read it -- or if you listen to it.

That said, our book stores (the friendly, knowledgeable ones) are well worth supporting.

Sarah Shaber said...

I am learning to use my Nook, and I love it! LIke you, I'm using it to download old favorites and to borrow ebooks from my Library
And I'm putting dictionaries and thesauri on it so I don't have to haul those around when I go outside my office to right
I still expect to buy the same number of physical books from the best bookstore in the world, Quail Ridge Books, but ereaders will have a place in the book universe, no question.

le0pard13 said...

My wife has an iPad, and she loves it! So much so, I don't really get a chance to play with it. She's always doing something on it. I think these devices are here to stay, and they are going to have impact on the book readers. How much so, and in what ways, are still to be discovered, though. That's especially apparent so for me, at the moment ;-). Thanks, Kaye.

Nancy P said...

I was one of those who thought she could never read a book on a screen, and now I love using my (free) Kindle app on my laptop.

I'm reading and buying more books than I have in years, and I think it's the "fault" of the ebooks. Those prices and the temptation of impulse buying are proving irresistible to me. I'm buying books as ebooks that I would never have bought as hardcovers and maybe not even as paperbacks. So ebooks are getting me to sample new authors at 9.99 that I wouldn't have at $25 or $14.

I also suspect I, personally, am selling more because of ebooks sales.

And, as you say, it's such a joy to be able to adjust the print size.

So far, I love this new ebookworld.

Nancy P(ickard)

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Ah, words can be yummy when you eat them. I am still a hold out, but I found myself on a road trip without a book (finished the one I was reading ahead of schedule!) and panicked. I'll be making the jump. I imagine I'll still have stacks of books around, love that feeling of a house with books.

As an author, I think these e-books have boosted sales and made it easy for people to try new books, series and take a chance on an author.

Like radio, televsion, movies and video - lots of room to entertain and educate ourselves.

Charlotte Adams mysteries

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Hi, Everyone!

Thanks for stopping by.

Vicki - I'm not much for listening to books. My mind seems to wander and I realize I've drifted off to never never land and have to start over.

Sarah - Great Idea about putting your dictionaries and thesauri on it!! (How does Sam like his iPad?) And yep - Quail Ridge gets my vote as a GREAT bookstore also. That's a bookstore that knows what it's doing!

Hi le0pard!!! "maybe" - just maybe you'll get your very own iPad one of these days. Actually - hold out till the next generation, I can't wait to hear what will be added, but I've heard rumors about a camera.

Nancy - Hi!!! You're not the first author I've heard say this. I am tickled pink that so many of you are finding eBooks to be such a good thing for your work. I'm starting to download books by writers I've not tried before and think it's pretty wonderful that it's working out to be such a win/win situation for readers and writers.

MJ - HEY! I think you're exactly right. We may load up our e-Readers, but most of us will always want to be surrounded by "real" books also. Lots of 'em.

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

I got my Kindle as a Christmas gift after a difficult year. As someone who travels a lot, it just got to be ridiculous to take all of the books with me that I needed to have just in case I ran out of reading material and, like Mary Jane, would panic. I'll never stop buying books, I'm addicted, and a sucker for a cute cover, but my Kindle is like my camera, laptop, and iPod Touch, it goes everywhere with me and I'm comforted by its presence.