A few years back I came across a few accounts here and there about those little devices called e-readers. Most of you will know them by their brand name, the two most popular of which are the Kindle and the Nook.
I found a few folks online who used them, then I did a bit of research on the new-fangled things. My initial thoughts were that these might be neat little toys for computer-nerds, but they would never really catch on with the general public. Come on, who wants to be reading novels on a little screen? Who wants a supposed book that's nothing more than electrodes on a thin electronic device? Virtually no one is going to give up on the feel of a real book in their hands.
Then I joined the 21st century and got a cell phone. I had it for a couple of years before giving it up this winter for various reasons (cost and simply wanting to be left alone at times chief among those reasons). However, over the time I had the cell phone I found myself using it for more than simple telephone service. I gradually came to rely on the thing for monitoring e-mail. Then I started checking my Facebook account periodically.
Next thing you know I was using it to...gasp...read! Whenever I was stuck somewhere, maybe waiting to pick up one of my kids, or in an office waiting on an appointment, I'd whip it out and check the latest stories on ESPN.com or Fox Sports. If a major news event broke and I wasn't around a computer or television, the old cell phone would do.
So much for not wanting to read on a little screen, huh?
Still, that's a far cry from reading a book on an electronic device, right? Besides, while my family isn't exactly destitute, with five kids in the household we watch our pennies. A Kindle was simply a luxury we couldn't afford.
Just before Christmas I entered a contest being sponsored by writer Michelle Garren Flye and the prize was the winner's choice of a Kindle or Nook. Guess what? I won! I received the Kindle about six weeks ago. In the time since my wife has probably downloaded and read 50 or more novels (she is a voracious reader). My youngest, a 10-year-old, loves downloading and playing games, and she does a bit of reading on the Kindle (there is, however, a dearth of good, modern children's work in e-books.) I've even come to enjoy reading on the Kindle. Since owning it, I've read about four paperback novels, two novels on Kindle, and two non-fiction books on Kindle (I'm a sloooooow reader with a short attention span).
The other night my wife was lying in bed, reading as she normally does before drifting off to sleep. She put down this big old honkin' hardback and picked up the Kindle, then looked at me. “Reading in bed with this is just so much easier,” she said, holding up the Kindle. Then she picked up the hardback. “Reading this big thing is just so awkward.”
So much for the feel of a real book in your hands.
It's no secret, or at least I try not to make it a secret, that I'm now turning my attention from attempting to break into traditional publishing (paperback and hardbacks) to e-publishing. Sure, I'll continue to submit short stories to small press publications, but even many of those have gone to pdf and online formats.
For my novels and other longer works I'm going with e-pub. While I've been kicking around the idea for nearly a year, it wasn't until holding a Kindle in my own little hands, seeing how convenient and easy it is to use, that I've been able to fully grasp onto the idea.
Truth be told, despite my earlier objections (and suffering from a bit of techno-phobia), as a reader I think I now prefer the Kindle to paper.
P.S. Despite my burgeoning love affair with e-readers, I still like paper, so don't forget you can be entered into a drawing for a free trade paperback copy of either the Stoker-nominated Horror Library Vol. 3 anthology by Cutting Block Press or the recently released Night Terrors 2 published by Blood Bound Books. I have a story in each collection, along side some great writers. Remember, in order to enter into the drawing you must join my blog as a follower AND leave a comment on one of my blogs this month. You have to do BOTH. If you've joined the site prior to the start of this contest, simply leaving a comment will enter you.