Sunday, April 11, 2010

Are you kidding me?

The other day my father in law came over and said to me, "I've got to show you my newest toy. It's amazing! I can't believe no one thought of this sooner!"

What was it you ask? Something to make children clean up after themselves? An automatic dinner maker? A robot who will do laundry?

No, it was a Kindle.

Now, I agree that Kindles are amazing, wonderful inventions, but HELLO! Ebooks have been around for ten years, thanks. Someone did think of it sooner, Sony, Mobi, and several others. . .

Very few people who are in my "regular/teacher/daughter/mother" world know I am also Arianna Hart (which explains why when Ari gets to play, anything can happen) so I couldn't burst out and say, "Yeah, I've heard of Kindle, they're line number three on my royalty statement." But boy did I want to!

When I started reading ebooks in 2002, NO ONE had heard of them. When I got published in 2003, ebook authors were low man on the totem pole. We weren't considered "real" authors because our books weren't "real" books. Even my accountant mocked me, "I just can't see cuddling up on the couch with a computer."

Bite me.

For years, courageous readers have enjoyed the benefits of ebooks and have had to explain over and over again what an ebook was. Now that Amazon has gotten into the game, suddenly ebooks are the cool kid in school.

A part of me, the part that reads the royalty statements, is thrilled that the masses have discovered ebooks. E publishers have heralded this day for years and years and it looks like our time has finally arrived. Huzzah, huzzah!

A little, teeny, tiny, non-conformist part of me is somewhat saddened by the mainstreaming of ebooks. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that others have discovered the joy that is instant book gratification, but it's kind of like when you discover a new band/author/artist/restaurant that you love but it/they haven't become hugely popular yet and then all of a sudden, you can no longer afford to go there because they are wildly famous now.

Okay, that doesn't make much sense, even to me. Ebooks aren't going to sell out like the latest New York Times bestseller in your local bookstore, but you get the point. I guess I just want a little credit given to all the loyal people who had to put up with, "what? you're reading a what book? Don't you miss having a real book in your hands?" for the last decade.

On the other hand, if you have only just discovered ebooks and you are reading me for the first time, welcome to the wonderful world of ebooks!!! ;-)


Lynn LaFleur said...

How funny that your father-in-law is just now discovering the Kindle! I've had mine for 13 months, and mine is the second generation one.

I remember buying my very first ebook from Ellora's Cave back in 2002. I read it on my desktop computer and didn't like that at all. That wasn't a comfortable way to read a book, in my opinion. So I started buying them in PDF format and printing them out. A waste of ink and paper, but I could curl up on my couch and get comfy while I read.

Now I curl up with my Kindle. I still love print books, but I'd rather buy an ebook over a print. I buy print from very special authors only (like the Sizzling Scribes!).


Penelope Marzec said...

My first book, Sea Of Hope, was published as an e-book in 2001 when nobody knew what an e-book was. I had a Rocket e-book reader, which I loved. I sold it on eBay and now have an eBookwise, which I also love. I like the backlight because I can read in the dark. :^)

I buy e-books because they cost less, though I still read paper books, too.

A story is a story. Reading is fun.