It has been six months since I've had my Kindle and thought I should post about my thoughts regarding eBooks and eReaders. I am so old school when it comes to books. I've been a book reader and collector since I was a kid. I didn't buy many books then but I did frequent the closest public library. I went to the library so much the librarians knew me by name. Why this love of books? So many of us share it, don't we? I'm surprised a cable channel hasn't come up with a show called "Book Hoarders". I'm not sure I'd be featured on it since I have been trying (translate: 'trying' means giving one away and coming home with two more, especially if they're on clearance!) to keep the numbers down. My bookshelves are full and have begun to sag a bit so for my last birthday I asked for an ereader.
What the eReader has done for me is made me a believer. Before I was very vocal about NOT getting one or having to give up paper books. I'm happy to say I love my Kindle, love the convenience it provides. I feel as if my library has become portable. I pop my Kindle in my bag instead of carrying one (or two or three) books. If I get bored reading something I can always peruse the other titles in my collection. If there's an author I'd like to check out I can always get a sample to read. I can highlight favorite passages and other things. As for reviewing books Netgalley has really enabled book bloggers equal opportunities to get a hold of digital galleys for reading and reviewing. Now that the Kindle problem has been resolved and I can read galleys once again on my ereader next month, I can save on postage by reducing the amount of titles we receive from online book tours.
The biggest plus my Kindle has afforded me is being able to read authors I might not necessarily have known about through the regular channels. Let's face it: getting published is HARD. It's very competitive and authors have to deal with a chain of people who are all subjective with their opinions. I know this from personal experience trying to get my own works out there. Some authors have not gone the route of the big publishing houses and have opted to either self-publish or go with a smaller, independent house (Smashwords is one site to frequent, CreateSpace is another). Whatever way they've taken essentially doesn't matter to me; all that really matters is the story. With digital books I've discovered Amanda Hocking (My Blood Approves series and Tryelle trilogy); Lauren Burd (Immortal); Tess Oliver (Camille and other titles); B.V. Larson (The Vampire's Image and others); Felicity Heaton who also writes as F.E. Heaton (Vampires Realm series and Her Angel series); Melanie Nilles (Starfire Angels and others); and Lori Pescatore (Human Blend--did anyone catch the commercial during the Saturday Night Live show with Linkin Park for a book website and this title was featured right in the middle of three books? I saw it and was so happy to see this book featured so prominently). This list could go on I've found so many. Free titles and reduced prices (99 cents, $1.99 a title) are bargains and I don't mind trying out someone new for these prices.
This week USA Today began listing self published authors on their Best-Selling Books database. Sitting at #16 is Amanda Hockings' Switched, right below Suzanne Collins, James Patterson and P.C. Cast. There was a time when many were apprehensive towards eBooks and authors who did not follow traditional paths to publication, but with the advent and growing popularity of eReaders I, too, have changed my opinions. I believe eReaders and eBooks are here to stay and yes, some bookstores and publishers will feel the impact (as many already have and continue to) but as technology continues to change we can either go along with it, flat out refuse it, or find a happy medium to coexist with these changes. I will still buy books and eBooks.
There is still something kind of magical for me when I open a brand spanking new book for the first time: the feel of the cover and the paper between my fingers, the smell of the processes it took to make it to my hands. I just picked up Kristen Britain's Blackveil (yay!) with all of its 720 pages of gloriousness. Nothing can take away from the experience of curling up on the sofa or reading in bed. What would I do with my collection of pretty bookmarks? And I still love going to bookstores and looking around (I feel like a kid inside a candy store every time I enter my local Barnes and Noble or Borders or I take a ride up to Millbrook to go to the Merritt Bookstore). Attending an author's visit, hearing them speak about their experiences and having a book autographed is always a special occasion. I'm not sure that experience can be achieved digitally.
Storing all of my books has become troublesome lately. Unfortunately, they do feel the effects of temperature changes and dust over time. Pages yellow, sometimes things get spilled on them, my cats love to use the bindings as scratching posts, and I have no more room for additional bookshelves so my eReader has helped with this problem.
Now I enjoy reading in both formats. They have their good points (portability, ability to store many more titles digitally) and bad points (some eBooks do have some quirks with spacing and dealing with the limited amount of space on the digital page as opposed to longer hardcovers). As a book lover and avid reader I see myself keeping those "special books" I adore as paper editions and the others as digital versions. The bottom line is always about getting the stories to the people and letting them decide whichever way they will read it.
What are your thoughts? Have you changed over? Don't want to?
(Note: I was not approached nor asked to endorse any of the authors mentioned above. I chose writers from my Kindle collection. I simply linked their Goodreads pages in case anyone was interested in learning more.)