Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I am too Lazy to Turn Pages

According to my last royalty statement, my digital sales are higher than my print sales. And this is for my books where the publisher sets the digital price, so the price between the two is pretty much the same.

Which can only mean one thing - readers are beginning to prefer to read on their eReaders.

It was only one year ago that I thought eReaders were the dumbest inventions ever. Why do you need a piece of technology that might freeze, that might get stolen, that you can’t take into the bubble bath with you? The printed book is a pretty good piece of technology in and of itself. Why mess with perfection?

A year ago my husband and I cancelled our landline and got two iPhones. I began reading, ever so tentatively, on my phone. I even bought a couple of Apple books for it. It wasn’t so bad. It was small and portable and light, and is with me everywhere, even when I’m stuck in a line up at the grocery store. The idea, then, of an eReader began to take shape in my luddite brain. I did a lot of research. I knew what I wanted. I wanted something featherweight and easy on the eyes.

Weight is a big factor for me. Years ago I was able to find a used uncut version of The Stand by Stephen King - which I consider to be the best apocalyptic novel ever written bar none, but that’s the subject of another blog - but in it’s paperback form it was thick and unwieldy to read. What I ended up doing was diving the book in half and carefully ripping it apart, and turning it into two medium sized paperbacks. Someone gave me King's hard cover novel The Dome. I never did read it because it was just too darn heavy to hold. Are we seeing a pattern here?

So, I researched, read reviews, and decided that the Kobo Touch was what I wanted. It’s Canadian and weighs in even lighter than the Kindle. It’s also connected to our Canadian library system and the reviews are good. I got it for Christmas.

Since Christmas I have not read a printed book. I am, therefore, the reason that bookstores are closing. I am the reason that my agent in grim tones tells me that, “print runs are down all over, Linda”. You can also blame my neighbor. He’s a retired gentleman who sits on his porch all summer and reads. He has quite a collection of hard cover mysteries and spy thrillers - his favorites. Last spring I was walking by and he called over to me, “Hey!” he said, “I just got a Kobo! I got 800 books in here!”

There is a conference going on right now in NYC all about digital books. Apparently the place is sold out. I’m not there, I’m just following the blogs. But here’s an interesting link on trends:


So, what does that mean? It means we’re at the very beginning (or some might even say middle?) of a huge change, a change which has been coming since the invention of the World Wide Web back in the early 1990s. It’s quite an exciting time to be a writer!

Now, hmm, all they need to do is come up with a waterproof eReader for my bubble bath.


Philip van Wulven said...

I too got a Kobo touch for Christmas, and find the ease of handling formerly bulky books to be a really positive aspect. I used to pick books in the library based partly on weight - the big fat hardcovers are so awkward when reading in bed.

Peter Black said...

Linda, I may be a fair distance away from purchasing an eReader. However, this, among others, of your posts showing your adventures into the technology will possibly shorten that distance somewhat.

Marian said...

I received a Kindle for Christmas and finally have been able to enjoy and finish that unwieldy book, "War and Peace." Forget a character? Just type the name in and all references are right there.

Linda Hall said...

I totally agree about the 'heaviness' of books. I read a lot in bed, and it's so hard to read one of those heavy hardcovers. Another neat thing about eReaders is that it doesn't matter how short or long a book is. So, there is finally a market for short stories out there!

Kate said...

I can't believe I don't have an ereader yet. Kindle or Kobo? I keep going back and forth. You've inspired me. Now if I could just get to the store.

Mary Ann said...

I love my Kindle. I still read some books in physical form but am doing more and more reading on my eReader. When I travel, I now carry one little item--my Kindle--instead of a small suitcase with eight or ten books. It's so much easier!

Deb Elkink said...

Linda, I brought my Kindle 2 (dino now) with me to Istanbul and read it in my bubblebath last night! I love e-reading, it turns out--it seems to me that the delicious distraction of paper (feel, heft, scent) now gone allows a quicker connection between letter-symbol and brain, so I read more books, faster. I felt forced to buy into eBooks when I learned my own first novel would be "printed" electronically, and I'm so glad I had that push!

Barbara Phinney said...

I'm a bit late getting here, but always enjoy Linda's honesty. Friends of mine have two kinds of Kobos, one for their daughter, too, and they love them. Has anyone traveled with theirs?

Eleanor Shepherd said...

My husband travelled overseas with his Kobo which was fried by a security check in Europe. Now he has a Kobo Touch, because he really enjoys the convenience of an e-reader when he travels.

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