Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Whatever Happened to Books?

The Digital Age

Now that I have published several novels, I have begun to realize that the digital age has impacted the writing world more than I realized.

I have sold a fair number of books and for a new author, that's pretty good. But what has surprised me is that my primary market has been Kindle.  The novels are available for other eReaders and I've sold a few copies in those formats too.

Amazon's website, however offers the best high profile advertising for books with easy to navigate genre search listings and a number of ways for the book covers to be seen by potential readers. Nook, iBooks, and other websites do not quite do the same job. As a result, if the sales are going to be there, Kindle seems to be the platform.

But what about the paperbacks?  I have sold a few, but the numbers pale in comparison to digital versions.

Personally, I like paper books. I like to hold them in my hands and read, turning real pages as I go along. Just yesterday, I was faced with having to read a short novel for the class I will be substitute teaching. The full text is available on-line in several different places.

I tried reading the electronic version. Honestly, I did. Somehow it just didn't do the job. I found a real book copy and sat down to read that instead. Problem solved. I finished the book in an hour or so--Anthem, by Ayn Rand.

It was a fast read, and I was in control of those physical pages, the words darting into my brain and settling there. The physicality of holding that book in my hands seemed to make all the difference in the world.

Is it because I learned to read and write long before computers were even invented? I am of the generation who experienced the Apple IIGS as the first personal computer I was able to use. I borrowed it from school for the summer so I could teach a computer class the following year.

I learned to use a PC playing role playing games and doing a bit of word processing. I didn't have a printer back then, so heaven knows what happened to the files I created.  I moved over to PC's soon after, so whatever existed on that Apple platform is lost forever.

Despite that, simply reading via electronic images still doesn't inspire me.

That is not so with a large portion of the reading public. One of the other teachers here at school has at least eight books loaded on her eReader/phone, all ready to be read whenever the mood strikes her. She hasn't yet read most of the books she's downloaded. They just sit there as if they are on library shelves, waiting for her finger to swipe them open.

Handy, convenient, and space saving electronic reading devices seem to be the way of the world nowadays.

More to come.

1 comment:

  1. i read both books and kindle books. i've got a load on my kindle - books i'd previously borrowed from others and wantec to reread, and yours, LOL. the kindle means i can take a load more with me if i'm away (they weigh a lot, physical books, LOL). but i won't chuck the actual books i have, which also get reread every now and my kindle, but also love reading ...