The old ways suck.

Sadly, she can't read.One of the few times I buy paper books is when I do a signing at a bookstore. I figure it’s the least I can do. That’s how I wound up with the hardback version of At Home, by Bill Bryson. It’s a great whacking lump of a book, so good that I bought my parents the Kindle version on our shared account.

Yesterday I was reading while eating, which is when I do 90% of my reading, and this monster book wouldn’t stay open on the table unless I held it with one hand. So tedious. So although the paper version was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, I went upstairs, got my Kindle, downloaded the ebook version, and read that.

To tell the truth, I don’t even like to go into bookstores anymore. Looking at all that paper that has to be stored on your shelf, knowing that many of those books will be returned to the publisher and pulped… Honestly, it makes me all twitchy. What would I take with me on a desert island? My phone and some sort of magic cell connection. I don’t want to travel by horseback (ooh, the smell and feel of horses!), I don’t want to churn my own butter, and I don’t want a paper book.

10 thoughts on “The old ways suck.

  1. Do you ever wonder if Josie is another “Sleeping prophet” like Edgar Cayce? He often slept on his books and read them that way. Maybe Josie reads them through her butt. Just a thought. xxxoooMom

  2. Hi Esri,
    While I’m becoming more open to epublishing as an author, I’m still one of those who like to hold a book and be able to browse the aisles of a bookstore.
    People can say that ereaders save trees, but paper can be recycled. Ereaders will end up in a landfill and batteries need special disposal. So are they actually helping the environment or polluting it even more?
    When doing research, it’s nice to have several books open at once for easy reference. Much harder to flip back and forth electronically.
    Newspapers will probably disappear way before books. Kind of sad. Those were also great to recycle–house training puppies, bird cage liners, for use around tomato plants to protect from cut worms, etc.
    I suppose one day old ereaders could be used for doorstops or paperweights, but it’s just not the same.

  3. Great comment, Chelle!

    I was wondering if anyone would bring up the environmental aspect. That argument was more valid before free ereader apps on smartphones. My Kindle was a gift, and I still read as much on my phone as I did before. So if you have a smartphone, you don’t need a separate device.

    As for research, I understand what you’re saying. I still get reference books in paper sometimes, although I find that the benefit of having a couple open at the same time is counterbalanced by the fact that I can’t type in a search string in a paper book. If I don’t remember the chapter, etc., I’m stuck flipping through pages. On the other hand, you still have to remember the *exact* phrase for searching to work. I usually get it by the third try. 🙂

    1. I didn’t think about book signings though that aspect has come up among writers when talking about the pros and cons of epublishing. I guess an alternate would be to sign a postcard promoting the book. But then that’s a lost sale from a marketing perspective.

      But let’s compare typewriters to laptops. I don’t know any writer who would go back to typewriters, manual or electric, self-correcting or not. Imagine having to retype an entire book to edit it. The changeover to home and business computers was more readily accepted for convenience and speed.

      Ereaders might be on the right track as they change into multi-purpose devices rather than for just reading.

  4. Signings – an interesting situation. If you don’t do them but still offer your books in print-on-demand form (which I plan to do for Critter and still need to do for Jokers & Fools), then you can offer to mail a signed bookplate (sticker) to any reader who wants one.
    Authors who choose to publish solely in e-form are taking that away from readers, but most of them are available to talk to online, which is nice.

    I’m old enough that I learned to type in junior high on an IBM Selectric, and we still had a manual typewriter at home. There must have been people who missed typewriters compared to computers, but you’re right – I didn’t know any.

    Multi-purpose devices are definitely my favorite. The other day I was wandering around with my phone in my hand and realized I was carrying my computer, library, music collection/stereo, camera, video-camera, photo collection and calendar. Oh, and a phone, of course. That reminds me, I meant to see if there’s an add-on keyboard I can buy for my phone.

    This has been fun!

  5. I bought a paperback novel at a friend’s book signing event last month, but other than that, I can’t remember the last time I bought a paper book. I love reading on my iPad. I can increase the font size, adjust brightness, and even read at night without disturbing my husband. (Switch to black background with white text and turn brightness way-the-heck down.)

    I can’t imagine trying to write a novel without a computer! I used to print off the first draft to self-edit, make the corrections then have a clean copy printed at OfficeMax to send to my editor. But I don’t even do that anymore.

    I’ve found that turning on text-to-speech and reading along with my Mac finds more typos, missing/extra words, and mistakes than my old method. My editor does all her work digitally as well.

    I still offer my books POD, but the majority of my sales are digital.

  6. Perhaps its my age, but sometimes I just want the sensation of paper and ink. Still even when I get novels from the Library, I try audio (how I also “read” ebooks if they have text-to-speech authorized ~ btw thanks for allowing it on your books!)
    The only books I buy nowadays tend to be long running series I always got in HB as quick as they got in: CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner series (16 books, 10 years) or Terry Pratchett’s Discworld (not ~even~ going to attempt counting the series, tie ins and sourcebooks on that one over 30+ years!) as examples. Oh, and a few craft books, just because it is easier to make and read notes, corrections, etc. …though I am getting used to viewing patterns on my kindle. 😛

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