I don’t really have a whole lot to rant about this week, but ever since I self-published my first novel on Kindle, I’ve been paying more attention to people’s feelings about books vs. ebooks. There’s a wide swath out there, and to be truthful, I’m getting kind of sick of it. So, you know, I’m gonna add to the slush pile of book vs. ebook hoopla.
Yes, I love physical books. I love the smell of the pages, the feel of the cover, the crack of the spine. I get that curling up with a good book is an experience, and I get why people would think you can’t have the same feeling with an ebook.
Except that you can. And it’s actually easier. I can huddle under the blanket, arms and all, prop the Kindle up against my legs, and turn the page with just my thumb, without even needing to move my arms. Take that, Snuggie… and you can keep the book light.
I tried explaining the fact that I published my book on Kindle to my mom, which was probably a mistake in the first place. After about five minutes of going over the process over and over, she simply asked “When will it be available in print?” Then, when I did a CreateSpace paperback edition (for her, and my family who feel the same way about dangerous ebooks), she asked me what store she could buy it in.
She doesn’t have a credit or debit card because he tends to lose them, so she sent me some cash to get a CreateSpace paperback that I could autograph and send back to her. I’m not saying that a signed book isn’t valuable, but in the time that it took her to mail the letter, me to order an author’s copy, CreateSpace to ship it to me, me to sign it, and then ship it to her, she could have bought my book on Kindle 1,036,800 times. And that’s just a 12-hour day.
I volunteer at the library a couple hours a week. I love seeing all the books, the pretty covers, seeing parents reading Dr. Seuss to their kids. But I also have to sort those books. I’m not sure how many germ-infested books live at our branch at the library, but I’m pretty sure my Kindle could hold about half of them – no sorting, no shelving, no late fees.
I read more on the Kindle. Yes, Kindle books tend to be shorter, but I can set my Kindle on the treadmill at the gym, stick it in the pocket of my purse, all things I can’t do with a physical book. I do read physical books on my recumbent bike day, but it’s way easier on the Kindle. I typically have 2 books going at any given time – an ebook and a physical book – and I pretty much always finish the ebook first.
When we moved to Austin, we went through the inevitable stage of divesting of all the random shit we don’t use, which included – I shit you not – 8 boxes full of books. Oh yeah, and we still have 5 or 6 boxes of books in our storage closet that won’t fit on our bookshelf. What are they doing there? Nothing. To get to them, I’d have to go digging through boxes. When I want to find a book I want to read on the Kindle, I go to the index. If I don’t have it on my Kindle, I can browse Amazon right from my Kindle and get it. I don’t have to put on pants to go to the store, and I can get the Kindle edition for about 1/5 of the cost of a physical book.
I love both kinds of books, and I don’t see either of them going away any time soon. The bottom line, though, I’ve sold over 400 ebooks. Any idea how many paperbacks I’ve sold? 3. And I know the 3 people who bought them. Ebooks? They’re the future, and you can pry them from my dead, lifeless fingers like I’ll pry the physical book from yours. Stop squawking about how ebooks are destroying everything. It’s evolution. Get with it.