Friday, October 7, 2011

So I just bought a Kindle...

Not sure whether to feel disgusted with myself yet, but it is one of the mediums through which I sell my books, so I figured it might be a good idea to get one. Also, I’m learning pretty fast that part of being a successful indie author is now about being more social online, reading each other’s Kindle books and writing reviews, etc.

Plus physical books will always be pricier, so I reasoned that a Kindle would be good investment. It really pays for itself in the long run and of course most classic lit is in public domain and free, plus you can put your own material on it which is great for me if need to look over my manuscripts and can’t get to my laptop. I tried doing that with my iPhone, and it doesn’t quite work very well. Neither does the Kindle app, because I need a bigger screen, and one that doesn’t have glare and won’t bother my eyes (and cramp up my fingers).

Overall, I will always prefer physical books, because what’s happening right now is not just a change in technology formats like movies went from VHS to DVD, or how cassette tapes went to CDs and MP3s.

Books are one thing that I don’t really think should switch to paperless. They’ve been around far longer than recording music or filming movies ever has, and to see that medium slowly disappear, perhaps forever? It makes me want to crunch the skull of the asshole who thought of inventing e-reader devices.

I mean in retrospect, yes it’s a good idea for high school and college students and far less of a waste of paper for textbooks, since they are constantly getting updated and many can’t be resold. Doing away with physical textbooks and a lot of nonfiction books is a good idea, I think. But unless you own a library or a huge, vast collection of books, I think owning an e-reader or Kindle is a waste.

Why? People these days are impulsive buyers, especially if the product is cheap. Before you know it, you’ll have used up your allotted 1,500-book space on the Kindle just because a lot of the ebooks are selling at 99 cents, particularly from self-published authors (myself included). That’s actually the only reason I decided on buying mine, because I found that writing Kindle books and selling them is now a highly social activity; the more books you write and review, the better your chances of selling more titles.

Anyway, are those people that buy those books even going to read them all? Will they have time, or is it simply the security of knowing that if they ever want to read that book, they’ll already have purchased it? Or is it the solace of having something intriguing to read, perhaps? Everyone will inevitably answer this question in their own way. We all have different reasons for justifying our purchases and obtaining new technology.

In any case, these are the main reasons I chose to get mine:

- It was only $79 + shipping and handling
- Many self-published authors only write Kindle books (which in order to sell more of my own titles, it’d be beneficial to review them), and it’s easier than trying to read them on my iPhone using the Kindle app
- I can send my own manuscripts to the Kindle for easy reading since I don’t own a printer, allowing me to make edits on the go. I’ve tried this on my iPhone in the Notes app…didn’t work so well
- Free public domain classic literature

That’s pretty much it, and I doubt I’ll even use a quarter of the allotted 1,500-title space, but I think it’s worth it in the long run. I still prefer physical books, though I don’t see this as a wasted investment. I may not have a vast library, but I’ve plenty of physical books I haven’t read or have only read halfway through, so it’s not like I’ll ever live in or support an e-reader only environment. If this world ever comes to that, trust me, I’ll be going absolutely batshit and printing off things myself.

E-readers are not an excuse to go all-out Fahrenheit 451 on physical books, and to be honest, I don’t think it will ever happen so long as book stores hold social events, promote discussion, hold author signings, and provide more than just books.

Also, it’s not entirely the e-reader’s fault for book stores going out of business. We live in a shitty economy, so some people can’t keep up their rent or lease since their customers don’t want to spend too much money. It’s a very vicious cycle, and more people these days will be doing more staying at home, traveling less, ordering online, cutting costs, and shopping cheap. In that respect, the e-reader is actually lucrative, and the fact that it’s technology and it’s social could get more people reading than ever before.

And trust me, kids NEED TO READ these days. So it’s ignorant to assume that e-readers kill physical books when they’re only part of that problem. Printing is also expensive, and a lot of what does get printed (Twilight, anyone?) is a waste of paper, plus you have the mid and low-list authors whose titles don’t sell very much either…

One could easily argue that shitty books are what’s destroying our environment since they waste paper, and therefore trees, contributing to mass amounts of deforestation…I think you see what I’m getting at.

But I don’t think the e-reader will ever prove to be a 100% replacement for physical books anytime soon. It certainly won’t for me.