I got an ereader for Christmas and have been amazed at how much I am enjoying it. Oddly, that little electronic tablet has forced me to become a more patient reader. I used to have a bad habit that drove my husband bats. After reading about 30% of a book, I would flip toward the back to read the ending before picking the story back up at 30%. That impatient craziness has ended with the ereader. Somehow it seems harder to press a series of buttons than flip through pages, plus I can’t just stick my finger in at the place where I abandoned the tale.
In a non-apocalyptic world, the future of sharing stories is already written. Someday, the printed book will become as obsolete as cave-painting. As an author living through that transition, there is still something wonderful about getting the first hard copy of my upcoming release. I reach into the cardboard box, close my eyes and feel the weight of all those words in my hands, letting it rest there for just a moment. (The abrupt ending of this bliss is when my husband says, “Why do they have streaks across their faces?” thus repaying me for all the premature page turning that bothered him so much over the years.) Then I start searching for problems with the cover graphics, typos, and blank pages. He was right about the cover, by the way. You can see the streaks on the cover of Vain.
Since I am an independent author, I am responsible for my own formatting. Setting up for a paper copy is a whole different list of tasks than ebooks. I even have to lay out my own cover. Do I sell enough paperbacks to make this extra time worthwhile?
So, why do I do it?
First, the simple enjoyment of holding that book makes the accomplishment seem more weighty and real. This is what 120,000 of my words look like. Second, because not everyone in the universe has an ereader, and sharing books with those people – like my mom – who want them crisp and signed, is a real pleasure.
How about all of you? Do you still enjoy a paper book, or are you firmly entrenched in the digital age? Even more telling, have you ever skipped to end of a story?