I love to read. I always have. I give full credit to my mother for that, for instilling in me the joy of reading for entertainment, since I was a very young age. I would be enrolled in various book clubs, and she would take me to the library to check out books, all throughout my childhood. I read many of the typical children’s classics, like Alice In Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass, The Wizard of OZ and it’s sequels, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, among many others. An early topic that fascinated me was Greek Mythology, I loved reading stories of the Gods. I also read tons of comic-books. This love of reading stuck with me as I grew older. Over the years it seemed that I would go through phases where a certain topic would strike me, and I would look to read as many books on the subject as possible.
Sometimes I wonder if I would have developed this same type of curiosity if I was growing up in this day and age? Now, you don’t really need to track down multiple books on the subject, if you want to know about the life of, for example, Julius Ceaser, you can just google him.
Anyway, I bring all this up because, for the longest time, I was one of the folks who resisted the idea of ebooks. I liked actually holding a printed book in my hands, and I didn’t think anything could duplicate, or replace, that experience. I just couldn’t get used to the idea of reading on a computer screen. Even at the times that I would get a book on a file, or word document, if it was long, I would print it out on paper to read it. But then last year at my job we got a new temp worker, and he had a Kindle with him and brought it to work. He showed it to me and I was surprised at how similar it was to reading on paper. The screen was so clear and easy to see. I become intrigued. So I dropped hints among my family about what I wanted for my birthday, and my mother and brother collaborated on buying me one (which is the white one I’m holding in the above picture, which I then dropped and broke several months later, and had to buy a new one, which is black, for myself).
It. Is. Awesome.
Really, I love it. First of all, like I said, it’s just like reading a printed book. Totally easy to see, no problems. And it’s so convenient. No need to go out to a bookstore (if you can even find a decent one these days) or order a book online and then have to wait for it to be delivered. You find a book you want, click a couple of buttons, and within a few minutes, BAM! There it is! Right there in your hands, ready to be read whenever you feel like it. And it saves space. I ran out of bookshelves a long time ago, and have stacks of books around the house. But with the kindle, I’ve just got this little device, I can fit anywhere. And I currently have over 50 books on it. That’s almost a curse, for someone like me, with my impulse-buying habits. Of those 50+ books, I’ve probably only read less than 20 of them. I should really wait until I finish the books I have before buying any new ones, but that convenience of downloading tempts me so much that as soon as I find about an interesting book, I immediately buy it. And when I did break my old Kindle and bought a new one, I was easily able to log into my Amazon account and re-download all the books I’d already purchased, so that’s not a problem either.
So I’m an ebook convert now. All things being equal, I’d rather get an ebook than a printed book. The only reason I still buy some printed books is because some older books may not be available on the Kindle yet, or sometimes the price for the printed books is so much cheaper. On Amazon I can often find old used books for like 0.01 cent, plus shipping. That’s a deal you can’t beat yet.
Yes, I realize this is a whole new paradigm, which will drastically alter the way the publishing industry has worked for decades, but it’s time to Adapt of Die. If books will now cost less to publish, that means you have to start charging less. That means it cuts into your profit margin. You’ll have to sell a lot more ebooks to make the same amount of money you’d make selling printed books. But that’s also an opportunity to sell more, due to the reduced price and increased availability. And with ebook downloads it’s easier to keep track of exactly how many copies of a book have been bought, which helps when it comes to understanding your audience.
Of course, with the rise of ebook technology, you also have a greater risk of piracy. But that’s just something they need to accept. It’s the same with the music industry. There will always be a segment of the audience who will try to get something for nothing, and will see nothing wrong with stealing. I’ve encountered folks like this many times online, and I don’t even bother trying to argue with them anymore, the justifications they make for their piracy are pathetic. But, if you make your product available easily enough, at a reasonable price, enough people will be willing to pay for it, as Steve Jobs proved with iTunes.
Now, excuse me, I’ve got some reading to do.