Sunday, April 7, 2013

Of Kindles and Buttons

I work in an independent bookstore chain (I know that sounds weird, but it can happen). Today I noticed that we are selling these tiny little buttons that say things like "Keep Calm and Read On", "I Read Banned Books" and "Kill Your TV".

Then there was one that looked like this.

The picture was so small I couldn't see any text on the screen, so it took me a while to figure out it was an e-reader.

Now, as an employee of an honest-to-God bookstore, I want people to buy printed material rather than e-books because it, you know, pays the bills and keep a bunch of people employed. As a bookstore employee, I know I should despise e-readers with a passion.

But I was a writer long before I was a bookstore employee. And as a writer...I LOVE e-readers. Hundreds of posts have been written on e-publishing and all the new opportunities it offers to authors, so I won't go into all that. I don't own an e-reader myself- no need for one, I don't travel much- but I love that people can read my work on them.

I am also not a paper snob. Oh, don't get me wrong. I love paper. When I go into a stationary shop, it's practically obscene. But I don't turn my nose up at people reading on their Kindles. They're reading, thank God. I don't care how they do it (Same with audio books. I always wondered if the famous poll that indicated 1 in 4 Americans didn't read one single book in a year, took audio books into account).

So sorry, tiny button company. I won't be buying that one.


  1. If at some point we can afford some sort of e-reader I'd love to have one, but I don't think I'll ever stop loving the feeling of an actual paper book in my hands. I don't think you have to love one to the exclusion of the other. And you certainly don't have to tell people "don't buy e-readers!" The reality is the cost of that particular technology still keeps it way out of most of our reach. And as much as I know you have to buy books to feed authors, the library (and project Gutenberg, and libravox) keeps me 'fed' on books when I can't afford to buy them.

  2. I've worked at a bookstore for 10 years now and in that time I've seen the prices of physical books rise insanely- a new hardcover was $21-$25 a decade ago; now they are usually priced at $29-$35. Despite the initial expense of an e-reader, if you're someone who likes to read new books when they come out you'll actually save money in the long run (as e-books are usually $5-$7, even new). It's like cloth diapers, a large expense at first but you end up saving loads of money in the first few years.