Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


The e-book and how it might affect us...

Our topic for this round of posts was to be "the e-book and how it might affect us, both as readers and as writers." Judging from the lack of responses from our spuds thus far, it appears we may not yet know how it will affect us. I personally don't think I will ever want to give up the traditional bound book (either paperback or hardcover), but I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by the Kindle and how easy it is to use.

Random House simultaneously published my book, ROAD TO TATER HILL, in hardcover and e-book formats. My latest statement shows that not many e-books have sold yet (only 24 as of June 30th), but I am happy to have it available for those who choose to read in that format.

Not long ago I was given an Amazon gift card, and I decided to use it to purchase a Kindle. Of course, the first book I had to buy was ROAD TO TATER HILL! I wanted to see exactly how my book would appear in that format. Here are a few pros and cons for e-books as I see it.
1. Less expensive to buy individual books.
2. The e-book arrives almost instantly if you're within internet access.
3. The Kindle is easy to carry or pack when traveling.
4. You can take any number of books with you without taking up any more space.
5. The pages don't get worn or torn.
6. The page (at least of the Kindle) has no glare.
7. When you take a break from reading and turn your Kindle off, it reopens to the page you were last reading. No need for a bookmark!
8. The print/font size can be enlarged as needed.

1. You may not find the books you want in e-book format.
2. It's almost too easy to order a book! By accident I ordered one I didn't want, just by pushing the wrong button, and I had to go through canceling the sale.
3. You can't buy an "autographed" copy if you happen to know the author.
4. It's difficult to lend. I just finished reading THE RED KAYAK by Priscilla Cummings and immediately recommended it to my husband. However, if I want him to read it, I have to give up my Kindle for however long it takes him to finish the book.
5. I have yet to learn how to go back to the beginning of the book or find a specific page without continuously pushing the "back" button until I get there. (There's probably a simple answer to this that I haven't yet found.)
6. The initial cost of the Kindle is rather expensive, at least by my standards. I bought mine for $139, and paid extra for the nice leather protective cover. I would not have bought it if not for the gift card.

I think the e-book is here to stay. I, as an author and reader, will embrace it as a new form, but will not give up my love for and collection of traditional books!


David LaRochelle said...

It sounds like the ebook has mostly been a positive experience for you, Edie. I don't always embrace change easily, so I've been wary, and also worried as to how this type of technology might affect me as an author. But worrying won't change things, so I'm trying to keep informed and learn how I can work with the new technology, not run away from it. I'm especially interested in how this new technology might affect picture books. If it can lend itself to telling stories in a new way (which I think it can) I don't want to be left behind.
Like you, I think paper books will always be around, but I am going to try to keep an open mind about the new technology. Without new technology, I'd still be banging out my stories on a typewriter.

Edie Hemingway said...

Yes, so far it has been a positive experience for me, but I'm not sure I'd feel the same way if I were a picture book author or illustrator. I just can't quite imagine how a Kindle could do justice to illustrations and also the placement of the text on an illustrated page!

Lauren said...

I really appreciate your pro and con list for the e-book. I don't have a kindle, nook, or iPad yet-- though someday I will definitely get an iPad. I have downloaded a couple of books on my iPhone for quick research. (I am writing a script about the Grimm's Brothers and it is great to have a quick reference to their fairytales at my fingertips anywhere I am!) I will say more on my post on Wednesday.
Thanks for your insights.

Christy said...

This is all very thoughtful and helpful, Edie. I haven't been drawn to this technology, but I need to become better educated and try it out.