Last weekend, I experienced my first book signing where I was the author signing. That also explains why you didn’t get your weekly giggle from me. Sorry, but I’m here now, if that counts. Back to what I was talking about. Sitting there with my own books stacked in front of me, the whole thing got me to thinking. Reading has always been my thing. I enjoy the feel of a book in my hand. It is reassuring. The weight of the cover and the pages within holding the promise of new worlds to explore, new adventures to go on, just gets my motor running. If you’re reading this, I’m pretty sure you know what I mean.
Technology has changed that a bit. Instead of books, we have pads, phones and the like to discover those worlds with. When I first started writing, the ereader had just been born so to speak. They were the size of a cell phone or smaller. I’m relatively sure that the thickness of my glasses might be the result of reading on one. I can even tell you the first book I ever read on an ereader, The Phoenix Rebellion book one by Gail Delaney. That was back in 2006 to put things in chronological order for you. After squinting my way through a few more, I decided I would be hide-bound to quote one of my favorite authors, Anne McCaffery.
Then, I bought something that changed my outlook on the situation. My first Kindle showed me I could explore worlds from a screen with the ease of a book, but without the wrist and forearm cramps to bog me down. Yeah, I tend to like big books. More bang for your buck. I’m tight-wadded like that. Seriously though, the authors I love to read tend to be long winded. Back in the day, your New York Times Bestsellers just didn’t do ebook. Ebook was for romance and erotica, and that was it. A small part of the market was Science Fiction and Fantasy but Romance was the first to fully embrace the eIndustry and that was fine.
Without the restrictions of big publishers to tell us what we couldn’t do, our imaginations bloomed. We wrote what we wanted and readers loved it. They didn’t need someone to tell them what they should be reading. They read what they wanted. Let me change that. We read what we wanted. Authors are first and foremost readers after all. I think readers everywhere ought to thank those first ebook authors, for doing more than writing books. They should be thanked for changing the industry as a whole. I don’t mean just the part about how books are read, but the entire outlook of industry, readers, and authors. I seriously doubt many of the authors around today would be around today if not for the creativity of those minds, who didn’t have limits placed on them.
Let me get back to my original point, as I sat at my table, I felt a bit hypocritical. I was signing books, but fully loved ebooks to the point I rarely read print, unless it’s a book I already have in my library, and there are tons, or an author I’ve been following for so long it feels sacrilegious to read any other way than with an actual book in my hand. That isn’t to say I don’t love book books, because I do. There is just something hypnotic about the feel of a book and the way it smells fresh off the shelf. It’s like imagination crack.
As much as I hate to admit this, I even rebuy books in the eformat that I already own in print. Why you may be asking yourself? Well, for a most practical reason. I’m getting blind as a bat. With my Kindle, I can make the font as big as I want, so I’m not squinting to read. Well, not squinting as much. Also, I can carry a few hundred, okay thousand, books around with me, so I’m never far from my addictions. For my OCD personality that’s reassuring. I firmly believe there are book thieves out there waiting to get their grubby hands on my bookshelves. Yeah, I see you out there. Now scat! Stupid figments of my imagination getting in the way of me leaving the house or blogging it would appear.
As our world grows more technologically based, there will probably come a time where print books become a thing of the past. I find that sad, but also realize it’s part of the process of moving forward. I don’t see it happening in my time. There are too many people out there just like me, hide-bound. My grandchildren, though, will probably see a time where books are oddities that grandpa and grandma used to have. You know like our kids when we mention 8-Tracks and 45s, even cassettes.
Yeah, I’m that old. Do I ever see a time where I don’t find comfort in a bulky book? No, but I see myself embracing technology and enjoying the fruits of imagination it brings. Hey, I’m the same kid who wanted to be on Star Trek and talk into a communicator, and ride a transporter beam to anywhere I wanted. That makes me part of the generation who saw the future and knew that one day I’d be a part of it. Now, I am, and so are you. We all stand on the cusp of that brave new future.
Time to take that step forward and say, ‘Beam me aboard, I can’t wait to see what comes next’.