Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Dark Side

I feel like I've gone over to the dark side. That image above? It's Liane's Kindle for PC.

You may go ahead and take my temperature. I'm the paper book stoic, the Luddite who dislikes e-books (the platform, that is) on principle - even when said principle gets a bit blurry at times. I don't like the way the digital evolution is throwing life-as-we-know-it into chaos. I don't like that the publishing industry is in a state of flux, although I acknowledge that there is much that's wrong with the status quo and that it's a wasteful, unsustainable model.

I have avowed time and again that I'd never pay hundreds of dollars for a Kindle or any other device of that ilk. Plus, the more I learn about Amazon, the more wary I am of their shenanigans. I deplore the fact that they started off selling Kindle versions of print books at significantly lower prices, then jacked the prices up to the print levels AND BEYOND as soon as they'd sold enough Kindles to establish their market. Compare the cost of producing a paper book to that of the e-version, factor in the price of the reading device, and those prices I see look an awful lot like the book-buying public is being, er, invaded up the, er, ear. For the sake of brevity and circumvention of rants, we won't even discuss the issue of royalty percentages on e-books published by the traditional houses.

Yet I downloaded the Kindle app. on to my laptop. I did it on impulse for practical reasons: (1) I wanted to buy a writer acquaintance's novel and the Kindle price, which she set herself, is a third of the print price (and even less when I factor in the shipping cost). (2) The Kindle for PC is free. (3) I'm flat out of shelf space. Since I'd already crossed the line, I checked out the free books and downloaded some classic novels I'd been wanting to read or reread for ages, including Madame Bovary, The Iliad, Passion in the Desert, A Christmas Carol and Aesop's Fables.

Reading books on my laptop will never be my poison of choice although this new babe of mine is small and light and I can get fairly comfy with it, even in bed. I still prefer to read 'real' books, which for me will always be made of paper.

I feel like a traitor to the paper book cause. I feel like a turncoat. Go ahead. Shoot me.


Phyllis Bourne said...

Welcome to the dark side, we've been expecting you.

I thought I was a paper book person, but the Kindle hooked me.

G said...

Now, now, now.

No need to fear, Underdog is here.

Seriously, you did what you felt you had to do in order to purchase something that you really wanted.

A book purchased is a book purchased, no matter what the format, and in the end, is that the most important thing?

Charles Gramlich said...

Seeing as how I own a Kindle, love it, and use it every day, I will forgive you. I understand your reservations and I had them too. I still don't know if I like the very fact that the technology exists. I would much rather have the printed books. But I do believe there is a niche for it. I've also downloaded the nook app for my PC, although I havent' used it yet. I got the kindle PC app when I published Killing trail with amazon.

Jewel Amethyst said...

No need to shoot you, Liane. You're coming into the 21st century. You have grown. You are now enlightened, tech savvy, you get my gist. I'm sure people clung to the type writer for a while after the computer usurped its position as the main word processor.

Now that said, I haven't converted to kindle yet, so you're one step ahead of me.

Farrah Rochon said...

I've downloaded the apps and bought books, but still haven't read any on my computer. :( Baby steps, I guess.

Maria Zannini said...

I would kill for an e-reader. Well, maybe not kill, maybe just some mild maiming.

Digital is just more practical.

Embrace the horror, Liane. Bwahahaha

Flowerpot said...

very technologically advanced!

Chris Stovell said...

I haven't really got anything to read the app on conveniently, but there must be room for paper and ebooks - hope so anyway!

Lane said...

I didn't even know there was such an app.

It'll be interesting to watch how the technology progresses.

Liane Spicer said...

Thank you, Phyllis. So nice to see familiar friendly faces in this place!

G, Underdog in the underworld? I feel at home already! You've hit it right on the head. A book sale is a book sale no matter what the platform.

Charles, many of our generation are ambivalent about the technology. Not so our children!

Jewel, I'm coming along but this Brave New World takes some adjusting, doesn't it! So much for comfort zones...

Farrah, I've read one entire book and am almost done with a second. I'm trying to spend less time in front of the computer but what with work, writing, surfing, movies and now reading, it's a losing battle.

Liane Spicer said...

Maria, that practicality is what I'm afraid of. It's so easy to give in to it - convenience foods, shopping online and now instant book downloads. The horror is transmogrifying into something rather... alluring.

Flowerpot, hee hee. Actually I'm quite late to this Kindle game.

Chris Stovell, I hope there will always be room for paper books.

Lane, I found out in quite a roundabout fashion through my very tech son who has a phone that's much smarter than I am and for which there's an app for everything, Kindle included.

Lexy Harper said...

Liane, that’s how it begins – innocently, insidiously. The next thing you know you’re relegating your partner or spouse to the settee because there's only room in your bed for one lover – your Kindle, even if it’s only for PC!

The pricing of eBooks has caused heated debates in Kindle forums. Some writers claim that readers assume eBooks priced below $7.99 are substandard and report a drop in sales when they have lowered prices. While others claim to have sold significantly more copies at reduced prices and as a result have accrued greater royalties. Both arguments seemed to have some validity, so in the end it came down to personal choice. My paperbacks are overpriced at $12.99 and £7.99, but with 35% wholesale discount, and printing and distribution costs I would be almost giving my books away for free at the more realistic prices of $9.99 and £5.99. My $2.99 Kindle price is an attempt to increase my readership and I’m quite pleased with the results so far. However, my paperback sales have fallen slightly. So you win some, you lose some.

I’m like you – a total paper bookie – but after reading and enjoying several Kindle free reads, including one of my childhood favourites, Little Women, I’m beginning to understand and appreciate the eBook phenomenon. I will miss the delicious anticipation of book orders from Amazon. I will miss unwrapping them on arrival, inhaling their smell, admiring their looks and running my hands over them. Now, with a click of a button I can have instant gratification – a reading orgasm without the foreplay.

I’ve just bought Café au Lait, although I haven’t officially finished editing Soca Nights. I’m not going to read until I've sent my manuscript off, but I needed some anticipation....

Liane Spicer said...

Lexy, thanks for your response!

A sale is a sale, I suppose, regardless of the format. We're still in the process of arriving at an ebook/paper book balance. It was wanting to buy your book that made me decide to download the Kindle for PC. (I'm about halfway through and totally enjoying it! I've made a few attempts to read erotica before but was hugely turned off by the gross stuff that passes by that name in the books I tried - stuff like bestiality and necrophilia. Ugh.)

Since I downloaded the Kindle app I've been browsing the store and was horrified to find that in many cases the e-book costs more than the paper book. That cannot be right in any universe for the very reasons you mentioned (mainly cost of production).

I've been enjoying the free reads too. Must get Little Women! I'm curious to see how some of the stories I loved as a child hold up now I'm an adult.

Hope you enjoy Café au Lait, and I'm looking forward to Soca Nights. I too have stayed away from Caribbean romances written by local writers because of the fear of being influenced even unconsciously. Actually I read one soon after I finished the first draft of CaL and was rather put out when I found it contained a leatherback turtle scene. Mine was quite different, but still... So much for originality. :-/