Reindeer Games

The ebook revolution has been nearly fifteen years in the making, but sometimes the success of one invention requires the invention of another.  Builders had the method to create skyscrapers long before they had the initiative to do so.  Tall buildings could not meaningfully exist before the invention of the elevator.  Sure, people were capable of walking up and down thirty flights of stairs but it was scarcely desirable or practical to do so.

Books could be read on computer screens for decades, but it was not an enjoyable experience. The last two years have seen the introduction of a variety of ebook readers that not only mimic the traditional experience of reading a paper book, but now in many ways enhance, even exceed that experience.

Adjustable text sizes eliminate the need for those #$%&-ing reading glasses. Online page syncing allows the reader to simultaneously read the same book on multiple devices--Kindle at home, smart phone with Kindle app on the lunch break? No more sitting in that dentist's waiting room thumbing through year-old copies of People Magazine. (Only to learn the depressing news that the same Lindsey Lohan stories are printed every year.)

But the Kindle, Nook, and iPad were not the first portable reading devices.  I bought a Rocket eBook back in 1998.  It cost a staggering $499 (remember these are 1998 dollars, too), but I was so excited that I sold my first novel to a royalty-paying ebook publisher that I could not wait to embrace the future of reading. The Rocket eBook was a nice reading device, not very different from the Kindle in size and page appearance.  It was much heavier, I recall.  Battery size and weight have aided the new generation of ebook readers.

The various writers' groups I belonged to back in those days gave the ebook concept a collective cold shoulder.  Few of those groups would grant me "published author" status--I was not allowed to join in any reindeer games--because they informed me with confidence that "Ebooks are not Real books."

That now seems like such a quaint notion, especially given the fact that ebooks have out-sold hardcovers for the last several months. What the next fifteen years will bring to my home library, I cannot even imagine...but I bet it's going to be fun. (she said, as she composed this blog on her iPad.)

1 comment:

Morgan Mandel said...

I love my kindle. I keep it in my purse, which goes with me almost everywhere, except on dog walks in the morning. It's so handy not to worry about having something to do when I'm waiting somewhere like a doctor's office or other boring places.

Morgan Mandel