Tuesday, June 25, 2013

E-Books are real books, and they're okay

Today, I was reading a book and in the text, they referenced something they had said on a previous page. It had taken me a while to get back into reading this book, so I clicked on the page number and it took me back to the page in question so I could reread that part.

Then they referenced an additional audio file to supplement part of the book available on their website, and I clicked on that. I called up the audio file and played it right then and there, before returning to my book.

My mom has a crafting book with embedded videos that display the steps that people might have trouble with. When I have trouble reading a book because my eyes are tired, I can just increase the font size, change the contrast, or adjust the brightness.

On top of all of that, most of the books I have bought lately were ones that were on one day only sales, or temporary specials. The ability of a publisher or author to incrementally adjust the price of their books, and see the response that price adjustment brings them in sales and profits, is changing the entire face of publishing and probably for the better for consumers in the long run (if it helps authors, I don't know yet). The Nook Free Friday books are often books by authors who are releasing something new, so they give away an older book or the first in the series and it works like a free sample at the grocery store.

I've written about this before, but it seems like it bears repeating since it's been almost a year that I've had my Nook. Now I can get books from the library without leaving my house, including audiobooks.

It intrigues me that since the printing press, we haven't really revolutionized how we process the written word. We've changed the sales process, we've definitely changed what's popular and what gets printed. But we haven't really had something quite as revolutionary. And e-books are actually fundamentally changing how we process stories AND how we sell them.

Are there drawbacks? Absolutely. Mostly because publishers are trying to cling to old models for profits and hurting authors in the process instead of embracing the change fully. But I'm really tired of book snobs.

People complain if you read the book after the movie, if you have an e-reader instead of buying hardcovers, if you have the wrong edition, if your paperback spine has cracks in it, and on and on. If you read too slowly, if you read too quickly, if you like to read the end first, if you like to read in order without spoiling yourself. Everybody wants to say "this is the way to read" "this is the way to enjoy books." Like there's only one way and only one thing.

That's stupid. Enjoy stories. That's all that's needed. Enjoy stories at your pace, in your way, and embrace yourself and your life with storytelling. And if anybody gives you grief about it know this: they aren't as good a reader as you if they insult others for being different.

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