Or maybe that should be evolution? It’s not as if people are barricading the streets and firing e-readers at each other. Ebooks are just another means to deliver story, no scarier than listening to audiobooks.
And yet, I was scared.
I received a Kindle for Christmas. Not this Christmas just past – the one before. For reasons I don’t really understand, I left that Kindle sitting in its box for a whole year. I was scared to open it.
I know it sounds ridiculous. It does to me too. I’m a normal competent human being. I quite enjoy learning new things and I’m not scared of computers. Somehow it just seemed too daunting. I’d have to create an Amazon account, and probably give them all this personal information that I hate giving out. (Amazing, I know. I must be one of the few people left in the western world who didn’t already have an account with Amazon.) I’d have to figure out how to drive the stupid thing, and there were sure to be technical hiccups and besides I had so many books to read I didn’t need ebooks as well …
Halfway through the year Demon Duck asked if she could at least open the box and look at it, but I wouldn’t let her, as if it were some bomb that would go off if handled. And all year, every time I walked past and noticed the thing, still sitting where I’d left it when I unwrapped it on Christmas day (I couldn’t even move it – how weird is that??), I felt guilty that this generous present was sitting there unused.
And yes, I’m aware of the irony that this person scared of the big bad e-reader is the same person who wants to publish her writing as ebooks.
Finally, when Christmas had come and gone again, I forced myself to Open the Damn Box Already and set up the Kindle. If this is going to be the year I start publishing, then first I have to at least see what an ebook looks like! And yes, there were technical hiccups, but no, the world didn’t end when I downloaded my first ebook.
In fact, I started to enjoy myself.
I’ve always had a bit of a weakness for instant gratification. And it doesn’t come any more instant than this – decide on a book you’d like to read, click the button and abracadabra! Within seconds it appears on your e-reader, ready to enjoy.
I got such a childish thrill out of it that I changed the name of my Kindle. Now, whenever I acquire a new book, I get the even more childish amusement of Amazon solemnly informing me that it is sending my purchase to “Marina’s Magic Book Box”. It makes me smile every time.
At the moment the Magic Book Box has about ten books loaded on to it. The first one I read was Lindsay Buroker’s The Emperor’s Edge, which is self-published. It’s a great read, but I can see why traditional publishing might have been reluctant to take it on. It’s a fantasy where the protagonist uses economic means rather than military or magical might to combat the bad guys. I was expecting the typical quest and swordplay, and it caught me by surprise. Refreshingly different, with good characters and snappy dialogue. You can try it for free, and there’s plenty more in the series if you like it. I’ve already bought the second one.
So I guess I’m a convert. I still love paper books, but there’s no need to choose. It’s not an either/or scenario. Paper, audio, ebooks, whatever they come up with in the future – they’re all just the delivery system.
It’s the story that counts.