I was quick to fall in love with e-readers from the very first time I read about this stuff called e-ink that had been developed and wouldn’t hit the market for two or more years. Then, the Sony Librie came out. It was so far outside of my price range, but then other devices started hitting the shelves. Some were color. Some boasted higher refresh rates, more variations of grey color, more memory. There was the Kindle and the Nook. It wasn’t until a few years after all these devices were on the market that I got my first one… the Nook (honestly because I could put any file I wanted on it and was not limited to just Kindle books). I read all of the Harry Potter books on it (I did not let a little thing like the fact that they weren’t available for purchase on the Nook stop me). Then I read all of the Anne Rice vampire novels. I kept reading my favorite series of books… one right after the other. Marathon sessions of reading to put even the most die-hard Netflix fan to shame consumed my life.
And then, I picked up a paper book. It was different after reading so many ebooks. I loved the smell of the book. I liked that people actually wanted to talk about my book, rather than the device I was reading it on.
Eventually, I bought Nooks for my sister and my dad. We all upgraded our Nooks once, and then twice. Now, I have a Kindle paperwhite that sits in the bottom of my purse. The battery lasts forever. I have more books on it than I have time to read.
I’m not strongly for ebooks or strongly for paper books. I think there’s a time and place for both. I passed up a powerful new desktop for a gadget-laden ultrabook. I’d rather lug around a 3-pound laptop than an 8-pound one. I’d rather laptop on the couch with the freedom to move to the kitchen than be stuck in one place. Sometimes, I’d rather not lug around a heavy book in my purse, and the Kindle is nice for that. Sometimes, though, I just really, really, really need to own the hard-cover, first edition, author-signed version of a book.
And so, even though I published the book I wrote for my nieces on Kindle, I also ordered paper copies. If there was a sense of accomplishment at finishing the book, actually publishing it for anyone to purchase (or ignore) eclipsed that sense of accomplishment. When I got home from work to see the slightly worn box by the front door, I talked to myself… “Oh! Those must be the books I ordered for the nieces! How exciting! I can’t wait to open it!” Then, I used the keys in my hand to immediately open the box. The books were covered in brown packing paper, and I tossed it out of the back onto the back of the couch. There! My book! My name on the cover. My silly title. My amateur clip-art illustration on the cover. But still mine. I opened the cover, careful not to crease the thick paper spine. And there… there were the words that I had written.
Initially, I thought I would only publish the books on Kindle… because all the nieces have iPads and Galaxy tablets. After holding the real thing in my hand, though… I am so glad I decided to get real copies published. It officially clutter in my home now. A little reminder that I come across on the coffee table, under the coffee table, on the bookshelf that 2014 was the first year that I published an entire story– beginning, middle, and end.
It’s got a terrible cover. It’s got typos. There are parts that need to be made clearer. The story needs work, still. But, for an idea that I had in late October and fully executed in time for Christmas, it’s just fine.
Ebooks are amazing little files that let me carry around books in the bottom of my purse… more books than I can read in a lifetime, but as an officially published author, even a completely amateur, self-published author, I have to say that there is something special about the printed, hard-copy book that you can hold in your hand.