Coffee, Tea or Kindle?

Power on or crack the spine? Turn off or put down? Slide right or turn the page? This is the battle for the hearts and minds of book lovers.

kindle and books
Photo credit: afantasyreader.com

Does the Kindle Spell the End of Books in Print?

The Kindle, so named because the developers likened it to “lighting a fire,” heralded a revolution in the world’s reading habits and changed the face of publishing forever. Sales of in print books peaked in 2007, the same year the Kindle was introduced to the public. Prior to the Kindle, e-books were barely a blip on the radar in the publishing industry. Today, almost 30% of Americans own an e-reader device. What combination of factors could ultimately spell the end of books in print as we know it?

 The change in people’s reading habits. The increasing fondness for e-reading has impacted the books in print business, but it has by no means gutted it. What remains to be seen is how the Kindle effect will play out with new generations of readers; those who have been weaned on computers and prefer getting all of their information on a monitor, even a small monitor.

 The dearth of retail outlets. Also worrisome is the demise of nearly 2,000 independent book stores since the Internet and electronic publishing took a foothold. Again, each new generation is experiencing an e-world, not a world of bricks and mortar stores. For some children, reading a book on a Kindle is the norm. Going to a real book store and buying a bound, printed book is an oddity. The more people that buy books online and read e-books exclusively; the greater the chance that retail book stores will go the way of the dinosaur.

 The cost of publishing. One doe as have to consider the exorbitant costs of print publishing versus electronic publishing. Not to mention the trees. Although both e-books and print books undergo type style, page layout, graphics and similar necessary book design procedures, there’s no getting around the fact that a printed book costs significantly more to produce and ship. Printed books also incur the cost of unsold returns and warehousing.

The Good News for Bound Book Bibliophiles

Some books will never lend themselves to e-readers. The Griffin & Sabine trilogy is a good example; they were tactile art books that required readers to remove letters and postcards in order to read the book; that cannot be replicated electronically. Over sized, glorious art books will never translate well into small e-readers. And, the bound, printed book still holds certain advantages:

 They won’t break when dropped.
 They don’t need batteries.
 They won’t malfunction.
 They don’t cost $100 or more to replace.
 They will always smell like books.

How do you feel? Would it matter to you if books were no longer available in print? As for me, I still want to curl up in bed with a cup of tea and a real book.

Paulette Zander’s short stories have been published in Crack the Spine, Everyday Fiction, 62nd Stories, Pearce Publications and Flash Fiction World. She is a guest blogger for Evo Cleaning, AV4 Home, Coblands and many other websites. Follow her blog, Ink to You.

Google Glasses: Do I Really Need to Augment My Reality?

crazy glasses

Google glasses will be available next year for about $1,500. I’ve taken the virtual tour, and I’ve decided my everyday reality is so boring that no augmentation is going to help it.

I do, however, love the idea of popping on the glasses and giving a constant stream of voice commands that are linked to the Internet. I’ve been carrying a “Google notebook” for years; I jot down everything I want to Goggle when I get home to my computer.

With Google glasses I can get rid of the notebook and get all of my questions answered immediately. Because I shouldn’t have to wait to find out the difference between a dwarf and a midget, or if it is really possible to remove skin tags with duct tape.

Get a feel for wearing Google glasses:
http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-it-feels/

I Have a Following

ducklings

I was brought up in the fifties with a Remington typewriter and a pen. Now, after 2 billion people have started their own blogs, I’ve jumped into the fray. The advantage of being a narcissist: my voice is unique and will rise to the top of 2 billion blogs.

Writing, and loving to write, is not enough anymore. A writer today must have at least a modicum of tech knowledge, and more important, a writer must be “connected.”

I just found out what a flash drive was a few years ago—now I have to figure out how to “market” my blog. I’ve bumbled around and I have managed to link the blog to a bunch of social websites, most of which I’d never heard of and still don’t understand the point of, but tonight I really messed up.

I discovered something called “networked blogs.” The article stated that this was a “must have” marketing tool. As with Tumblr, Stumbled Upon, Twitter, Pinterest, et al, I created an account and put in all the proper tags, html codes, appropriate URLs and my mother’s maiden name.

When I checked my blog to see how it looked, I discovered that I had followed my own blog.

That’s like voting for yourself for homecoming queen. No, it’s even worse—at least when you vote for yourself, no one knows. (Yes, of course I voted for myself for homecoming queen. It was the only write-in ballot. The homecoming committee snickered at me for months.) Let’s face it, when you follow your own blog, the whole planet knows. It’s as bad as liking your own Facebook post.

Are there such things as homecoming queens anymore? I hope not. It’s so ridiculous. After all, one of the major reasons for rebelling against England was to do away with kings and queens. Then we turn around and invent ways for Americans to be kings and queens. Well, mostly queens.

In the fifties there was even a television show called, “Queen for a Day.” Befuddled housewives were adorned with a fuzzy, queenly robe and a fake crown. The newly crowned queen also won the thing she begged for, along with a few bonus prizes. Of course, the woman who won the fakery had to demean herself in front of millions of viewers. Each hard luck story was judged by something called an “applause meter.” The women vying for the crown had to divulge their personal and financial tale of woe; if the audience clapped loudest for her, she “won.”

Let’s just say a woman’s best chance at being chosen queen for a day was to have a family with multiple, serious issues and the ability to cry her eyes out. The queen then got to sit on a “throne” and watch as her prizes were announced.

There is no equivalent show today, but we still have hundreds of millions Americans who glue themselves to the TV to watch any royal wedding or funeral. Wait, I stand corrected: any British royal wedding or funeral.
What’s that about? No one cares if the King of Sweden or the Queen of Timbuktu gets married. After 237 years, there remains some odd fascination amongst many of our colonists with the British royal family. Americans say they think the very idea of royal blood is hogwash, but they’ll get up at 3 a.m. to watch a royal wedding live from London.

Whatever. I’m following my own blog until I can figure out how to unfollow it. That’s a bit like unfriending myself. But then, unfollowing and unfriending were never part of my lexicon. And that’s another thing; spellcheck should recognize the words “unfollow” and “unfriend.” Enough with the red squiggly lines. They are now words, people.

If you visit my blog, you will see at the bottom right corner of the page, my newly installed “Networked Blogs” icon. And you will see that I am networked to myself. Yes, it looks like I have voted for myself. Call me Queenie.

by Paulette Zander Ink to You