Tuesday, January 22, 2008

King and Kindle

I've spent a lot of time since I returned from the UK getting caught up on all the magazines I missed while I was away. That means a couple In Style, one or two National Geographic Travel, and my bible, a half-dozen copies of Entertainment Weekly. This most recent issue concluded with Stephen King's column, and this week, the prolific Mr. King took on the Kindle.

For those of you who might not already know, the Kindle is the e-reader Amazon launched last fall. It got a lot of buzz in the e-world, mostly from e-authors wondering if this would make any difference in their sales. But you know what? I know a lot of people who, to this day, still have no idea what the Kindle is. They don't shop very often online, or when they do, it's for a specific item so they don't stick around and browse. They don't hang out on blogs or forums. They use the Internet as an occasional tool instead of as a way of life, whether it's for socializing or business. In fact, most of them have no idea there is any such thing as an e-book. Until my husband explains it to them, even at his work - where 100% of their business is web-based - people don't know about e-books.

King's article in EW is going to do what all the articles online hasn't. It's going to tell the general public that e-books are out there. King doesn't claim that the Kindle is perfect or that print books will go defunct. But he does extol the virtues that have been one of the biggest selling points of e-books all along - immediate gratification. Stuck on a train for a 45-minute commute? Go online, buy a book, have it in your reader - laptop, Kindle, whatever - almost instantly. More and more publishers are adding e-books to their catalog, so if you want that latest bestseller and your nearest bookstore is 45 minutes away (and yes, I know a lot of people in this particular boat), you don't have to waste gas to get it. Go online.

I feel like offering Mr. King a thank you. He's widely read in a popular entertainment magazine. He's educating more people than I could even hope of reaching, and that's only going to be a benefit to the e-world. Everybody wins.

Thank you, Stephen King.


Cathy said...

I discovered ebook's about four years ago, and started off reading them on my computer. Then I wised up about the convenience factor and bought myself an Ebookwise Reader, which I totally love, and extol the virtues of to all family members who ask. I recently flew to Chicago, and instead of the 10 paperbacks I would have crammed into my suitcase, I brought my reader, with 50 books of all my favorite genres, because you just never know what you might be in the mood for. Love that.

Vivien Dean said...

You really can't beat e-books for accessibility. Traveling with paperbacks is a pain, but I can have a whole boatload on my computer, which I'm going to travel with anyway.

I understand why people like to have the feel of a book in their hand, but there are too many advantages to e-books for me to ignore them. As someone who has moved overseas multiple times, having to cull books is a nightmare. By only buying those books in print that I know I'll want for years and years and years, I'm saving myself a lifetime of headaches.

Jamie said...

I have a horrible confession to make, as a British and American Lit person.

I hate reading dead-tree books. Hate, hate, hate. It's inconvenient and frustrating for me. If I could get all my books on the computer, I'd be a happy girl.