Sunday, December 27, 2009

I own a Kindle!

I got it!
I got it!
I got it!
I got a Kindle for Christmas!
Yes, yes. I know. Kindles are the demise of the publishing world.
With these electronic gadgets in hand, no one will ever buy a physical book again.
All kinds of literary geniuses will be out of work--big publishers, indie presses, authors, editors, agents, bookstores.
Amazon will have the corner on the e-publishing market and will dictate prices, terms, everything, putting all other publishers out of business. It will be the end of an era. No more freedom of written speech.
It will all be gone.
As a writer, I should be screaming.
But I don't believe it.
A Kindle, for me, is for the books I would normally read and then pass along.
It's for the fast-reads.
The pure entertainment.
The books that I read simply to get to the end.
And thanks to the Kindle, I will be unable to pass these books along.
My friends and family will have to go out and buy these particular books themselves because they are not getting their hands on my Kindle. Maybe they will get Kindles too, and then they will be unable to pass their copies along.
Who benefits from that?
Yes. The right to share and resell books is something that we have cherished as a culture from the beginning of printed time. But here's what will happen: e-book prices will have to come down, way down.
Buying an e-book will be cheaper than buying a used book.
And guess what Amazon?
Eventually, you will have to share.
Just like physical books, e-books will become available through all e-book publishers, which will pop up all over the place. Our capitalistic society will not allow this monopoly to continue. It will start with the black market, just like it did in the e-music industry.
Pirates will hack into Amazon's book files, convert its books into formats compatible with Sony readers and other e-book devices, and either give them away or sell them cheap. It will all come to a head in court and the industry will be forced to change.
And people will still crave physical books.
I know I do.
And I got plenty of real books for Christmas: the latest from John Irving and Philip Roth. Immigrant, Inc., a nonfiction book co-authored by my dear friend Robert Smith.
Another novel with a title that escapes me.
And I will still buy physical books.
A novel by a new friend, Beth Hoffman, is due for release Jan. 12. I will be at her first book signing that same day with five copies in hand of Saving CeeCee Honeycut, waiting in line for her autograph.
No, my Kindle could never replace the real thing.
It will simply make reading more fun and more portable.
It will allow me to read while my twins play at Jumping Joey's or while I'm waiting in the parking lot for the older kids to be released from their Architecture by Children club or while my oldest son is practicing basketball.
It will allow me to read more books and read them more often.
And I will pay for it.
I will probably pay lots for it because I will be reading lots more.
The Kindle is not the demise of the publishing book.
The Kindle is the answer for the publishing world.
And the answer for time-strapped, stay-at-home, writer moms like me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I am a coffee addict, or am I?

Winds are gusting at about 50 miles-an-hour so far today and the weather folks are warning us to prepare for power outages. The last time we had gusts this strong--the effects of Hurricane Ike---we lost power for four days.
My first thought?
I'd better brew fresh coffee.
Four kids, and that was my first thought.
I'm an addict.
It's time I admitted it.
In my defense, we do have gas heat and a gas stove. Even without power we will be warm and I can cook. So really, all I can do to prepare is to stock up on batteries and candles and maybe get some ice to keep the milk cold. I could do that now. The twins are at the sitters' house for another half hour.
But I don't want to.
I just keep thinking about that coffee that will done brewing any minute.
Coffee with milk and one Splenda.
Drinking it at the kitchen table with today's newspaper spread out before me.
Maybe it's not so much a caffeine addiction as it is an addiction to what that cup of coffee stands for. I rarely wrote on deadline without coffee beside me in my full-time journalism days. I walked to the cafeteria for coffee whenever I needed to think.
I met my friends in coffee shops.
I wrote good chunks of my novel in an Arizona Starbucks.
My husband and I often end date nights in coffee shops.
So maybe that's it.
Maybe coffee stands for an identity that started to fade when I had my first two kids and that sometimes seems forever lost now that I have the twins.
But I don't have time to think about that now.
The coffee is done.
The clock in ticking.
The newspaper is waiting.