On E Readers and technological panic.

I was reading around (I lost the link) and came upon yet another article hand wringing about ereaders and ebooks being the death of the paper book.

When I see these arguments almost invariably it comes down to, this is not what I want to do and NOBODY SHOULD.

Since I got a kindle for Christmas it occurs to me that people are really freaking out over nothing.

Rarely do I see any of the panicking ebook freakouts acknowledge how much more accessible a lot of books are for a lot of people.

Let’s talk cost first of all.

I have a metric ton of .99 cent and free books on my kindle. Some of them I got for shits and giggles, some were on sale and others on a whim. Frankly I do not make enough money to read everything I want. And at this point libraries don’t fully serve my needs.

Also it has meant that when I can’t afford the hardcover or first print of a paperback I have other options which is great.

And unfortunately a lot of the critique of ebooks/readers is pretty ableist.

What about people who can’t see well? Elderly people? What about the other functions so many ereaders can do?

I was talking about this with someone who is severely dyslexic and they have an app that reads to them. Hell yeah that means they now have access to ALL the books rather than a few.

Why would that ever be bad?

Then there’s the whole question of “quality”.

I hate that question.

Who cares really if someone wants to read Sasquatch porn on their ereader. It’s not my cup of tea but if someone wants to read it, awesome they are reading.

A lot of it seems like empty fapping while moaning about how awful something one personally might not be into is.

It reminds me of when writers thought that the ease of indie publishing and blogging etc would let in the dirty heathens without publishing deals.

I was recently reminded of this by one of those hand wringing articles about how awful literature is where the deeply coded language basically said OH NO WHERE ARE THE WHITE MEN.

I just kind of shake my head.

I am really can’t get behind such panicked signs of change. The lit world can’t be only those who are let in forever.

It is so vast, I do actually believe it is big enough for everyone.

I always just want to pat people and tell them to calm down. Literature is gonna be okay. It might not be the literary canon you are used to but that’s good for folks.

Oh also soon I have lots of writing news, AND a round up of books and stuff that I am really excited about.

To that end if y’all have stuff you want me to read or want promoted drop the link here.

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2 thoughts on “On E Readers and technological panic.

  1. Thank you for this! I was resistant to getting an ereader. Anyone who sees my home can readily see my devotion to books. There were a number of reasons why I couldn’t imagine wanting to read from a screen. Part of it was in my mind I pictured a screen like a smaller version of a computer screen. It’s true that some ereaders are like that. The glare of a screen is hard for me.

    Then my husband bought me a Kindle for my birthday, the kind that had the eInk rather than a computer-like screen. Once I saw how easy it was to read on that with my failing vision and how I could adjust the font (suddenly EVERY book is a large print book and they don’t make many of those any more), I was sold. It gave reading back to me. I can read through most migraines, all but the very worst when I have to just close my eyes in a dark room. NO GLARE. It is easier on my eyes than a hardbound paper book.

    I realize that what I love about books most is access to the actual content.

    What I still prefer books for are cookbooks, mainly. I like the ones with large pictures.

    I can borrow ebooks from my library without leaving my home! For someone who is mostly home bound, this is a lifesaver.

    Sometimes ebooks go on sale so not just the indie-published ones are cheap. If you watch for promotional deals you can find well known authors’ ebooks for low prices. Often the first book in the series will have a very low price to hook you in.

    Following the lawsuit over price fixing (where I got a refund) ebooks are usually cheaper than the hardbound version and the price drops when the paperback version is released. Only buying used paperbacks is cheaper, and I can’t read paperbacks very well anymore. The print is too small.

    I’m sure there was a huge resistance when we moved from scrolls to bound books. What remains true is that the content is always more important than the form. Books will always be here–we still have scrolls! But let us enjoy our ebooks in peace instead of looking at us like we’re the barbarian hordes at the gate, torches in hand.

    I still have a huge library of books in my home. But I’m thankful all my new books are on one device instead of crowding out the rest of my belongings. They also remain on the server so I can download them to a new device at any time if the original wears out or gets stolen.

  2. Totally on board with what you’ve said here. While I enjoy having a physical book, I also like getting books for cheap or more conveniently on my kindle too. Or comics can come in good-priced bundles for an e-reader.

    I suppose I should take the (belated) opportunity to shout-out my small press, since you asked: http://www.nouveaunostalgia.com

    The last book we put out was IRAQI HEADACHES, a collection of poetry by Saif Alsaegh. And yeah, my own book of flash fiction, INFINITE DISPOSABLE, is there too. But take a look if you’re so inclined.

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