As those of you who follow my Sunday posts at Mad Genius Club are aware, I usually start my mornings trying to get enough caffeine into my body to function while I read the morning headlines and scan a select group of blogs. I also skim the topics on the kindle boards over at Amazon. That’s where the title of today’s blog comes from. This morning there’s a topic on the boards entitled “Worst Idea Ever” and the original poster goes on to rip the kindle — but doesn’t rip any other e-reader — as being the worst idea ever because it does nothing to improve on books.
Okay, to each his own. I know a lot of folks who have yet to embrace e-books. Others have but have yet to make the move to reading them on a dedicated e-book reader or smart phone. They read them on their laptops or desktop computers. For them, e-books are a novelty but have yet to become “real” books. Others lament the fact that e-readers don’t look, feel or smell like a “real” book.
As I said, to each his own.
Usually, threads like this don’t catch my eye. Or, if they do, I quickly leave them because I get tired of the attack dogs that come out. Like most unmoderated boards, the kindle boards have a few posters who feel they know it all and must share their exalted opinions. Others have simply grown tired of newbies asking the same questions over and over again without first searching the forum to see if the question has been answered. Then there are those like this poster who seem to like stirring the pot by posting something they have to realize will only bring out the dogs.
But it was a comment in response to the original post that caught my eye. To paraphrase, they said that what’s important are the stories, not the package they are delivered in.
I applaud this poster for cutting right to the heart of the matter. It is the story that’s important. It doesn’t matter what the form of delivery, how beautiful the cover art or how reasonable — or unreasonable — the price. If the story isn’t good, people won’t continue to buy it. Word-of-mouth will get around, warning readers that this story doesn’t live up to expectations. Think about that series of novels you used to love. Now, years into the series, the stories feel flat, stale. Do you recommend the later books or books earlier in the series and why? More importantly, do you rush out to buy the new book or wait?
To me, the introduction of digital books is far from the worst idea ever. Our children have been raised in an age when computers are an integral part of their lives. It will be more so for their children. E-books are a natural progression, in my opinion. Like them or not, they are here to stay — at least until the next technological leap.
No, the worst idea ever would be to try to prevent access to books simply because they aren’t available in traditional print. There are so many good books and short stories coming out in digital format only. Better, there are a number of books that have long been out-of-print now becoming available because their authors are willing to bring them out on their own.
Like it or not, e-books are here to stay. No, I don’t think they will bring about the end of “real” books. But I do think they will help encourage the younger generations to read simply because they are in a format these young men and women, these boys and girls, are comfortable with. After all, isn’t that really what we ought to be concerned with?
(Steps off soapbox, sees coffee mug is empty and prepares to go in search of more caffeine. Before I do, let me suggest you check back later today for another announcement of more titles that we will be publishing in both print and digital formats.)