eReaders are the sign of the decay of the written word as we know it and the onset of the literary apocalypse.
In other words, I don’t like them very much. I am that curmudgeon who declares that the written word is best on the printed page. Who loves comparing the art on different book covers. Who delights in smelling the binding of a book for the whiff of fresh paper and glue.
And yet, I’m thinking of purchasing an eReader.
It’s battle between my pride in holding actual, wonderful, tactile books vs. a desire to encourage new authors in the fantastical genres. The thing is, a lot of books are being published via eBook, especially on the little-known website you may have heard of called Amazon.com. And with the advent of Kindle Direct Publishing, it seems like pretty much anyone can get their words online.
A lot can and has been said about how bad this is for the future of literature. No more is there a protective barrier of editors, agents, and publishing houses to filter through the masses of flotsam for the gems of literature. Now anyone can get their ideas out there, no matter how ill-fashioned, unpolished, or frankly illiterate they are.
I agreed with these points.
And then I worked at a bookstore. There I learned first-hand that many publishing houses aren’t interested in publishing the best of the best, just the best-selling. I flipped through books with spelling errors, grammar mistakes, publishing glitches. Within the pages were gaping plot holes and thin characterization. There were whole series of books created when the original book would have been sufficient.
I don’t blame the publishing houses. In this day and age, their financial security relies even more heavily upon getting marketable material. Christian publishing houses, though admirably conscious of their call to publish solid, Christ-centered fiction, are not exempt from this basic financial pillar. The result is that, if a type of literature is an easy sell to readers, they will produce more of it. If another type of literature, perhaps in the fantastical vein, is a risky sell to readers, then publishers are less likely to take a chance. This situation results in many writers of Christian fantastical fiction peddling their wares to much smaller publishing houses with higher mark-up costs on books, the even more expensive print-on-demand, or else to eBooks,
I firmly believe in the growing quality of Christian fantastical fiction, and I want to support up and coming authors. However, I’m also on an underpaid teacher’s budget. eBooks are the only answer. And, I could download books to my laptop, I have no desire to burn my eyes out with a backlit computer screen.
So it’s back to the dreaded eReader. The bane and blessing of my reading existence. And now, a purchase I’m planning for.
What are your thoughts? Any recommendations for which one to buy?
Taste of the Fantastical
The elusive Bread-and-Butterfly.
“Its wings are thin slices of Bread-and-butter, its body is a crust, and its head is a lump of sugar.” (It lives on) “Weak tea with cream in it.” It can never find any, so it always dies. -from Through the Looking Glass
Someday, I will open a sanctuary for old books and Bread-and-Butterflies.
For now, I will continue to: Read the Extraordinary. Responsibly. (Even on eReader)