Girls Write Out
Thursday, November 29, 2007


Some of you have undoubtedly heard about Amazon's Kindle, the new generation e-book. Basically, it's a hand-held device you can download books on anytime from anyplace. My purpose here isn't to lay out the pros and cons. (If you're interested in reading more about that, here's a great blog about it )

Some people think books will never go the way of vinyl records, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, and VHS tapes because of the way we feel about our beloved books. We readers love the notion of curling up with a good book. Just the thought gives us the warm fuzzies. How will it feel to curl up with a hand-held device? Some people (Ahem, Colleen) think such a device could never replace the book.

I'd like to propose that perhaps it's not the physical book we love so much as the memories they stir in us. Let me give an example. My grandparents lived in an old home that was in very bad shape by the time I came along. Peeling floors and carpet, ancient sinks and appliances. There was nothing aesthetically pleasing about this home. However, I have a host of pleasant memories there. Playing Monopoly on the floor with Grandma, swinging on the swing, snapping green beans on the porch, climbing the trees. My memories of the house make it a special place. The house stirs up pleasant thoughts because I associate it with good times.

Could it be that books do that for us? I'm not saying the Kindle is that device, but I think it's getting closer to what may eventually take the place of books. I can see a day when kids don't carry heavy backpacks but intead have an e-reader from which they can access all their text books and keep their daily planner and maybe even store their homework on it. I can see this young techie generation totally digging such a device--I know this mom would.

Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:09 AM  
  Comments (23)
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At 10:46 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

It's interesting to think about, isn't it? I wonder what the libraries would do if it came to that. It's kind of mind boggling.

The technologically-challenged (me) will be kicking and screaming at this new development. I mean, it sounds great, but what about when you're at the climax of the book, just when the murderer is about to be caught and your techie thing goes kaput? Then what?

My nerves just can't handle it.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Kay said...

ok, for text books, it's a great idea. I still have troubles with my shoulder from lugging my college books around.
For my personal reading. No.
I want to turn the pages, and smell the book smell. I have never, and don't plan to ever, read an e-book. Even reading long blog posts irritates my eyes and brain.
So, I will be the old lady with all the books while everyone else is "cool".

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Kay said...

I just looked at Al Gansky's blog and you should check it out. It fits great with this post!

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I could totally get into it for research! I'd love a search feature, that kind of thing. But I wouldn't take something like that into the bath or to the beach.

For fiction, I like to browse for a good book. It would be tough to do that electronically.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

No! I'll never give in to that kind of technology. One of my favorite places to read is in the bathtub. If you drop a book in there it'll eventually dry out (the pages may be a little wrinkled and if you take it to a book signing the author may ask what happened to the book....hypothetically of course!) if you drop a techy gadgety thing it'll probably never work again, and after shocking you YOU may never work again either.

I *heart* my books.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

If enough customers want it, I'm sure that Amazon will eventually put the Kindle in a water tight case. I suppose a person could put it in a Ziploc bag is she is concerned about dropping it in the tube, the swimming pool or anything else that is filled with water. It isn't a very good idea to drop a $400 computer into the water, but they too can be dried out, sometimes. As for the potential of electrocution, battery operated digital electronics operate at low enough energy levels that there is no risk of being shocked, much less electrocuted by the device.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

I agree with Kay- textbooks, AWESOME. I wouldn't lose my assignments and it would be so much easier to take notes on such a device. But what about flipping around to find the notes? Hm.

And reading a book is the one time I don't have to look at a screen!

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

I don't think taking notes on such a device would be quite the same as with a pen and paper, unless we are talking about using an eletronic pen as well. In college, the most important thing about taking notes was actually taking the time to copy down what was on the board. I had one class were the whole thing was in Power Point and we were given copies of the Power Point presentation. I learned little in that class. I fear that having a device for people to have notes on will encourage professors and teachers to just tranfer their notes to the student's machines. They will not learn that way.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

My husband and I have had this debate a LOT. I love to read. We are getting ready to move to South America. I'm insisting on taking my books. Lots and lots of books. Hundreds of them. He doesn't want to take so many. He said we can download them onto the computer. Not for me! I'm with Kay, reading for long periods on the computer gives me a headache (screen glare I think). He is sure they'll come out with something that will look and feel enough like a book to make us bibliophiles happy. We'll see. But for now, I want hard copy!!! I also like to read in the tub, and see problems with that application with a device instead of a book.
But I do agree that having textbooks on them would be SUPER handy. LOVE that application!

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Rhonda/WA state said...

Back in the 70's I remember kicking and screaming against the computer. Well, here I am, still not real tech savvy but have come around.

For the kids not having to carry 30 lb. backpacks, great! (We finally got the rolling type.) For me, no, I'm not interested in reading from a computer.

I'm not for this new "thingy" but I guess one should never say never!

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

No, for me, it's the book. I have antique copies of "Far From the Madding Crowd" and "Camille". It's the beauty of the book for me. The simplicity of the pages. The feeling of accomplishment closing the book. Because I work on the computer, I will never feel the same emotion with a computerized system. I'm not saying it won't happen, just saying that I won't be a part of it. : )

At 11:58 PM, Blogger Ausjenny said...

i hadn't really heard to much of this yes i have heard of ebooks but had no idea what they are like.
As for Libraries there are still people who cant afford the books or would they be alot cheaper to download.
i would hate to see books go i like them and its easy to go grab one.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Libraries are already there! If it hadn't been for Overdrive, a new addition here, I wouldn't have thought so. I purchased an MP3 for the library audio downloads and noticed that eBooks can be downloaded from the same system. This has caused me to look into the eReaders.

At one time, I was one who didn't want these changes. I've changed my mind. That said, I am not impressed with Amazon's newest Kindle. There are too many flaws to that design. But in time, I can see things changing.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

In the long run, ebooks will probably not decrease the price of books, but rather increase the price of books. The only thing that will decrease the price of books is for more people to buy books.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Actually, Timothy, more people buying books wouldn't lower the price. The books that sell millions of copies aren't cheaper. Even at Sam's Club, the newest Harry Potter book was expensive.E-books will cost less because there won't be physical costs like paper and cover, printing costs, etc. Those costs dropped off will affect the price.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

Colleen, on my self at home is a copy of the third edition of Discrete-Event System Simulation. It is a textbook and while textbooks tend to be expensive, this particular book is one of the smallest textbooks I own. It has 600 6"x9" pages. I paid $100 for it. Why? Because there really aren't that many people who are interested in Discrete-Event Simulation. If a million people had bought the book then they might have sold it for much less.

Novels are a different issue. Even though there are millions of Harry Potter books that have been sold, the money from those sales is going for other things besides the production of Harry Potter books. Publishers us the money from their top selling books to fund books that are not making a profit. Only the top 10%-20% of all books make money for a publisher. If more people were buying books or if people were buying more books then the top 10% would not have to carry as great of a load and the prices of all books could be reduced.

While eBooks eliminates the cost printing cost, future features in eBooks will require the skills of software engineers and electrical engineers. I don’t know if you have looked at job listings lately, but engineers get paid significantly more than the guy with black ink stuck in his fingernails at Joe’s Print Shop. Then there is the issue of the amount of skilled labor available. If eBooks catch on, the features that people want may be in such high demand that publishers are forced to reduce the number of books they print each year and raise the price of the books they do to make up the difference. Of course, if people are happy with the current state of eBook readers, which they aren’t, then there is no reason to think that eBooks will push the price up.

At 7:56 PM, Blogger Rachel Holliday said...

Have you ever been told you are slightly argumentative? Hope you are a lawyer. :)

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Kay said...

So, I don't know much about how these things work. If someone in a foreign country, say China, has one, can people tell whether they have a Bible on there or not? I guess even now with the internet people could read the Bible, or do those countries monitor the internet for things like that?

At 10:21 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

Good question, Kay! I have no idea what the answer is though.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Just Nancy said...

As a writer whose first two (and so far only) books were published by an epublisher, any well done e-reader is exciting for me. Most of my family and friends would NEVER read an electronic book if they had to do it on a computer or even one of the old e-readers, like the one I had that caused eye strain and had a battery that ran out even if the thing wasn't on. I love the idea of a reader that simulates the look of paper and I hope and pray this catches one, especially for the reason you mentioned about being able to put a backpack full of books on this one small device. When the price of this goes down, it will be much easier to curl up on the sofa with a warm blanket, a cup of coffee and this and get the same pleasure as reading a paper book in the same venue.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

Rachel Holliday,
Has anyone ever told me that I am slightly argumentative? No, people normally use harsher language. It is never my intention to come across as argumentative, though I am aware that I do at times. As a dear old friend used to say, “There are two things I hate. I hate when people tell me I am wrong when I am right and I hate when people tell me I am wrong when I am wrong.”

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Timothy, I prefer "she enjoys a good debate". Argumentative is so negative. My dad and I will send everyone away from the table, and we're having a grand old time discussing politics. We'll look up and everyone's gone. LOL

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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