We Carricks are a family of bibliophiles.
Martha Stewart would have a “clutter-buster” field day in our home. From one room to the next, our deco-theme is consistent: a rich display of Canadian yarns — both the literary and the woolen varieties.
In the past, there were times when I felt mildly threatened by the teetering stack of unread books that resided near my bed. I finally had to issue a general “disburse” order, for my own safety. Now the once mighty tower loiters in several smaller, sullen clusters, lurking with menace in the darker corners of our bedroom.
Divide and conquer, that was my strategy.
All those wonderful, powerful words. They’ve been part of my life forever. I can’t imagine travelling without my security bag full of books, and even though I don’t find as much reading time as I once did, I still would not be able to sleep without my friends.
For me, books are the literary equivalent of a favourite Teddy bear.
(I’ve been known to fall asleep hugging a book, just in case you think I’m exaggerating on the ‘Teddy bear’ reference.)
I’ve read books, written books, recommended books, reviewed books — heck, I’ve even published books.
Me and books, we’re close.
Because books comprise the essence of my world, this debate that rages throughout the literary world, (you know, the one about “Print” vs “e-Books”) used to cause me a measure of anxiety.
It was as if my closest friends were fighting amongst themselves.
Come on, words, I wanted to say. Can’t we all just get along?
Then I bought my Kindle.
Don’t get me wrong. I know there are other fine e-readers out there. I also own a Kobo, an iPad and an iPhone, all of which are perfectly acceptable e-readers in their own right.
However, I must in all honesty admit: it was Kindle that won me over.
With its ample library storage capability, its no-glare screen, perfect for reading in the sunshine, and its un-matched on-line boutique of low-cost (and sometimes free) e-books, Kindle quickly became my favourite Teddy bear.
It never ‘lurks’ beside my bed.
It never ‘towers’ over me in an intimidating manner.
When I want to read, it is simply there.
If I fall in love with a book or an author, I no longer have to wait till our next family bookstore outing. I can immediately order the next in the series, and be reading it in less than 60 seconds. (Conversely, if I’m disappointed in a book, I can simply delete it from my library, without those guilty feelings I used to suffer when removing a book from my home.)
My compulsion has taken me down a whole new avenue — one that is healthier, cleaner and less cluttered.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love my books. Those beautifully bound ‘word-temples’ will always hold a place of pride in my home, as well as in my heart.
Recently, we went on our family vacation. I meant to bring along my author-signed copy of The Book of Stolen Tales by Dorothy McIntosh, Penguin Canada 2013. The second in McIntosh’s Mesopotamian ‘antiquities thriller” series, I was itching to read Stolen Tales and was truly disappointed to discover it was missing from my luggage!
In the world of Kindle, however, such a tragedy need not go un-remedied.
A few keystrokes later, there is was — perched at the top of my reading list.
We’re all so busy these days. For those of us who harbour a passion for books, it isn’t always easy to be at the right place, at the right time.
Earlier this summer, I received an invitation to attend the launch of Sweet Karoline by Cathy Astolfo, Imajin Books 2013. Unfortunately, I simply couldn’t be there.
Once again, I was saved by the power of Kindle. Within seconds, I found myself on my deck, enjoying this taut psychological thriller by a master crime writer.
True, my arguments are purely subjective, and more than a little “tongue-in-cheek”. Not to mention, they read like an ad for Amazon. (For those of you who love your Nook, Sony, Kobo or tablet, I apologize for my admitted prejudice in favour of Kindle.)
Apology duly delivered, I am often asked by e-reader Newbies for my opinion on the best available e-readers. I admit, I am prone to make a blatant case for the Kindle.
1- In my humble opinion, Amazon Distribution can’t be beat. It offers Prime Membership and a fast-growing lending e-library. Readers can sample new authors for Free, through the KDP Select Promotional service. The selection of titles is mountainous — nearly as imposing as my former “Tower of Books”!
2- In a word: Kindle Apps. Well, that’s two words, and one of them isn’t even a word, really. However, Kindle Apps are the bomb. For anyone who isn’t familiar with this phenomenon, let me fill you in:
I have a free Kindle App on my iPad, another on my iPhone and one on my PC. They all sync, using Amazon’s ‘cloud’ service.
What this means is that, if I leave off reading at page one of chapter 3 of the latest title on my reading list, then all of my devices ‘know’ where I left off.
If I find myself, as I sometimes do, waiting in line at the supermarket or lounging in a medical office, I can simply pull out my phone or my tablet and resume reading — exactly where I left off.
Thanks to this marvellous technology, I no longer have to carry my “book” with me.
3- Ease of Kindle Publication. While some might argue that today’s e-publishing world has flooded the literary market with oh-so-much schlock, (and I won’t pretend there isn’t at least a measure of truth in that statement) it has also undoubtedly allowed many fine, previously-unheard-of authors to gain a footing in our industry.
On the flip-side, it has given readers the opportunity to experience a far broader range of literary art than any of us would have imagined possible a mere ten years ago.
This, my friends, is the very definition of a literary renaissance!
Donna Carrick is the author of three literary thrillers: The First Excellence, Gold And Fishes and The Noon God. These, along with her crime story anthologies (Sept-Iles and other places, Knowing Penelope) are all available at Amazon.
Donna’s e-Books have consistently climbed the Amazon Kindle rankings in the category of Canadian Literature, often holding the #1 spot.
At nearly 100,000 e-title downloads through Kindle alone, Donna’s e-book sales have far out-stripped ‘print’.
when my 1st kindle ‘died’ I replaced it within hours –
my hope is that some day one can shop amazon with cash – I could go to a book launch & buy the book for cash from the author there & upload it to my kindle on site –
That would be outstanding, Duncan! I’d love that.
I must say that I agree, Donna. Every once in a while I still like to snuggle with a paperback, but my shelves are too full to accommodate my reading addiction, so Kindle has saved me enormously. I also don’t have to pay for a second suitcase to carry my books on vacation. Kindle keeps them all right in my purse. As a self-published and traditionally published author, I think the ebook phenom is a great thing. I am perfectly capable of discerning for myself what’s good and what’s not my cup of tea. I don’t need a middle person for that. Let the ebooks roll! I like lots of choice. And I can sample for free before I spend a huge amount, like 99¢, for a book. Bring on the literary renaissance!
I recommend to my insomnia clients that they turn off screens two hours before bedtime except television (and I discourage that for other reasons). The exception: the traditional Kindle and old-school Nook because they’re not backlit. I love my Nook Color, but I think my next e-reader will be a Kindle for that reason and all the ones you mentioned above.
Exactly! For hours of reading without eye-strain, you can’t beat the devices that are not back-lit. For a short read, in a waiting room, for example, I love iPad and iPhone. But on the deck or at bed-time it’s always my Kindle 3G. I’ve never suffered eye-strain or insomnia from it. In my opinion, it’s the closest thing to reading a ‘book’ that you’ll find.