Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ramble: Books and E-Books

I own seventeen e-books. (And how do you spell and punctuate that word?!)

On principle, I disapprove of e-books. The fact that my copy of the book will go away when the technology goes away, the fact that I can't bring them to the used bookstore, the fact that I can't lend them or only lend them so many times, the fact that some books could go to a pure e-book publication and that when those books go out of copyright they could be flat-out lost forever. All that is bad.

But I downloaded the Kindle reader for Mac and for my phone, and bought a cheap out-of-copyright e-book to play with them with. And then I bought another e-book at a moderately discounted price. And then I bought one at the ridiculous (given the extremely low per-unit cost for e-books) full price.

And now, a few months later, I have seventeen of the things. Three technical, two how-to, one self-help, one reference, five novels, three biographical nonfiction, two "other nonfiction."

So I disapprove of them, but I have seventeen, and I'm reading more than I was before, and reading relatively new books (which I rarely did before), and authors are making more money from me than before, because I used to mostly buy used books. So, well, maybe it's not such a bad thing. Except financially, for me. Well, and for my local bookstore. Eep.

My original plan, as much as it could be detected mixed in with my denial that I was buying e-books at all, was to restrict my electronic buying only to those books that I don't want to own permanently in paper form anyway. There are a lot of these. The shelves are full, and while I never actually want to get rid of any book, most books must go, promptly after I've read them. Or if they stay, something else must go. Turning my head left and right, I see two stacks, representing about fifteen books, that are destined for the used bookstore. And that's just what hasn't been boxed yet.

Come to think of it, fifteen is almost the count of what I've read for the 100+ Reading Challenge. So given that some of my 100+ books were electronic, and assuming that I actually drag myself to the used bookstore, I'm more than keeping up with one book in, one book out. Yay me!

Um. Where was I? Oh, yes. The e-book versus paper judgement has failed three times, which is a rather high rate. I bought Betsy Lerner's Forest For The Trees (one of the "other nonfiction", about writing, though there's plenty of biographical stuff in there too) in e-book form, and I liked it so much that now I want it permanently.

I should have learned my lesson, but, no, I just downloaded and finished her Food and Loathing, and while I'm letting my impressions settle out before I rush to spend more money, I think I'll want a paper copy of that one, too. I think that my recent post about writing while grumpy/cranky/angry reminded me of Betsy Lerner and sent me looking for her latest book--while Forest For The Trees wasn't all that grumpy, her blog often is, and so is Food and Loathing, and I love her writing, grumpy or non. It makes me wonder if, like it or not, I should grab a keyboard when I'm gnashing my teeth and see what comes out.

And I'm in the middle of Dominique Browning's Slow Love, and judging from my fondness for two of her other books (Paths of Desire and Around the House and in the Garden) I'm also going to want that in paper form. (As a side note, I find myself wondering if I should email to the author that her website makes it impossible to link to a single specific book. Would she care?)

So, really, I have no grounds for claiming surprise in the last two cases. Frankly, I just wanted the books and I wanted them now, so I downloaded them.  I tell myself that I'm supporting the author. And the publisher--I have no problem supporting publishers either, I'm just more excited about supporting the authors. And by buying the things a second time on paper, I can even ease my guilt about the local bookstore, because I can order them there. So, really, everybody but my pocket wins. That'll have to be good enough.

Roundup: Kindle review from All I Am - A Redhead.

Image: By Andreas Praefcke. Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Beginning: Coffee Break

Again, breaking the block with "post something!" This has even less plot than usual--it's the beginning of a possibly surreal story, and I don't know the ending yet.

"What? What? What do you want?" demanded the waitress behind the counter, all Alice in Wonderland in blond hair and blue dress.

Henry halted, then resumed, his approach to the cash register. Er. ""

"There's no decaf. None at all. We are out of decaf."

Maybe a smile would help. He tried one. "Okay."

It didn't. Help, that is. Alice advanced on mug and coffee, over-filled the one with the other, and deposited the dripping result in front of him. "One nineteen."

Henry put two singles down at a safe distance from the spreading puddle, and watched as they vanished into her pocket. She was at the other end of the restaurant, facing the window, before he recovered himself enough to murmur, "Keep the change," and lean over the mug for a safety slurp before picking it up.

Two more sips as he scanned the available resources. He finally ventured, "Sugar?"

She flapped a hand toward the counter, without turning.

"No, see, that's Sweet'N Low, and..." He broke off as she turned to shove her way through the swinging door to the kitchen. He watched the flapping door settle, and finally tore open one of the pink packets. He was reaching for a stirrer when she appeared on the other side of the window.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

The state of blogging discussion (Rant Rant Ranty Rant)

Just a link to a rant on the other blog.

Image: By Hannibal Poenaru. Wikimedia Commons.