The Future is Now!

I was on the radio at 6.20am the other morning. Why? Well, I woke up and heard the breakfast program host asking about electronic books and I thought, “I know something about that!” So I called in and got chatting about one of the biggest changes in publishing since the Gutenburg Press. 

The first time I heard about eBooks was about 2000 and a woman at a writers’ group was talking about them. In Australia at that point the only option to read eBooks was on your computer. Fast forward a decade and my, how things have changed! IN 2008, Harlequin started putting out Medicals in dual format (print and eBook) and The Playboy Doctor’s Marriage Proposal was my very first eBook.  I put a link on my website and didn’t think too much about it. Had anyone asked me then if I’d have an eBook reader in 2011 I would have laughed at them and said, “Nope, can’t see myself with one.”

But I have a confession to make. I have two.  I blame my family. Yes, it’ all their fault:-)  I got an iPad in June because it was so much more than an eBook reader. Don’t tell DH but I’ve been having an affair with my iPad ever since. I adore it and I adore reading books on it. Backlit, adjustable fonts, adjustable background color, divine and lush covers that you can dive into. I’m starting to get excited about seeing my cover for The Boomerang Bride, my Carina Press single-title romance later in the year. 

Basically, there’s nothing about the iPad that I don’t like except that the family feel pretty much the same way about the iPad as I do and they keep using it!  I sometimes have to fight to read a book on it. So at Christmas I ummed and ahhed about a new tennis racquet and decided on a Kindle instead. I chose a cherry red cover with a built in light (so cute!) and it’s just like holding a paperback.  I love it too.

I’ve discovered that not all eBook formats are the same and that sometimes conversion needs to take place and that Calibre is fabulous for this.  I’ve learned how to put books on both devices and how they can talk to each other so if I am reading on one reader and then the next day pick up on the other, it syncs to where I am up to!  I love that I can go on a plane with lots of books in something that is the size of one paperback and not worry about breaking the luggage weight limit with books.  It was last June when I was packing for Bali that I first thought, “I think I need an e Reader.”

People who have never read an eBook often say to me, “I couldn’t possibly do that. I must hold the book. I must smell the book and I’d hate the screen.”  To be honest, I don’t really notice the screen at all and I get into the story. To me, old paperbacks make me sneeze and I don’t like the yellowed pages so that part of reading has never been a draw for me.  My biggest worry was that I would have to give up reading in the bath but Angela James from Carina Press came up with a high-tech solution— put the device in a zip lock baggie! It works a treat.

I ‘m not a “this way only” person so I can see myself reading both print and eBooks and happily swapping between the two. What does drive my buying of books is price. The eBook needs to cost less than the print version for me to buy it. Last night I bought a print copy of a book because it was $4 cheaper than the eBook. As a consumer and an author that seemed plain wrong but I think the publishing world is only just starting to come to grips with this massive change. Harlequin however has been a market leader in this area.

As an author, I’m told that romance readers have been quick adopters of this new reading technology so I’m asking this— who of you out there has an eBook reading device and what do you love about it? Or if you don’t have one, are you thinking about it?  Do you borrow books from the library on it? Do you buy more books than before your device or did that stay the same? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Oh and PS, my tennis racquet just broke and I had to get a new one yesterday, but that’s a blog for another day because I think I have fallen in love with another bit of equipment!


2 thoughts on “The Future is Now!

  1. Hi Fiona,

    I much prefer print books. Why? Because I like to hold a print copy in my hands. Also, I mostly read in bed at night, and I can’t imagine holding an ebook reader instead of an actual book.

    That said, I won’t say never – I have seriously thought about getting a Kindle, and will probably cave in the not-so-distant future.

    I’m with you re price. An ebook should be way cheaper than a print book as the overheads are so much less.


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