Monday, January 3, 2011

Why It's So Easy

I read an update from the kindly Mr. Aaron G. Niz about the speed of change, and how easily the print world is shifting to digital.

I'm 26.  My mom taught me to read when I was 3 years old and I never looked back.  I remember, the summer before I even started kindergarten, laying on the couch with my huge compendium (Run, Spot, Run!) of Dick and Jane stories, and a dictionary.  I came from a single parent household and after the 4th word I asked my mom to explain to me, she handed me the dictionary and said, "If you really don't understand, then ask me!"  Maybe it was a tough way to do it, but I love a good challenge.

I can still picture that grumpy old water heater radiator under the window.  Outside, down the incredibly sharp hill (you couldn't walk up it if you wanted to, especially in the winter) was one of the main avenues through Cuyahoga Falls, 2nd street (one way only, please, at least 3 wrong-way accidents a year).  Car brakes squealed because that light changed fast.  People sometimes walked by, chatting.  The air was hot, city hot, but a steady breeze somehow always flowed in the window, disrupting my pages.  My mom's bitter old six-toed calico cat would glare at me with venom when she got in the window.  But, reminiscing aside...

I have a history with books.  I love them.  I love how they feel.  I open them up and smell the pages (usually when no one is looking).  I always smiled to see the indentation of my books when I had them in a bag.  You can always tell which of my books I love the most because I invariably eat something with tomato sauce and spill it on the inside pages.  I have two bookcases, but still not enough space in which to lovingly display all my titles... yet, I got my hands on a Kindle as fast as I could.

I have a number of reasons for this.
1. Foreign Life
When the Kindle came out, I was living and teaching English, in Japan.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to get books in English from Japan?  I paid over $30 for my copy of Atlas Shrugged.  No book could be gotten for less than $10.  (You complain about $8 paperbacks?  YOU pay $23 for Sudhir Venkatesh's Gang Leader For a Day)  The biggest bookstores I went to had, at absolute MOST, about 100 titles for sale.  Most of them were English Exam books, basically, classics.  I lived in a port city of over 2 million people.  Do you know how many books my library had in English?  Ten.  I had already read nine of them before going to Japan!  I couldn't use Whispernet in Japan, the servers just don't connect.  But, I could buy anything I wanted on my nice American credit card, with no currency conversion fees, and deliver it to my own computer and Kindle via magic (aka: technology).

2. Physical Distress
I will probably have permanent bowing in my back from the number of books I carried around as a child.  I would easily throw three, 500+ page books in on top of all those heavy textbooks because, "Just in case!"  Just in case I get stranded on a desert island for a month, on my bus ride to school?  No, just in case I finished one, I wanted some choice what to read next.  I almost never have less than five books that I am currently reading.  I love to read!

3.  The Drool Factor
Let's face, the Kindle is really freaking cool.  It's lightweight, compact, convenient, and even though I read in every spare second of the day, with wireless off my battery lasts over 2 weeks.  I am what is called a Functional Nerd.  I have a personal firewall that let's me restrain myself from commenting that what you just did was a very Leroy Jenkins thing do.  I don't have to remind you that there are 10 types of people in the world: those that understand binary, and those that don't.  That I also happen to know all the original words for the theme song of TMNT and can probably name a number of anime characters on sight... doesn't mean I do these things!  I can have normal conversations about weather, food, animals, my job... but that other, more interesting stuff is always in there.  Part of me is a technophile.  Having a Kindle strokes something fundamental in my being, and I love it for that.

I absolutely love to read.  I read everything, even things I don't want to.  I read signs, labels, nutrition facts, receipts, annoying snail mail spam, every printed word!  If it's in my hand, I read it.  (Thank you for spam filters, by the way.)

I also love to write.  While my Kindle will never smell like a book, or give me the satisfaction of turning a page, and will sometimes run out of battery... it will also never drop a bookmark, bend a page, or soak up tomato sauce.  I can slide it easily in with my other things.  I can wow my friends with it.  I can review my own writing with it.

I absolutely believe digital is the future.  I believe digital is already the now, just not enough people have realized it!  World's going to get away from you folks, better stay trendy where you can :)


  1. Great post my friend, and if you don't mind my saying so--quite nicely written. I believe I'd like to read your book when it comes out.


    An E-Publisher's Manifesto

  2. Thank you very much, sir. I am sure I would be very honored if you would.