As much of a book addict as I am, it still took me a long time to work my way up to getting a Kindle. Perhaps it’s because I’m such a book lover that I had a difficult time with the whole idea of an e-book. After all, a digital copy doesn’t have that “new book” smell, it’s not a tangible object with which I can curl up on the couch, it doesn’t even have an accurate page count (this is important to me due to my book list neurosis, which includes page counts next to each entry). When the Kindle came out, I said “no way, uh-uh, never going to happen. That little monstrosity is going to destroy the book industry, I can’t be part of it!” Fast forward to about a month or so ago, when I did the happy jig the day my brand new 3G Wi-Fi etc and so on Kindle arrived on my doorstep. Yeah, yeah, I know, I never should have said “never,” because now I’m eating my words.
See, I realized that the Kindle isn’t destroying the print industry, it’s greatly enhancing the availability of countless books out there that the publishing world snubs for whatever reason. Getting published is hard. Really stinking hard. Believe me, I know. Self-publishing in print is just as brutal- in order to make even a tiny profit, you have to jack up the price of your book so high that no one, save your parents, will buy it. As much as I love discovering new authors, I’m a broke writer myself, and I can’t afford to drop $20+ on my favorite authors, let alone someone I’ve never heard of. While I wish I could, I really do, because it’s not that I don’t think a new author’s blood, sweat and tears aren’t worth $20, but I just don’t have the extra cash.
However, self-publishing in digital format is significantly cheaper. Writers can set their price low and entice new readers. I think nothing of spending $2.99 on a Kindle book. Worse case scenario, I’m out less than the cost of a Mocha Latte. Plus, I can get sample chapters ahead of time, so the risk of buying something that I end up not enjoying is drastically reduced. In just the last month alone, I’ve found three new authors that I really like- HP Mallory, Toni LoTempio, and Janni Nell. I never would have discovered these authors without my Kindle. I still have friends who are adamant against e-books. But I’ve always been a fan of independent endeavors, be it handmade goods, punk music, indie zines (I used to review for A Reader’s Guide to the Underground Press, formerly Zine World), and so on. The Kindle allows me to continue to support those independent efforts AND gives me another source for a fix for my book addiction. How can that be a bad thing?