The e-book: By this time, most people are aware of just exactly what this is. "What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet" (My thanks to Mr. Shakespeare). It's just a book. It won't bite you! Although, a good one will leave a mark. One can download an e-book to their computer, iPhone, e-reader, etc. Most of us not only have personal computers, Laptops and gadgets galore, but have multiples of each!
The e-future: Imagine if you will that you have just finished reading a very good book. Are you ready to put it down? What if there was more content? Books often carry advertisements for past works by the author or for a forthcoming title, other times the book might include a sample of what's coming. What if the e-book was something called an enhanced e-book? Not only could it carry the usual, but so much more. Picture if you will the ordinary Facebook wall. Most of us have a Facebook account or at least have seen one. Can you see the video links and photos there? Instead of snippets of what the individual has been up to or what their friends have posted on their wall, I want you to envision the pages of a book. Are you reading The Lord of the Rings? Off to the right there is a series of photos. Are you reading Stephen King? Between paragraph one and two is a photo of Bangor, Maine. Better yet, how about a short video walk-thru of the town. Pat Conroy? Now you do not have to imagine what his south looks like, you could simply click the link.
I know what you are going to say. It's the same argument against music video. Now that I have seen the stupid video, it has robbed my imaginative mind of being able to simply take the lyrics and create my own visual in my head. Okay, forget the photos and links. What if the start of the enhanced e-book contained a brief author's note, where a film began upon your choosing and the author herself thanked you, her faithful reader, for purchasing her work and gave the simplest of introductions. What if the end of the e-book contained an interview session where the author explained the muse for his story or offered other tidbits. Wouldn't that be something? Who knows exactly what the future might bring, but folks, it is coming.
The Real topic: That was what I was hoping to write about this week. Unfortunately, thanks to all of the comments that I have seen recently from readers claiming that you can take their books from them when you pry them from their cold, dead fingers - we have to talk about something else. Has everybody seen Moonstruck? I hadn't until recently. I love romantic comedies, but must have had some sort of bias against this one for some crazy reason. In any event, I finally saw it, and liked it. So, with regard to the bias that many continue to cling to in terms of being unwilling to embrace e-books: I say, (borrowing Cher's famous line) "Snap out of it!"
[caption id="attachment_3123" align="alignleft" width="160" caption="Cher and Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck"][/caption]
Forgive me, I'm not writing of those who have said that they cannot yet afford a Kindle or one of the other e-readers out there. It was easy for me. My wife has money! Just kidding. I'm speaking to those who get all nostalgic for paper, curling up in bed with their favorite book or simply their love of bookstores. This is not the first time that this kind of thing has happened. We have gone through this before.
This past spring the Blockbuster in my small town of 12,000 or so souls closed. It's a Real Estate now. When I was a teenager we went through periods where we had between two and five video rental stores. Then everyone decided that they should abandon the mom and pop places for the big sexy chain, thus forcing the mom and pops out of business. Now that we can order movies through cable, our computers, our Wii's, etc., we don't necessarily need Blockbuster anymore. And so it goes...
Quick, somebody hand me a cassette. A what? Yeah, that's what I thought. I might still have a few cassettes lying around the house, probably stored in the garage. If so, they won't work now. Not that I have anything to play them on anymore! Not only that, I've long-since replaced those with CD. While we're on the subject, all of those CD's have been digitally transferred to my pc. They are available for me to listen to when I'm on my pc (like now - I'm listening to Asia), or my iPod (I'm pushing 7000 songs there) or my iPhone. My dad still has an old reel to reel. I haven't seen it in a while, but I'm certain that it is there since my parents don't believe in tossing anything out! Soon, we might not even need to store music. Our devices will simply access "the cloud" where our account is recognized and our purchased/stored music content simply streamed to our device. I don't know a lot about it just yet, but guess what: it's coming, too!
Back to my wife. When the Kindle showed up magically at our doorstep a few months ago, she gave me that frown. "What did you do?" the frown asked. Yet, guess who uses it more than I do? And so will you. Trust me.
The Contest: If you are still speaking to me after all of that, we have a contest for you. Wicked Writers is giving away a copy of my e-book, Dance on Fire. Ha! What else could it have been? The contest will run for two weeks. To be eligible, please leave a comment, along with your e-mail address in case you are declared the winner. We also would love it if you signed up for the e-mail delivery option, but will not make it mandatory. I would like to leave you with a note about my book. It is a horror/Christian crossover about vampires. It is a PG-13 story, so don't let the horror label scare you away. It is Christian, but contains some blood and guts and does not get too preachy. There's a bit of romance, too! See, it has everything. How could one possibly lose? Okay, don't answer that.