I’ll admit it – I was skeptical when eReaders first hit the market.
There’s something about the holding a real book in your hands, savoring the heft of the cover in your palms, pausing to lick your finger and turn a page. Did I really want to give that up?
Then I got a Kindle for my birthday.
At last, I understood. I don’t think of my eReader as a replacement for regular books. It’s just an alternative, and a convenient one at that.
When I packed for my 10-day Hawaiian vacation a few weeks ago, I couldn’t figure out why my suitcase was so empty. I pride myself on being a light packer, but you could seriously fit a whole crew of Chippendales dancers in there (something I certainly considered).
Then I realized it was the lack of books making my suitcase so light. Where I might normally take a dozen paperbacks on a trip like that, I had only one real book, plus my Kindle loaded with several dozen titles.
That one real book was the divinely fabulous Populazzi from our own Deb Elise Allen. As much as I loved the book and the thrill that came with reading it on a beach under a palm tree, I found myself getting annoyed. How did all the sand get stuck in the spine, and why was the @#$% wind whipping the pages around?
The eReader was easy though. No crevices to clean, no bookmarks to lose, and I could lie there flipping pages with one finger while my imaginary cabana boy fed me frozen grapes.
The one thing that worries me is my fondness for reading in the bathtub. I’m a little afraid I might drop the eReader, a possibility made more likely by my habit of sipping wine while I soak. On the bright side, a friend recently suggested I give my Kindle a name. That means I now get to tell people I’m climbing into a bubble bath with a glass of Chianti and Giancarlo.
On a serious note, I’m thrilled with what eReaders seem to be doing for the romance genre in particular. Hey, I’m the first to admit there are plenty of people reluctant to be seen in public turning the pages of a novel with a cover that features a bare-chested warrior looking vaguely constipated.
That’s probably the reason romance novels have become the fastest growing category in eBooks. A recent article in The New York Times included some fascinating tidbits from the head honcho at my own publisher, Sourcebooks:
Dominique Raccah, the publisher and chief executive of Sourcebooks, an independent publisher in Naperville, Ill., said her romance e-book sales had grown exponentially this year, outpacing any other category. In the first quarter 8 percent of total romance sales at Sourcebooks were from e-book sales. By the third quarter that number had gone up to 27 percent. (Major trade publishers say e-books now make up about 9 to 10 percent of overall sales.) “You’re seeing the real development of a market,” Ms. Raccah said.
With shelf space getting harder and harder (I said harder) to come by, it’s cheering to know romance readers aren’t going anywhere, and they’re perfectly happy to buy our books electronically. To me, that’s a good thing.
So is the fact that someone can tell me about a hot new book, and with a few simple clicks, I own the book and can kick back on the couch to read it. As a result, I’m buying a lot more books.
Do you own an eReader? If so, has it changed your reading habits in any way? If not, do you plan to get one? Please share!
And please keep your sudsy hands off Giancarlo. He’s mine.