The Times They Are A-changin’

- by Dianne Drake

My Kindle went poop a couple of days ago. I’ve had it for three months, it’s been sitting atop my dictionary, unused, often adorned by a cat or two. It has a nice, burnt orange cover, looks good where it is and, basically, I haven’t seen any point in turning it on because when I want to read something other than my own writing, I’m like every other writer out there who has shelves and shelves of books. But, I’d bought the Kindle.

Why? I don’t really know. I’m not one of those die-hards who hate e-publishing, or anything like that. It’s fine. Serves a purpose. So maybe I just bought my Kindle so I wouldn’t fall so far behind. Anyway, the first month, I totally resisted anything to do with it. In fact, the only person who even so much as looked at it was my office assistant who comes in occasionally to tweak my electronics and kick me in the butt about my deadlines. He thought the Kindle seemed pretty nifty, and being the techie that he is, couldn’t understand why I wasn’t indulging. To be honest, I almost gave it to him. But I didn’t because some force greater than my unenlightened fear stopped me.

So, into my second month. Admittedly, I opened the thing, turned it on, then decided to read the instructions. OK, I’ll confess right here that I like my instructions simple. The simpler, the better. And as instructions go, they were simple enough. After clicking through several pages I decided I might get to like my little device. However, there must have been about a gazillion pages of instructions which instantly left me out because I simply don’t want to learn that much about anything. Don’t have time to learn it, either. Meaning, off went my Kindle. Back to the top of my dictionary.

Now, three months have passed, and practicality is beginning to kick in. I really should use the darn thing is what I kept telling myself. Then came the day. I wanted a book. Not just any book, mind you, but one that was back-ordered. Except, I could get it immediately on Kindle. And that’s when I discovered that my convenient little one-click on Amazon also had a device to one-click a book straight to my Kindle. Which is what I did. And in the time it took me to walk from my chair to my Kindle’s resting place, and shoo my cat away from it, I had my book. Like, wow! Awesome, dude! It was instant love, immediate gratification at the same time. Finally, I had claimed my Kindle.

My relationship with my Kindle was short-lived, however. It ceased to function after just a few uses, throwing me into a fit of depression and panic. I’m addicted, need it now! Getting short of breath, having a panic attack. Now what? Will they overnight me a new one? Is the customer service process going to go the way of so many customer service processes these days and lose me in a hopeless maze of foolishness? The answer was… one two-minute phone call and a very nice rep telling me how to reboot my Kindle. Then the love came flooding back.

Over the years, the industry has changed. I started as a journalist, hit most of the major magazines and saw my word counts trickle down slowly and steadily, making way for more ad space. After all, the ads pay the bills. I get that. Then I went through the whole e-revolution – magazines were way ahead of the curve on this, by the way. I had to learn new rights, and in an industry that was changing by the day, let me tell you magazine e-rights were crazy! But, I went with the flow because I had to, if I wanted to keep those paychecks coming in. Eventually, when my books overcame my articles, I entered what I thought was a more stable environment. Sure, there was talk of electronic readers on the horizon, but we were being assured they would be more popular in the scientific segments of society. No self-respecting novel-reader would ever want to give up the feel of paper in hand for an electronic gadget. But, that changed too. I love my electronic gadget in hand.

So, what does it all mean? When I was a kid, I listened to music played on vinyl records. The predecessor was hard plastic, and before that, rollers. Today, I turn on the iPod that sits on my dock and listen to my music. In order words, time rolls along, and so does technology. It’s inevitable. But what’s even more inevitable is that as writers, we’ve got to roll along, too. The late, great Kurt Vonnegut wrote his books by hand, on yellow legal pads, pretty much all the way to the end. But, he was Kurt Vonnegut, and he got to do that. The rest of us get to merrily roll along, or get left behind. Kicking and screaming aside, it’s not really such a bad thing. Just a different thing. But we’re writers, eh? A wholly stalwart bunch. And the thing is, each of us, in our own way, moves and shakes the world, or some segment of it. So, I suppose it’s only fair that the world, or some segment of it, moves us and shakes us, too.

Now here’s the thing. My Kindle is 3 months old. Three months, I tell you! And it’s a second generation. There’s already another one out there, new and improved. I want it! I crave it! The practical me will wait. But some gray day, when everything I’ve written is garbage, and my editor is pressing me for revisions or more content or less content, and I’m feeling really (you know the word here), I know I’m going to look at that latest Kindle, or Nook, or whatever happens to be the market trend, my finger is going to hover over the one-click button, and that little beauty is going to be mine, all mine!

Thank God the times they are a-changin’!

Also, just to mention, I have a book out this month. The Baby Who Stole the Doctor’s Heart is available at eHarlequin.com and, I believe, you can probably find it available on Kindle, too!

Until next time, wishing you health & happiness!

Dianne Drake

P.S. Want me to tell you about the new entertainment center I bought my hubby for Christmas? It has 4 different remote controls, plus 4 boxes that do different functions, and I’ve totally lost my ability to simply sit down and turn on the TV. Don’t know how, don’t want to learn how. Too many gadgets. In my mind, I no longer have a television. But who knows, maybe three months down the line…

10 comments

  1. Interesting post, Dianne. I had a meltdown at Christmas deciding whether to get my 11-year-old an iPad. She loves to read. Should I just get her a Kindle? Would I turn her away from the printed page forever? Would I spoil her rotten?

    We opted to get her an iPad and I also gave her a print copy of “Little Women.” She loves the book. She downloaded a free copy of “Little Women” onto her iPad. So far, she’s sticking with the print version. She doesn’t like changing back and forth because she has to find her place in the ebook after she has read some in the print version.

    Like you, I think we can all be in both worlds. There are advantages to each.

    By the way, she splurged and bought Pages, the word processing software for iPad, and is writing a story.

    And I downloaded a free ebook of an RWA friend’s when it was featured as a free download (can’t remember if that was on Amazon, Barnes and Noble site or where). I started reading it but didn’t continue–just am not that attracted to electronic reading yet.)

    So be sure to check for all the free downloads that are offered and advertised and change daily.

    Cathy

  2. I absolutely love my Kindle and have downloaded so many free books, I’ll never read them all! It’s amazing! I still love paper books, but am embracing the new digital age. Funny, I blogged about this today!

    So glad your Kindle was not dead! That would be depressing, for sure!

  3. Like Sherrinda, I really love my ebook readers. I have an OLD RCA and an iPad. I use the Kindle program a LOT. I’ve downloaded a ton of free books and I’ve bought a tremendous amount. I love the sneak peek option. It’s made me pick up and buy more new authors than I have in years. I still have my keepers in paperback/hardback and a few books I can’t get electronically, but I buy twenty ebooks for every ‘one’ paperback I purchase these days.

  4. Uh-oh, I’d better find my Kindle. I bought a new generation at the beginning of December, loaded some stuff, read those directions…and seem to have misplaced the danged thing. I can’t for the life of me figure out what I did with it. And the new skin for the Kindle came a week ago…

  5. Dianne, great post! I now have a Kindle, but I haven’t caught up with my nightstand reading! As soon as I do, I’m all over learning that sucker ;) Still don’t know if I agree with the times they are a changin’ Having one foot stuck in the La Brea tar pit is kind of nice, after all.

  6. I can see you’re hooked, Dianne! I’ve resisted the lure of the e-reader so far – I read e-books on the computer screen which is far from ideal! Mmm I have to say after your post, I’m terribly tempted!

    :)
    Sharon

  7. Hi Dianne,

    I really enjoyed your article.

    I also love my Kindle.

    Happy Reading of all kinds!

  8. Dianne!
    Thanks for the fun Kindle post. My son bought me a Kindle for my birthday and I’ve loaded it up with samples, one free book and bought the rest, including Kindle editions of favorite books. I met a reader at NinCon in St. Pete who had her massive Kindle library archived and organized by subject, genre and her rating. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. However, I’ve yet to move one of my read books to that fabled archive place. Where the heck is that? What page in the Help? Yikes. Melinda’s Kindle is my second eReader, a Rocket being my first. Still have that one. Haven’t read on it in about five years. Wonder if it will still boot . . .
    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMelinda

  9. Loved your post! Made me rethink my non-Kindle household. Now my finger is hovering over that One-Click button too.

  10. Dianne,
    I was in the same boat with my Kindle. It set for months until I took a trip. It went along and I found that I loved it. It was so nice to have books in my hand without all the bulk.