Monday, January 12, 2009

An old dog and her paper

This is Media Bits Monday, Goal Setting January, and my first-ever blog. My main goal is not to flop too badly after following the wonderful ladies from last week. They all did an awesome job and I hope to someday have the wit, charm, and talent that comes through in their writing. So, for what it’s worth, here goes:

You know the old clichéd saying: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, I’m an old dog in more ways than one. If you’ve read my profile, you know I’m a rabid DAWG fan for good ol’ UGA.

When it comes to books, the old bulldog bite is in rare form. I clamp down on the paper version and won’t let go. I’m not sure I’m ready to enter the world of e-books. The smell of paper and ink, the feel as I rub my palm across the cover. And, of course, the gorgeous hunks who grace those covers. Imagine, if e-books had been around when the Beatles wrote and sang “Paperback Writer”. “I want to be an e-book writer” doesn’t have the same melodic ring to it.

I have nearly every book I’ve ever bought and read since 1970. That’s almost 280 years of paperbacks in dog years. A scant few I leant to friends who never returned them. I learned my lesson. I don’t share my books anymore. Hubby rants that he can’t even get into the bed at night without shoving aside books. My books long ago overflowed from the shelves of my study, trickled into my bedroom armoire until they were more a raging flood let loose from a broken dam. A stack of to-reads. Stacks of reads (past tense). Stacks I might read again. Of course, my time travel and historical books get prime spots of honor, along with favorite authors, such as Linda Lael Miller and Nora Roberts.

When books from the last two decades couldn’t wiggle in between the older ones, I had to buy BIG storage boxes to pack up the ones from the seventies and the eighties, a concession I gave to Hubby. A few escaped and still find their old spot on the shelf. Hubby hauled six of those storage units to the basement, grousing all the way. “Honey,” I said. “Just think, now you can come back to bed.” He wasn’t amused.

I love my books. Paper backs, hard backs, trades. They surround me with worlds of love, trials and tribulations, and more love. I can retreat from reality; I can follow some tips from the heroines to make my reality a little more livable. I pass time when I follow my hubby around on his many treks. I’m often left sitting while he does his thing. No prob. I’ve got a stash of books at the ready. I’m never patting my foot or letting my impatience build. I’m in my own little world of love and lust. Sometimes, when he returns I even make him wait on me for a change while I finish the chapter. Again, he’s not amused. But he loves me and gets over it, or starves. He can’t cook. I’ve got him right where I want him.

But I digress. Books. Real paper books. How could we ever get along without them? I hope I never have to find out. I know, I know. E-readers can go anywhere a book can go, but at this point, I don’t want to hold onto an e-reader while I’m waiting on my man. Another argument for e-books, and one Hubby might launch if he reads this, is that I wouldn’t have stacks of books gracing every corner of my bedroom. There would actually be room in the bed for people.

Yes, I have to be practical. Change is coming, and I must adapt or go the way of dinosaurs. I may walk into the bookstore and hear “Paper or e-book?” from the clerk any day now. I must admit I haven’t done a lot of research on the subject as of yet. You know, costs, convenience, etc. I guess I need to do this before I get anymore set in my ways.

Who knows? I learned to love calculators over the abacus, microwave ovens over wood stoves, and cell phones over landlines. E-books might win me some day. My goal for the year should be to give it a shot. Amazon is calling. Pressure is building. But, I’m such an old dawg.

So what’s your view? Have you dived into the twenty-first century with relish, ready to try anything and everything new? Are you a young pup of new-age electronics? Or are you an old dog too?


PS: By the way, if you want a paper copy of this blog, just let me know. I have stacks of paper to print one out for you. Woof!


Marilyn Baron said...

Even though you're a Bulldog and I'm a Gator fan we agree on one thing. Books are here to stay. I have a houseful and basement full of books too and I haven't delved into the world of e-books. There's just something about curling up on the couch with a good book (hardback or paperback) or trolling through the bookstore to find the latest book by one of your favorite authors -- an experience that can't be replicated in the world of e-books. But of course they literally had to pry my hands away from my beautiful green electric selectric typewriter when my office upgraded to computers many years ago, and now I can't live without my computer. So, never say never.

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Cici,

Too funny!!! And I can totally relate. I bought Devon Gray's book on e-book last year. Ended up buying 4 copies before I could figure out how to get the darn thing onto my computer…

I now have a file full of e-books. Although I enjoy reading them, I do miss the feel of that block of paper in my hands. I think I would miss being able to tuck the book into my purse to read during a free moment. Or being able to flip the book around in my hands to peak at the cover and compare it to a certain scene.

Still, I’m willing to look to the future. I may eventually end up converting to mostly e-books. I’ve moved 6 times in the last five years. I’m sure my poor husband would appreciate packing fewer boxes of books from one house to the other….grin…

Have a great week.

Tami Brothers

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi CiCi:
I can really relate to your obsession with books. I too, am an addict. I do lust after a Kindle, mostly for its ability to instantly download books. Sort of like an I.V. drug hit for reading addicts. Then, the only one who would know the extent of my addiction would be whoever paid the Amazon bill. It makes me a little nervous though, as I've always loved the book in my hand. I don't think I could ever get over that love of physical books.
BTW, ladies who love CiCi, when I read about the book "collection," I think I feel an intervention coming on....

Tammy Schubert said...

Great post, CiCi!

I am an older pup of new-age electronics. Over Christmas, I came into possession of a Kindle. It is the greatest gadget ever. I didn't think I would like it at first because I love holding regular books. I got over that really fast. Now the Kindle is the only thing I want to use to read a book. This is bad since I have tons of books like CiCi.

When purchasing an ereader, be sure you know what you are getting. Know that eHarlequin's books are not compatible with the Kindle. The Kindle book format is not compatible with the Sony Reader. I went with the Kindle because of the overwhelming number of terrific books I can get and the support that is offered by Amazon. I didn't think that I should buy a Sony just for eHarlequin's books.

On the up side, Amazon does offer some of Halequin's books. They like to post Blaze and Desire the most. You will find older Special Editions and Intrigues out there, too.

There are a lot of sites out there to get books that can be converted into Kindle format. For instance, Wild Rose Press has great books that can be easily converted. There are also a lot of free ebooks out there. The free ebooks tend to be classics.

I hope that Amazon and eHarlequin will get together in the future and find a way to move past this compatibility issue.

Sandy Elzie said...

CiCi, I totally relate to the paperback vs e-book debate. However I've been drug into the twenty first century, dragging my feet a little, to finally set up a web page, so there's hope for me yet.

On the flip side of the argument, I don't care which way folks get to read my books as long as I sell and they're out there and available in some form for others to read. Me? I'll adjust...eventually. :>)

CiCi Barnes said...

Ah, so I'm not alone. I wondered if I was the last holdout on ereaders. Sounds like we already have a diverse group. Some resisting, some testing the waters, and some taking the plunge up to the waist.

Thanks, Tammy, for the mini-lesson if we're thinking of purchasing. I would hope the powers-that-be will see that they need to cooperate and make compatible readers. I would hate to invest and not be able to get all the books I wanted.
I'm sure by the time I let go and decide to take the plunge, they will have resolved the issue.

Marilyn, as much as it pains me, I have to say congrats to your Gators. Someone should write a book on their success .... an e-book, perhaps.

And Sandie, I'm with you. If my books go to e-books, I hope everyone embraces the new technology.


J Perry Stone said...

I'm just plain scared of new technology, so I'm right there in the kennel.

The problem with this, however, is that I'm also an old dog with new green sensibilities. I bring my own canvas bags every place I shop, I recycle everything but the kid, and I don't use Styrofoam.

Ebooks appeal to my green consciousness. I just wish a Kindle was as easy to use as turning the page.

And no Tammy, even if you say, "it is as easy as that," remember how much hand-holding it took just to get me signed up for Petit Fours and Hot Tamales.

Terrific blog, CiCi.


dianna shuford said...

Hey, Cici, you did good!! I could hear my hubby echoing yours. When we moved 4 years ago, I filtered through my stash of books and got rid of those I could bear to part with, but I still wound up packing about 7 boxes of books. And they weren't little boxes either.

E-books? Yeah, I'm thinking I must try them as soon as finances permit. Yet, I don't think I'll ever quit going to the bookstores and perusing the shelves for just the right book I feel like reading at the time. The only problem I think I may have will be with my eyes being able to handle hours of electronic print. When I get into a good book- I read for hours, literally. I can't handle looking at my computer monitor longer than a couple of hours so I'm guessing e-books will be the same way. Yet, I'm hankering to try e-books out just to see if I can learn to like them.

Anonymous said...

I am just now getting around to reading this post and I enjoyed it. I can relate to the books in the bed thing. Where else would one store them? Seems totally reasonable to me... plus, they don't snore... :-)


Ana Aragón said...

Hi, CiCi,

Great post! I've been busy all week with the day job and designing my son's baseball team media I didn't get over here at all.

I LOVE my print books. But I'm also a realist and decided two years ago to try my hand at the e-book business. Guess what? I LOVE IT! For one thing, my readers aren't limited to those who have the time to shop at the local bookstore. All they have to do is get on their computer, wherever they are, and download one of my books! I have friends in London, Spain and Cairo who picked up a copy of my latest book the day it was released! That wouldn't have happened as easily if it wasn't released as an e-book.

The other thing? My potential audience is anyone who can read English and has access to a computer with internet capability. Literally billions of people Earth-wide! That alone made me a convert.

But like many of you, I still have a study and a bedroom full of print books and several storage boxes full in the basement. And my kids will probably sell them on E-Bay when I'm gone. But for now, they keep me company when I'm bored, or when I'm between manuscripts.

Unfortunately, I wasn't one of the lucky few who got hold of a Kindle at Christmas, so I'm waiting until the next version...for my birthday!


Christy LaShea said...

I'm right with you. I love to hold that book and bend the pages, dog ear when I'm in too big of a hurry to find my bookmark. I'm not ready for the Kindle and all these other computerized books. I look at a computer all day for work and then try to look at it for my WIP, so when I'm reading someone elses story, I want to hold it and take it in the car with me, not have to worry if it falls in the floor it will break!

Great post by the way - would never have known you were new at this blogging stuff. And hey - it's about time!!!


Berta said...

I got a Sony e-reader for Christmas and it's so wonderful. Besides all the books I've been reading, I also put on my two work in progress manuscripts to read, as well as a manuscript that I need to critique. I've saved 972 printed pages, and think how many pounds of paper that is, and how much expensive ink.

I still love printed books and will never give them up, but I've got a house full, not to mention the books boxed up in the garage. And when I cleaned up my exhusband's house after he passed away, I discovered that sadly, no one wanted the 23 boxes of science fiction and fantasy hardcovers and paperbacks on his many bookshelves. So now they're in my garage, too, until I get over being sentimental and trash them. Digital is better, for some things.

CiCi Barnes said...

You ladies gave me good thoughts to ponder. There are definitely as many positives as there are negatives for e-readers, maybe even more. Besides, they're here to stay, I would imagine, so I must gird my loins and sink my bulldog teeth into them.

Thanks for all your comments.