Tuesday, January 29, 2008

King on the Kindle

"There's a permanence to books that underlines the importance of the ideas and the stories we find inside them; books solidify an otherwise fragile medium." -Stephen King

Stephen King's article in Entertainment Weekly about's new Kindle ebook reader is making headlines in the publishing industry. Although, honestly, Stephen King's articles make headlines regardless of the topic, don't they? I suspect the man could write on composting winter squash and legumes and make headlines. Really. Hey, I'd read that composting article. Uh huh.

But I digress. Back to the EW article, titled Stephen King: Books with Batteries--Why Not? The piece is as interesting as the title, by the way. And it's no surprise to see an article of this sort from the guy. He's long been a proponent of the electronic side to the industry. Riding the Bullet was initially only released electronically, something that may have been a death knell from a sales perspective to a lesser author. In Mr. King's case I suspect he had no problem meeting anyone's sales expectations for Riding the Bullet. No problem.

The fact that this article highlights the user-friendly aspects of ebook reading without attempting to diminish the standing of the written word as we all know and love it is, I think, its strongest point. Of course, Stephen King knows which side of the bread holds his butter (Both! And some jelly too, I'd bet.) so no one would expect him to diss either paper or electronic. But his assessment of the Kindle reader brings forth a very valid point, one that sometimes seems overlooked.

We live in a world where there's room for both types of reading. Conventional book-in-hand enjoyment and cutting edge gadget reading each have a place in our lives. I've read lots of ebooks and enjoyed a number of them but honestly there were relatively few I'd like to have collecting dust on my bookshelves. It's got nothing to do with the medium, either. I read a ton of conventional books that I don't keep. Once read, they're passed on to other readers. In truth there are very few books I actually keep after I've read them. (By now I'm sure you realize Stephen King is in the keeper pile.)

One of the best benefits of ebook reading, one Steve (I can call him that, can't I?) mentioned, is that titles are instantly accessible. If I want (which I do, after reading his article) to read In Pale Battalions by Robert Goddard all I have to do is purchase and download the book. That's it. No schlepping to the mall or searching for the title on the shelves. No annoyance at finding the store's sold out because there's been a sudden rush to read In Pale Battalions, especially from Stephen King fans. Nope, I don't have to do any of that. All I've got to do is hit a few buttons, settle back and begin to read. And that's exactly what I plan to do--once I finish Duma Key, that is.

Duma Key? Oh, it's that new Stephen King book.

Want to read the entire EW article? Find it here.


Marianne Arkins said...

Your post is almost as funny as his :-)

I do love Stephen King. I don't always love his books, but the man has a way with words, doesn't he?

And, yep, you're right about the easy access to eBooks. I hate waiting!!

Anonymous said...

I'm hooked on your blog. I don't always have time to look at the other pages but I always read this one. And I was one of the lurkers until recently.

-Tara K.

Anonymous said...

I love Stephen King. The guy can scare me that's for sure!

Anonymous said...

What great articles! I didn't realise SK had such a sense of humour. Oh, and I've never heard of a Kindle - guess that's because we're so far behind the rest of the world over here in Oz.
By the way, Robert Goddard writes great books too!
Aussie Jude

Anonymous said...

The Sony ebook reader is on my wish list. I might look into the Kindle before buying either one.

Dru said...

I would love to get the kindle, only if it goes down in price. Do you have one?

Great article by Stephen King.