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Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why Your Grandma Wants an E-Reader for the Holidays (Even Though She Doesn't Know It)

If you're reading this blog, you're probably relatively tech-savvy. But now that we're in the midst of holiday season, most of us are running into the inevitable friends and relations who are threatened by new technology and maybe even hostile to the whole idea of e-books and e-readers. Some of them are probably your grandparents.

Full disclosure here: I'm not a grandparent. I could be, if I hadn't neglected that interim step of having actual children. What I am is a Baby Boomer: a person born between 1946 and 1964—the demographic known in unenlightened circles as "old."

I'm also not naturally drawn to technology. My relationship to most machines is the same as your cat's relationship to the vacuum cleaner: Danger! MAKE IT STOP!   

I've got some Boomer friends who think the e-reader is the spawn of the devil. They say ebooks and self-publishing are robbing us of our cultural heritage. I understand their fears. I worked in bookstores for much of my life. Every time a bookstore goes out of business I feel a sense of personal loss.

Plus I love being surrounded by tangible, hard-copy reading material. My house looks like a library. Books are my best friends. (My mother tells me that when I learned to read, I said, "now I'll never have to be lonely again.") I don't think I'll ever stop buying paper books. When I adore something I've read on my Kindle, I sometimes buy it in paper too—so I can really "have" it.

Electronics can die and get glitchy—and nothing's more infuriating when you're engrossed in a novel than to get that "low battery" message plastered across the page.

Paper feels "real". You can touch it and hold it and yes, sniff it. (Much fun is made of "book-sniffers" but scientists say the smell of old books is related to the smell of vanilla, and stimulates a comfort zone in your brain.) You can also keep a new paper book waiting on your night stand and study the cover art, read the blurbs, and anticipate it in a way you can't with a list of titles on your e-reader. Plus you can loan a beloved paper book to as many friends as you like.

But I urge even my book-sniffing Boomer friends to welcome the age of the e-book.


1) Learning new technology keeps us young.

I have lots of Boomer friends who avoid technology. They may use a computer for email and shopping, and they might even have a smart phone—but they're mostly annoyed by all of it. Especially if they learned a bunch of tech stuff in the early '90s and now it's all different and their hard-earned knowledge is useless. Everything keeps changing too fast and they don't like it.

Yes, change can be terrifying, but it's what keeps us alive. As Dylan said, "he not busy being born is busy dying." 

There's scientific data to back this up. Doctors tell us that embracing the new keeps our brains active and healthy.

And let's face it, nothing says "geezer" like complaining about "newfangled gadgets" and waxing nostalgic about the good old days. All the hair dye, yoga, and kale smoothies in the world won't make you seem vibrant and healthy if you have a negative attitude and a sour expression on your face.

Besides, if you're a Boomer, you belong to a generation that has always embraced change.

As Mark Penn said in his 2007 book Microtrends, "Boomers reinvented youth in the 1960s and economic success in the 1980s; they are not about to do their senior years by someone else’s formula. According to a 2005 survey by Merrill Lynch, more than 3 in 4 boomers say they have no intention of seeking traditional retirement."  

2) The e-book revolution is ending age discrimination against older authors.

Traditional publishing has always dictated that young authors are the most desirable. Even when I was in my forties, I was advised to keep my age secret when querying, because publishers don't want to invest money building a "brand name" for an author who doesn't have a potential forty-year trajectory for churning out product.  

But this attitude eliminates a huge number of writers—especially writers with wisdom and life experience to share. As social media guru Kristen Lamb says. "A large percentage of writers have waited until the kids are out of the home and out of college to begin pursuing their dreams of being authors."

But ebooks and social media are changing all that.  We now live in an age when there is infinite "shelf" space, and "long tail" niche marketing reigns.

New genres like Boomer Lit can appeal to specific demographics now that every book published doesn’t have to be a potential blockbuster of one-size-fits-all scope.  And authors don't have to self-publish if they write for a niche. The Big Five probably won't be interested in a BoomerLit book unless it's written by Cher, but you can still go the traditional route with a small or digital-only press.

3) Older readers get to read books about their own issues.

For the past fifty years or so, traditional publishing has dictated that female protagonists in popular fiction must be under thirty-five. Men can be a little older, but the main characters have to be young people with young problems. (Literary fiction can be about old guys with prostate issues, but usually only if the author writes for the New Yorker.)

None of this is surprising, since the "gatekeepers" of traditional publishing are mostly 22-year-old interns at New York literary agencies.

(And I can't help wondering if some editors weren't scarred by being forced to read Silas Marner in high school. George Eliot's aged curmudgeon has a lot to answer for.)

Thing is: older people have more time to read. And most of us are hungry for books that address our own life situations, not just who goes to the prom with the hunky vampire.

As Kristen Lamb says, older authors are "writing books they’d like to read: romance novels with a sixty-year-old protagonist finding love, not a twenty-two-year-old….Now there are options. Seventy is getting younger every day and the emerging e-commerce marketplace doesn’t care how old we are or how many books we write."

4) E-readers offer physical advantages to the older reader.

  •  Adjustable fonts. I'm getting to the stage where I can't read books with tiny fonts, and I'd be much more comfortable with large-print books, if I weren't too embarrassed to be seen reading them. With an e-reader, all it takes is the click of a button to adjust the font to our own vision requirements.
  •  Lighter Weight. A friend told me she stopped enjoying reading hard-cover books a few years ago because of arthritis in her hands. But she loves that e-readers are easy to hold and getting lighter all the time. The new Nook GlowLight weighs only  6.2 ounces.
  • Immediate new books. When I finish a book I love, I get an empty feeling. I often want to read another book by that author immediately, especially if it's the next in a series. But as we age, getting out to a bookstore can be more of a hassle. (And I stopped night driving when I realized it felt like driving by Braille on dark winter nights.) With an e-reader, you can have the new book in minutes.

5) E-books have got more people reading now than ever before. 

People who might not go into a bookstore to procure entertainment are now reading books on their phones, iPads and tablets. Ebooks are cool.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, "the average reader of e-books read an average of 24 books in the past 12 months compared to 15 books for non e-book consumers."

And as Alex C. Madrigal wrote in the Atlantic last year "Our collective memory of past is astoundingly inaccurate. Not only has the number of people reading not declined precipitously, it's actually gone up since the perceived golden age of American letters. "

6) Because of the new paradigm, independent bookstores are making a comeback.  

E-books are not killing indie bookstores. Big-box bookstores and their cozy deals with Big Publishing did that in the 1990s. Indies that survived are now having an increase in sales, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Here are some ways e-books are actually helping independently-owned bookstores:
  • Amazon is now selling devices and ebooks through indie bookstores with "Amazon Source".
  • Kobo has been selling its e-readers through independent bookstores for at least a year (If you listen to NPR in the US, you've heard their ads.) 
  • Now that the marketplace isn't a monopoly of the Big Five and their cozy relationship with Big Box bookstores that sell advantageous shelf space to the highest bidder, the small independent bookshop has a more level playing field.
  • Newsletters like E-Book Bargains UK that advertise bargain e-books to global markets also carry ads for indie bookstores.

7) Paper books aren't going anywhere.

It's not a question of either/or. You can have your Kindle and paper too.

Only about 30% of book sales are e-books, and that percentage seems to be leveling off as an October report from the Book Industry Study Group reported.

Here are some of their findings: 
  • Four years of consumer data shows clearly that e-book consumption has reached mainstream readers and has expanded well beyond early adopter 'power readers,' but that physical books remain a popular format for many consumers, especially in certain categories.
  • Consumers are very interested in "bundling" print and digital versions of a book, with 48% of survey respondents willing to pay more for bundles. 
  • Consumers do not distinguish between e-books published by traditional houses and independently published options when making buying decisions.

The E-Age may seem scary to those of us who remember when the most tech-heavy thing a writer had to do was change a typewriter ribbon, but it's one of the best times in history to be a writer—or a reader—so we need to learn to embrace the new technology.

What about you, Scriveners? Did you have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age? What advantages are you finding to reading electronic books? Do you have friends and family who don't "get" e-books?

Note: If you enjoy this blog, we'd love for you to nominate us for the Top 10 Writing Blogs at Write to Done.

Book Bargain of the Week

And when you buy Grandma that e-reader, here's the perfect book to load on it. Only 99c on Amazon for the holidays. Roxanna Britton, a biographical novel, is the story of my own great, great grandmother, written by my 92-year-old mom, Dr. Shirley S. Allen.
My mom is in hospice now, and I'm here at her bedside. It makes her happy that her well-reviewed book will live on after she's gone.

Update: Shirley Seifried Allen died at 8:45 PM on Sunday evening, December 1st. As fierce and practical as her great-grandmother, my mom donated her body to the University of San Francisco Medical School and left large donations to the San Francisco Public Library and the Food Bank as well as many other charities. You can sign her Facebook page here.
I can't begin to say how very much I will miss her....Anne

"If you love historical novels about women "making it" in the mid-1800's, you will NOT want to miss this one! I loved EVERY minute of reading about "Sanny's" life and making her own way and place in a time when women were considered having less than the status of "slaves." I also loved this book because it shows how the status, influences, opinions and upbringings can make or break a family and its heritage...and just how influential the women are who guide each. 
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!"...Shawna Newton


"This has become one of my all time favorite stories of "real" people. Ms. Allen's adept use of dialogue and her clear eye for drama and suspense kept me compulsively turning the pages. Her evocation of a bygone era, rich with descriptive details--the historical Chicago fire is one vivid example--is absolutely brilliant. I will never forget Sanny and her family, especially her struggle and her daughters' struggle to become individuals in a male dominated world. But it is family that triumphs in the end; and the need for it to survive resonates most deeply in my mind and heart. An excellent novel that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys reading true stories about people who not only overcome adversity with grace and integrity but through strength of character also prevail. Well done, Ms. Shirley Allen!"...Ann Carbine Best

Opportunity Alerts

The Lascaux Prize for Short Fiction: Stories may be previously published or unpublished. Length up to 10,000 words. Entry fee is $5, and authors may enter more than once.The editors will select a winner and nineteen additional finalists. The winner will receive $500 and publication in The Lascaux Review. Both winner and finalists will earn the privilege of displaying a virtual medallion on blogs and websites. Deadline December 31, 2013.

Boomers: The Huffington Post's Huffpo50 is publishing short fiction! The rules: You must be 50 or older to enter. Writers can submit only one story per year, and all pieces must be 5,000 words or less. Send your original submissions, as well as your contact details, to 50fiction@huffingtonpost.com

CRAZYHORSE PRIZES IN FICTION, NONFICTION, POETRY $20 fee (includes subscription). This is a biggie, well worth the fee. This venerable literary magazine has published the likes of John Updike, Raymond Carver and Billy Collins. Winners in each category receive $2,000 and publication. Submit up to 25 pages of prose or three poems. All entries considered for publication. Submissions accepted in the month of January 2014 only.

The Ladies Home Journal essay contest. Theme: The Best Decision You Ever Made. First Prize is $3,000 and the chance to have your essay published in the Journal. You're free to interpret the topic in whatever way you like. Essays will be judged on their emotional power, originality, and the quality of their prose. They should be no more than 2,000 words. More info and submission form on the website.

DRIFTLESS REVIEW ANNUAL FLASH FICTION CONTEST $15 ENTRY FEE for up to three stories. Each short-short story limited to 500 words. $500 prize. Deadline December 31

Dark Continents Publishing's Guns and Romances anthology. They're looking for previously unpublished short fiction from 3500-9000 words. Any genre as long as there's a tough protagonist, weapons, and... at least one reference to music. Sounds interesting. Payment rate is a one-off of $20 per story plus a percentage of the ebook royalties. Publication estimated in late-2014. More info on the website. Closing date for submissions is February 28, 2014.

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Blogger Lexa Cain said...

What a funny post and yet with a lot of truths in it. I'm a boomer, too, but one who's moved a lot and you lose the appreciation of your "library" when you're lugging it in many boxes up the stairs -- for the tenth time! Yup, I love my tablet/e-reader. <3

December 1, 2013 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What Lexa said! (Including the Boomer part unfortunately.)
I found I read more books on my iPad than I'd been reading in hardback or paperback. And I like not having to wait for a book - I can download it right away. (I don't want to admit it, but adjustable font size is also a big plus.)
When it comes to the mind, it's all about progressing forward. When we're not learning, the mind stagnates. New things stimulate it. I always think about music. Most people my age like the music they grew up with but don't listen to much more beyond that classic rock. I like the new stuff and always seek out new bands. Same with the technology - give me the new stuff.

December 1, 2013 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger BooksAndPals said...

I've got to admit that when the Kindle first came out I didn't get it. While I may be be "old" (somewhere in the younger half of that Boomer range), was an early adopter of the personal computer while much younger, and have a career in technology, I also have never been one to buy gadgets until I've been convinced they would actually make life easier or better. I saw the Kindle and thought, I spend most of my day looking at a screen already, why would I want to add more screen time?

Then I went on vacation with some friends and one of them showed me her Kindle. Not only did it not feel like "just another screen" but I realized that half a suitcase full of books in my room (don't want to get caught with nothing to read on the flight home) could all be carried in a device smaller than a book and I was sold. Haven't looked back. Haven't had to buy a bigger house to store my books. Less things collecting dust. (And I've never understood the book-sniffers, so that was never a problem for me. :D )

December 1, 2013 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Lexa—So, so true! Lugging the library is a definite downer. Putting an ereader/tablet into a tote is sooooo much easier!

Alex—D'Accord! Let's hear it for Instant Gratification. Especially crucial when it come to something new to read!

BooksAndPals—Delighted to learn that we (DH and I) aren't the only ones who travelled with a suitcase filled with books!

I do, though, love the smell of books whether in a library, on my own bookshelves or in publishing company offices where I worked for many years.

December 1, 2013 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Hey Anne,
Thanks a once more for getting me thinking.

I'm of the mind that your point illustrates one connection (of many) between the reading process & the writing process. Like many of my boomer peers, in the late 70s & 80s I insisted that typewriters & early computers would never eclipse the power of the pen -- something about a pen/cil on paper lubricated the right side of the brain & helped us create those imaginative first drafts. I doggedly hung onto this "fact" for years. Now, after decades of writing, when was the last time I started a draft on paper?

We humans are nothing if not adaptable.

I've got an e-book, & I read some books on it, but at this point I don't find the experience to be nearly as fulfilling as a good old-fashioned book. Do I expect that "fact" to be true for the rest of my life? Absolutely not. Things change. At some point I imagine I'll be as committed to e-readers (or whatever they grow into in the coming years) as I am to writing on my keyboard today.

Thanks for another fine post.

December 1, 2013 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger Phyllis Humphrey said...

Anne: As you know, I had the great pleasure to be in your mom's critique group when she was writing ROXANNA and we were all impressed with the writing and research that went into it. I cherish my signed original hard-cover copy.
As for embracing the new, my book-lined living room is also home to three e-readers which keep me up to date. Thanks for another great column.

December 1, 2013 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

CS—OMG! I remember when "cut and paste" was literal and manuscripts were physically scissored apart and then glued back together.

I will also say that even now when I get stuck on a book, I revert to a pen and pad. Almost always gets me unstuck! There is, as you say, something about pen to paper that energizes another group of brain cells. :-)

Phyllis—Thank you! Anne's mom's critique group meant a great deal to her and was so important in creating the fine book that resulted. Your contributions were a significant part of the process and were greatly appreciated.

December 1, 2013 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger mindprinter said...

Great post as always Ruth and Anne. Love me, love my Kindle. I read both e books and traditional, but I have to say not only has my reading speed picked up but I'm getting more books read than ever and love the convenience of the e book experience. As a reader and a writer, I'm totally sold on them.

December 1, 2013 at 12:30 PM  
OpenID David B said...

I similarly went to grad school and had to downsize my paper library. It was interesting what I kept. I don't have an eReader but do have an occasional use tablet. My sister has both a Kindle and Kobo and loves them.

I have a large "library" organized by subject on my computer. It includes PDF's, ebooks, notes from paper books and talks, and so forth. There's now over 3,000 files in there. I found a program that will read it all.

The big advantage of this over paper is searchability. I can research, look up quotes, and otherwise find stuff much more quickly. Stuff that isn't necessarily easily found on Google.

There's a number of good reasons for ebooks. But I agree paper won't go away - at least not in our generation.

It's like movies - you can go to the theatre or get a DVD or watch it online. The digital versions changed theatres a lot, but movie-going continues.

December 1, 2013 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Christine Monson said...

I'm not a big e-reader fan. I prefer paper. That said, they do have some perks like you and others have pointed out. To add to them, I like being able to help out friends who went the non-traditional publishing route, and my favorite feature-- highlight a word and Voila! instant clarification of the word, meaning, and phonetics right at my fingertips. Perfect for non-fiction books.

December 1, 2013 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

mindprinter—Thank you for the kind words. We do love you—and your Kindle!

David B—You're right about searchability—adds a lot of depth and dimension to whatever we're reading and helps make us (even) smarter!

Your point about movies is very well taken and an excellent comparison. Reading won't end whether in paper of cyber form just as now that movies are available in a variety of different distribution modes, audiences have a wider choice and still enjoy the movie-going experience.

Christine—ebooks and paper books are both great. Each has its plusses and lucky us—we can enjoy both!

December 1, 2013 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger fOIS In The City said...

Yes, Anne ... I love that Boomers are getting more tech-savvy and I also like the option of having the hard copy or the e-version of a book. Yes, for all the reasons you cited. I've been combining e-reading with hard copies for four years now and I enjoy the convenience. BTW ... it's wonderful to know you came from a long line of strong, intelligent women. Hope your Mom finds comfort and peace :)

December 1, 2013 at 2:37 PM  
OpenID liebjabberings said...

My Dad will be 91 in three weeks - and his vision is damaged. My sister gave him an old Kindle preloaded with a bunch of books - and he's ecstatic.

He also uses the computer for email and for invoices for the company he is still running - despite age and vision problems.

Engineer. Of course.

He's having a great time reading again. In Mexico where he lives the TV programs are not very wonderful - and that was his only option before.


December 1, 2013 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm a boomer too. I confess. I still like print books but I'm also enjoying e-books> I agree with the pros you mentioned, especially the weight and the ability to adjust the font size. And we do need to embrace change. We don't want to be those people who don't get technology.

December 1, 2013 at 4:32 PM  
OpenID mishaburnett said...

I'd also like to point out that most e-readers support text-to-speech and audiobooks--another big advantage for those of us who find our eyesight failing.

December 1, 2013 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

fIOS—Thank you for your kind wishes. I know Anne appreciates your support at this most difficult time.

Alicia—Wonderful comment. Let's hear it for engineers! What would we do without them? Please send our best & most affectionate regards to your dad.

Natalie—No need to confess. Not around here! lol
And we definitely don't want to be those who aren't with it and don't get it. :-)

Misha—excellent point and another reason ereaders work so well for so many!

December 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I wanted an ereader from the time they came out with them but it took a while for the price to become affordable. I love my Kindle Fire and four of my six children have their own readers. We also all read lots of paper books too and love bookstores. I believe both can exist.

December 1, 2013 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

Yeah, I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age (starting with c.d.'s). I had to buy an e-reader (NOOK) last year when I had to do book reviews and I found it was much cheaper to buy an e-book than it was to buy the print.

But, even though I'm going to be publishing in both formats for the foreseeable future, I'm still going to stick to print when it comes to purchasing/reading.

I think the main reason for me is that after spending some 17 years working for a business that has a very heavy computer infrastructure, I've developed a very short attention span when it comes to reading stuff digitally when it's not work related.

December 2, 2013 at 3:38 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Susan—Thanks for your comment. Seems like ereader prices will continue to come down and holiday sales are already pitching big reductions. Good for everyone, readers and writers alike! I agree that both forms—print and electronic—can and will co-exist.

G.B.—Thank you! Sometimes things that begin with kicking and screaming have happy endings—been known to happen, right? lol

I can certainly understand that working with computers all the time might make turning to print an inviting alternative. Lots of us go back and forth between ebooks and print books. We're in a period of transition so for right now we've got the best of both worlds.

December 2, 2013 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Stephsco said...

Love this post! I bought my mom a Nook ereader 3 years ago because I knew she wouldn't buy one for herself. It was a little clunky at first to do library lending because the libraries were a little sketchy on their educational programs, but since then I've seen library websites with much easier info on how to download ebooks.

I agree it's not an either/or. My mom is a voracious reader who picks up books at garage sales, trades with friends, buys from indies to grocery stores. Ebooks are just one more way for her to read. My mom is not OLD old (at least I don't think) but she's struggled with arthritis for years and she loves the ereader because it's light and stays open flat, so it doesn't strain her hands. She can also adjust the font and most ereaders and devices are backlit now for reading at night.

There are a ton of advantages! I do think that having a tech savvy relative or friend is helpful to get anyone started who might be freaked. I really don't get the idea of all or nothing with ereaders. I use my ereader about 30% of the time, maybe more now, but I still read a lot of print books that I get from the library or from author events.

December 2, 2013 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Stephsco—Thanks for a great comment. Bottom line is: readers wanna read no matter the format.
All it means is more of what we all love for everyone.

December 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

My mom is 80 and buying a Kindle was her idea (and she bought me one too, while she was at it!). GO MAMA!

She loves it, by the way. :)

December 2, 2013 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Natalie M said...

I'm not a Boomer--I just turned 33 two weeks ago-- but I resisted the ebook thing for a good long while. Much of what addressed--longing for the feel, the smell, the physical ownership of the book itself-- were my reasons. I, too, love to be surrounded by books. I felt like if I started reading ebooks, I was going to "the dark side" and would be contributing to the collapse of all that was good and holy with paper texts.

What made me, reluctantly, buy my first ebook (on my iPad) was the difficulty I was having reading on the elliptical at the gym. I'd have to gerryrig clips and sweatbands and towels just so in an effort to hold the book open on the little ledge, and the process of turning the pages...ugh. I decided to take the plunge and use the technology at my fingertips, and what a convenient change it was. I've enjoyed book after book at the gym, and have appreciated the ease of double-clicking a word to check its meaning, or highlighting a favorite passage while on the go.

True, I still love my paper copies, but there are definite perks to using the technology, and you bring up some great points I hadn't considered before about other "pros" to ereaders.. It makes me happy to think that there could be room in the world for both ebooks and paper copies simultaneously; particularly since reading is awesome!

December 2, 2013 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Julie—Go Mama, indeed! She is not alone. A friend of mine—she's 85 & a lifelong reader—bought herself an iPad and has been happily downloading ever since. There are lots of 80-year-olds who are completely up-to-date & your mom definitely sounds like one of them!

Natalie—Thanks for bringing up another great point about ebooks: They are portable. As you say, on the elliptical, on vacation, at a coffee shop, on commuter trains and city buses—I see people enjoying their ereaders everywhere. And I also see people reading hardcovers & paperbacks. There is absolutely room for both and the bonus is readers have more choice than ever before.

December 2, 2013 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger Julie Valerie said...

I imagine folks were pretty upset with moveable type and the Gutenberg press... After all, what if these developments in content delivery put the monks out of business?

More important, I just bought your mother's book. Thinking of you and her during her special time.

December 2, 2013 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger Julie Valerie said...

One final thought. How extraordinary that you are blogging from your mother's bedside - letting us all know electronically that your mother's ebook is on promotion. How extraordinary that we can all click on a link, then click a buy button from the comfort of our homes. I just did that - it took two total "clicks" - two pressings of my index finger on the keyboard. I then clicked a third time and sent a tweet out to my followers on Twitter. You, Anne, didn't have to handwrite individual letters to each one of us, nor did we have to journey to the bookstore in hopes of finding a physical copy on the shelves. How absolutely extraordinary.

December 2, 2013 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Julie—Great point about Gutenberg & the monks. Puts print-to-digital into excellent perspective.

Thanks for your kind words and wishes. I know Anne is most appreciative.

December 3, 2013 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger Trekelny said...

One of your funnier, most accurately descriptive posts, I just loved this one. A fun read about reading! Hope you're doing well nowadays, Anne.
I'm a boomer and proud of it, particularly love the points about larger fonts. If I could afford a reader/tablet I would put every book I ever read on it, make my own annotations, generate new writing on the same screen, and be a very, very happy man-of-a-certain-age.
One of the advantages I haven't seen yet (and am toying with, if I ever do get back to my WiP) is the ability to LINK within and without a tale. My most recent work was a short collaboration with an artist: a book of tales with notes written by a later scribe. Impossible to arrange on paper, just a nightmare of footnoting or sidebars. In electronic format, tap to jump to the sage's notes, then tap to come back to the next tale. It's a snap- and I intend to do more of that.

December 3, 2013 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Trekelny—Thank you for your very kind words in praise of Anne's excellent post. They will certainly cheer her at this difficult moment.

You make an excellent point about the new opportunities opened by electronic formats. I hope you get back to your intriguing sounding WiP soon!

December 4, 2013 at 4:11 AM  
Blogger LD Masterson said...

I'm sorry to be contrary and I agree you made some good points, but this grandmother has an e-reader that sits on the shelve collecting dust while I'm reading paper books.

Oh, and I should mentioned I was an IT Director so it's not fear of technology. I just don't enjoy reading books on a screen. Personal preference, I guess.

December 4, 2013 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

LD—Thank you for bring another POV into the conversation. After spending the day (or most of the day) staring at a screen, switching to print is easier on the eyes. At least it can be for me. Print seems a bit less assaultive visually.

December 5, 2013 at 4:42 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Many thanks to you all, and especially to Ruth for taking over my duties this week.

It's a rough thing to say goodbye to a parent. My mom has always been my rock. But at least I had a good last week with her. I'm back home with my own computer (and my own computer glasses, which I forgot to pack.)

Next Sunday I'll be giving some tips on writing the Dreaded Synopsis.

December 5, 2013 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

Anne, so sorry about your mom…

Ruth, great points about e-readers. I was late to the Kindle scene, but now I love it. Especially how I can download a sequel right after I've finished book 1.

December 6, 2013 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Julie—Anne appreciates your compassionate words at this difficult time.

Thank you, too, from me and thanks, too, for bringing up the instant gratification e-readers offer!

December 7, 2013 at 6:11 AM  
Blogger Claude Nougat said...

My Mom just turned 100 years old and loves her Kindle! I've often thought Amazon should pay her rather than make her pay for the books she reads...Because she reads ONE book per week! Yes, an avid reader and the reason she loves her Kindle are exactly the 3 reasons you give, Anne:
-big font
-instant purchase when a book is finished without the hassle of going to a bookstore or a lending library (she has a hard time moving around - her brain is just fine, the body, well, so-so...)

December 8, 2013 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Claude--What an amazing mom you have. And how very cool that she has a Kindle and loves it. An inspiration to us all!

December 8, 2013 at 8:53 AM  

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