Archive for the ‘Digital’ Category

Did YLL ever, in a million years, think that she would want a Kindle? No way, baby! YLL was smugly old-school, reading library books in bed, in the bathtub. Lugging multiple tote-bags with of reading on every vacation. At a conservative estimate YLL reads 250+ books a year, and buys maybe 4 or 5 of those. YLL buys the books that she loves, that that will be read over and over, and admired on neatly organized shelves. What need does YLL have for eBooks? Except, of course, that YLL needs to be able to explain to the library-using public how to work their technology.

So YLL learned how to make it work. The library got a Sony Reader and YLL taught herself the ins-and-out of using Overdrive (the company that manages digital collections for libraries) and eReaders. YLL didn’t hate it. YLL even read a Lee Child book in digital and it was fine, but YLL wasn’t a convert.

Then YLL decided to teach herself the Overdrive app for the iPod Touch. Up till then YLL used an iPod mainly for music and to watch TV in the bathtub (Crazy you say? Holding an iPod is WAY easier—and less stressful—than balancing a laptop on the edge of the tub, which is what YLL had been doing.)

YLL downloaded the app, then checked out some books, and it was easy. So. Very. Easy. YLL checked out more books, reading two per bath.  YLL read them in the middle of the night when struck with insomnia.  YLL didn’t even care that about the need to “turn” the page every 3 sentences. YLL was sold.  YLL started thinking about a Kindle.

YLL’s relationship with Amazon is problematic. They’re a big corporation, and YLL is a reactionary liberal. Amazon does shitty stuff, like making a christmastime app that lets you scan an isbn in a bricks & mortar bookstore and buy it from Amazon. Ick.  On the other hand they also are helping to break down the historic barriers to publication that authors face. Unlike many other retailers, they know that there really is money to be made in books. Especially if your model is big enough. When libraries first started acquiring digital collections and making them available for eReaders, Amazon flat out said “No way. We’re in the business of selling books, not lending them.” But here’s the thing. For a giant, evil, corporation, Amazon listens. They’re smart enough to know that you can’t piss off your customers too much, cause the loyalty your customers feel is about you giving them what they want.

So Amazon, bit the bullet and agreed that they would find a way to make library books work on the Kindle. And they way they found works really well. Maybe even better than the other eReaders, because it’s entirely wireless. And easy. And convenient. Just like pretty much any shopping experience through Amazon is—because they’re so frickin smart.

So YLL hemmed and hawed.  YLL debated (out loud, and at length, because that’s how she thinks) about buying herself a Kindle. And when Christmas came YLL’s partner ended the ongoing moral ambivalence by making a the decision YLL secretly want to make.

And YLL loves it. YLL had spent the past several months minimizing all the stuff of life (music goes digital, paper and photographs get scanned, unused things find a home where somebody will love them) YLL is realizing that even books aren’t sacred—there are some things that YLL will be more than happy to keep digitally rather than dedicate limited shelf space for. One of YLL’s favorite authors has just released a digital-only novella. YLL can buy it from directly from the author, who gets to keep all, not most of, the money. If this is how YLL shops for other stuff (the new Kindle case came from Etsy—handmade by a women running her own business—not from Amazon) why not books? A lon-local but direct economy made possible by digital purchase. YLL thinks it could be a thing.


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