The other afternoon I wandered downstairs onto the first floor of the Somers Manse for the first time in weeks. I avoid the first floor because the front door is located there and past experience has taught me that the front door is the gateway through which the outside world torments me. Neighbors always want to speak with me about vague “behavior” issues, their children always want to taunt me with childish insults and name – calling, and authorities of all kinds are always delivering subpoenas or demanding admittance to ask me questions – all very tedious.
So, despite the fact that it inspires the local kids to more and more creative names for me, I tend to stay upstairs, where I have everything I need: My tatter bathrobe, my Converse Chucks, bottles of Rye in the desk drawers (for sustenance), and plumbing facilities. Whenever I am lured downstairs I always seem to get into trouble.
This time, however, I found to my delight my first royalty statements for The Electric Church. Discovering that several thousand people you don’t know personally have opted to spend money on your book is always cause for celebration, and the next 24 hours are a bit of a blur.
When I woke up, I took another glance at the statement and discovered that a good number of folks had bought TEC electronically. I don’t know for sure that all – or any – of these were Kindle sales, but I assume at least some of them must have been. This remains a tiny, tiny portion of my sales, but you hear a lot about the Kindle. Personally, I’d rather have bamboo shoots slid under my toenails than read a book on the kindle, but then I am also the Last Man on Earth to Not Own a Personal Cell Phone, so I’m obviously an idiot. When the Kindle first emerged I thought it would die a quick, smothered death, but it hangs on, doesn’t it. not exactly taking the world by storm, but still. . .there.
I’ll probably never own one, or anything similar. I just like books too much. While my sad devotion to an ancient technology is. . .well, sad, it doesn’t bother me much. I enjoy gloating over my stacks and stacks of cheap paperbacks too much. Carrying around all the same books in one brick-like digital reader just depresses me. Plus, I worry about DRM issues and not actually owning anything. It’s bad enough that I had to replace all my old Iron Maiden cassettes with CDs, if I have to buy old 1980s Del Rey fantasy books all over again just to satisfy my OCD tendencies, I will cry. And I don’t doubt at all that 10 years from now the kindle will be a convenient paperweight and we’ll all have to re-buy all of our books on the Apple iBook or some such bullshit.
Still, I don’t hate the kindle. No, really. The rosy glow of book geek joy that emanates from folks when they’ve just bought one means that at least people are excited about reading, and as an author I can’t look down on that, now can I? If it gets people to read more, than I’m all for it. Just like that dreadful Harry Potter.
Oh well. No one is paying any attention to a rummy skiffy writer like me, and thank goodness. If people were paying attention to me, we’d likely be going through some sort of worldwide economic crisis. . .oh dear.