Yet Another Sign of the Times

By Joe Moore

Things just keep on changing.

Back in August, my blog post Goin’ Through Them Changes was about how after 26 years I canceled my subscription to the local newspaper (South Florida Sun-Sentinel) in favor of a digital subscription. I now sip my Dunkin Donuts coffee each morning while reading the paper on my computer screen. Among the many advantages to digital over paper, there’s no recycling to the curb each week, no need to chop down trees, and no ink on my fingers. Since my August post I’ve discovered that many newspapers around the country including The New York Times are now offering digital-only subscriptions. The only thing missing is the thumping sound of the morning edition hitting my hard drive at 5:30 AM like it used to sound when the guy tossed the paper on my driveway.

In September, one of my posts was called The Great MMPB Vanishing Act about an article in The New York Times on the decrease in sales of mass market paperbacks and the growth of ebooks. Some say ebooks are the new MMPB.

Later on in September, I posted a blog called More Signs of the Times about a piece in The Economist on the slump of hardcover sales and the continued rise of ebooks. Are you seeing an industry trend here?

Well, this weekend I read about another ebook development that I think is equally exciting. Yet another sign of the times. Libraries in South and Central Florida now kindle4offer anyone with a library card free ebooks downloaded to their Kindle, Sony, Nook, laptop, desktop, iPhones, iPads and . . . well the list of devices goes on and on. Library patrons can check out up to 10 titles at a time and have 21 days to read each. Free Kindle downloads are issued directly from your Amazon account and include current bestsellers and new releases. My library has over 16,000 ebook titles and close to 9,000 audio books with the list growing all the time. Videos are available, too.

Here’s more good news for just about everyone. You can borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the U.S. Chances are your local library already has this feature or will soon. So check it out and check out a free book. You can download the book in seconds and have plenty of time to read it.

What do you think of this latest development? Are you already reading ebooks free from your library on your Kindle, Nook or iPad? If not, do you intend to look into it? Will it affect or change your reading habits? Where do you think this is all leading? Happy reading!

Oprah blesses the Kindle

The word sent a jolt through the author community:

“Oprah endorses Kindle.”

The Kindle, in case you’ve been marooned on another planet, is Amazon’s much-ballyhooed e-book reader. Oprah’s nod is likely to give the gadget a boost in sales. To quote one industry insider, a blessing by the Queen of Talk TV means that “the sale of Kindles will increase sales by approximately one bazillion percent.”

I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to gadgetry, so I haven’t tried the Kindle yet. But I was gratified recently to learn that my latest book, A KILLER WORKOUT, has been published in a Kindle edition. Now that my book has made its debut in the e-reader world, it feels like my baby has grown up and left home. And forgotten to send a postcard.

I’ve been a “slow adopter” when it comes to e-reader technology. Basically, this is because, 1) my daughter convinced me to buy a very expensive e-book reader years ago, and it broke within a month; and 2) I find it tiring to read text all day on the computer screen.

But I have to admit, there are some real advantages to e-books, particularly the Kindle. For example, when I heard that Kindle lets you increase the text size, I thought—“Okay, this is a winner.” Me and a silent majority of over-40 presbyopic-somethings, we’re yearning for text that is ten feet tall!

Plus, the Kindle promises that its “revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.”

I will definitely give the Kindle a trial run (probably by giving it to someone close as an Xmas present).

Meanwhile, I’m interested to hear from folks who have tried the Kindle. What’s the reading experience like? Authors, have Kindle sales boosted your audience?