Monday, August 23, 2010

Changes aren't always for the better...

Are we still talking about change? Or maybe it's the back to school theme. I can't remember, but I'm ready for a change right now. Too bad I can't think of anything to write for either one. But you all know what I do when I can't think of anything to write, don't you?

Wait for it. . . .

Hold on. . . .

No peeking now. . . . .

There! That ought to do it!

*sigh* I feel much better now!

I'm heading to Dale Hollow Lake today with my buddies from the hospital, and the only place I can get internet is at the dock or at the Dairy Queen, so I may not be commenting much this week. We've made this trip plenty of times before, but there's been way too much change going on at our hospital lately, (most of it NOT GOOD AT ALL!!!!) and we need some new scenery very badly! A little down time watching movies and drifting on the lake will help some, but the readjustment when we get back will be even tougher than usual.

Speaking of going back to school, we got my son, Mike, moved into the dorm at Purdue on Saturday, which much was easier than it was the first time, (he's starting graduate school, so this is the sixth time we've done this) but I'll still miss him, and not just because he does the mowing while he's home. I'll miss the way he and my husband banter back and forth. I'll miss his friends coming over to play video games all night. I'll miss fixing his favorite dinners and hearing him say "I love you, Mom" when he takes that first bite. But as always, I will adjust--and he forgot enough things that he'll be home again over Labor Day.

Dorchester authors are facing a change that we all may be seeing in the not too distant future, and if you've been paying attention at all to the publishing world, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There probably will come a time when all books will be primarily e-pubbed, but I really hope the paperback doesn't go the way of the dodo bird--particularly as an author. There's something very special about opening up that box of author's copies and seeing how beautiful they are, and then signing them for your friends and family. I just don't think signing a postcard with the cover printed on it would be the same.

Books printed on paper have survived for centuries, but what happens when the current electronic formats are replaced? Will those books survive or will they be lost? Will every e-published book be carried over into some massive database, or will someone pick and choose which should be saved and which should be discarded? Will someone a hundred years from now be going through an attic and blowing the dust off of a Nook or a Kindle and even know what it is? The batteries will be long dead and there will be no way to read what's on it. But a dusty old book is usually still readable if you understand the language.

It's like photographs going digital. Anyone can pick up an album of old pictures and leaf through it, wondering who those people were and where they came from, what their lives were like and what they were thinking when that photo was taken. Yes, we can put digital files on a CD and they will supposedly last forever, but without something to read it, it's just a round, flat piece of plastic with a hole in the middle.

Something to think about, isn't it?


  1. I came across a book in grad school with a title something like, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." It was small and a lot more readable than the title suggests, and one of the points made therein is that new technology often comes along that replaces something that works just fine--keyless entry to replace My Swain Opening My Door For Me, for example. I agree with you, newer isn't necessarily better, and love looking at my keepers right there beside my bed, covers visible row by row, pages dogeared, the fur loved off them. I haven't bought a kindle yet, and when I do, I'll still keep my keepers as traditional books.

  2. First, thx for the photo even if he looks young enough to be my son. LOL

    Second, I feel awful for the folks at Dorchester. That change is definitely not good for them.

    Third, considering I got to swoon over the ARCs of I Dream of Genies last week, I wouldn't mind if paper backs do go the way of the dodo bird--MY dodo birds. They're in that story and they really don't go anywhere. Maybe a few feet, but not far

    Happy Monday!

  3. I love reading books--on paper. I look at a screen way too much as it is on a daily basis. I want to hold a book in my hands, not a "monitor," when I read.

  4. Hi Grace! Hooray for keepers! Long may they stand silently on our bookshelves for us to read at our leisure. A Kindle with a blank screen just isn't the same!

    Keep the dodo birds coming, Judi. We need as many as we can get!

  5. Hi Terry,
    I will admit that my iTouch is easier to pack around with me, but, yeah, I like the books better.

  6. Well the hunk is very pretty but you always post pretty hunks Cheryl :D

    And I heard about Dorchester going into e-book format. Personally I only buy e-books I can't get in paperback format. I work in a bookstore. I want books to be around for a long time.

    As for photos, I like both digital and print ones. I took a photography class and there's such a joy in being able to develop a picture.

  7. I'm with you guys...I love Books...I prefer to hold a book in my hand when reading. A book may wear out, but it is usually replaceable...e-books on the other hand...are not a bad idea. Some people would prefer them, I'm just leery of 'loosing' the book and having to buy it again. It used to be e-books were less expensive. Not anymore. Amazon is selling a lot of their e-books are store prices! What is the justification in that. There isn't one.

    One of my best memories of reading was reading an old edition of "The Three Musketeers", it was printed in the 1800's and in near perfect condition. I was awed to hold something so old in my hands, and yet it felt so new. I had never read anything my Dumas before, and by the summer was over, I had read every book the college library had. It was so cool. Something tells me those books are still there, just waiting to take someone else on an adventure!

  8. You are right Cheryl. We are creating a society that would vanish--poof--without electronic gadgets. Speaking as someone who threw out 300 or more tapes (remember those?) when I moved, I've already seen exactly the future you point to.

  9. I hate the CHANGES!! Yes, I have a Nook. I took in on vacation. It fits in a small purse. I'm sure that's the problem. We're running out of a space for our books on our planet. I know the dumps are full. I want my favorite books to be buried with me. Or we can be in the same Urn. I like touching and OOgling my books. Have fun at the Lake. Float around on a Inner tube reading a good book. Forget your cares a Woes.

  10. Cheryl,
    You certainly hit a hot button about e-books. Nothing wrong with them but give me paper! These days I do most of my reading at night before I turn out the light and I just don't think I can curl up with Kindle like I can a paperpack book. No paper books would be very sad for me.

  11. Cheryl, what a great post! Change affects everyone differently. For me, my initial response always leans toward the negative until you work through it. I am truly torn about the whole ebook thing. I read about the Dorchester change on a blog recently and you mentioned a workshop that you attended at the last conference. I have no doubt it's the wave of the future, but I agree, I will miss holding a book in my hands. The one and only plus about ebooks is that you don't have to find room in your house for all the books you accumulate. Sadly, though, what happens when the ereader breaks? Same with digital pictures, I've lost tons of photo memories because they were on a computer that crashed and I didn't back up onto a cd.

    Having said that, I think I've missed out on a lot of good reads because they are only available in ebook format.

    It's a really tough call! Have a great time at the lake!

  12. Wow! What a hottie! Thanks for the scenery!

    I too feel a bit cornered by the whole electronic age. Yes, it is easier and cheaper to ePublish since we are now in an era of ease and tech. I guess I should adapt (I went from a word processor to a PC to a laptop--actually, more or less yellow legal pads and spiral notebooks.) But still there is something about the smell of old books, curling up with one at night and falling asleep with it on my chest at one o'clock in the morning. :) I wouldn't live any other way.

  13. Cheryl, I feel for you sending your son off to college. I miss the all-night video game parties, too.
    Where e-books are concerned, I don't think it's an either/or. I have a Sony Reader (I was the first on my block!) and I LOVE it - but I also love paper books, and I read both. I work in bookselling, and while things are changing, we're still selling lots and lots of books. My prediction? It will be a long time before "real" books go away. Many, many people do NOT want to read books on a screen, no matter how technologically advance the screen is. Me? I like both, and I'm happy to have the option.

  14. Okay, we're at the lake and I finally got my friend Terri off of Farm Town long enough to blog a bit.

    I'm with you, Ana. I really hope bookstores don't disappear. They have a very special atmosphere that you just can't find anywhere else.

    Many of the old classics are being scanned into Amazon's stash, but, yeah, holding a two hundred year old book in your hands isn't quite the same as reading the same book on an e-reader. That sense of history is lost.

    Too right, MM! If the power goes off in a thunderstorm, what do you do? You read a book by candlelight! But if your Nook goes dead and can't be recharged, that's the end of the story.

  15. Donna,
    I have my iTouch in my purse, so if I'm waiting somewhere, I always have something to read, but that's the best I can say for it. The rest of the time, I want a REAL book!

    Very sad, Amelia! I like the instant download thing, but if you're not in a hot spot, nothing happens!

    I haven't lost any pictures yet, Lisa, but retrieving them all might be difficult, whereas I can go back to the bookshelf and pic up an album to see my kids when they were little. It seems so much more complicated to browse electronically, though the digital pics are very nice to post on the net--as you well know!

    So true, Loni! When my Harry Potter book topples over onto my chest, I know it's time to turn out the light and go to sleep!

  16. I certainly hope you're right, Joanne. I don't want to give up my books just yet!

  17. I agree with just about everything said here. My name is Nancy, and I'm a print whore:) Technology is great but there's this wheel that goes around....

    I don't honestly believe print books will ever completely die and for sure not in the lifetime I have left to live so I'll continue as I have been...with roughly a year's worth of books in my TBR. *grin*

    That's not to say I won't at some point also get a Nook or similar but I like the feel of a book in my hands.

    I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I went from a MANUAL typewriter to an IBM Selectric to a Word Processor and no, I would never want to go back but a book is different. I've got books that are 20+/- years old and perfectly readable.

    I love the ease of emailing and sharing photos digitally but I will always keep print copies of the ones I absolutely don't want to lose and am always scanning those so I'll have back-up in case of physical lost. Technology can cut both ways:)

    I may not remember specifically all of the books I had in my hands as a child but I do remember loving them. I don't think electronic versions produce the same type of response. I went from fairy tales to Nancy Drew to Mickey Spillane (you have to be of a certain age to remember the author but he wrote hard boiled detective stories). It was even better because I used to sneak these books from my Dad's stash and read them under the covers.

    "Frank Morrison Spillane (March 9, 1918 – July 17, 2006), better known as Mickey Spillane, was a U.S. author of crime novels, many featuring his signature detective character, Mike Hammer. More than 225 million copies of his books have sold internationally.[1] In 1980, Spillane was responsible for seven of the top 15 all-time best-selling fiction titles in the U.S."

    Thanks for that little taste of young (ahem) eye candy Cheryl. He's definitely a cutie pie. Definitely. I'm thinking he should have the benefit of an older woman (*snort*) so you probably need to send him to me;)

  18. Since I sit in front of a computer all day when I read I want to relax and look at an actual paper book. You make a really good point about the electronic media being able to disapeer at the push of a button, or just not being able to have any device to read them. Scary.

  19. Very true about technology working both ways, Nancy. I've scanned some of my old photos into a computer so I could use them digitally, which enables me to share them with countless people. If the internet is truly forever (and nothing ever is) maybe backing things up online would work for a while, but the ease of accessibility is still lost.

    Yeah, Shana. VERY scary!

  20. Very very nice intro, Cheryl! And your change of scenery sounds heavenly. :}