We had a massive storm here the other day and ended up with a blackout. It was getting dark at the time anyway – but now visibility inside the house was an issue in terms of typing on a computer without a backlit keyboard or reading. Not knowing how long we would be without power, I didn’t want to use my iPhone in case I used all the battery before I could charge it.
And then I remembered my Kindle. I didn’t need the electric light to read! It was at least half charged – so I should be good to read until bedtime if necessary. Happy days!
How much the world of writing and reading has changed – even in my lifetime. Sure, the use of technology creates issues when the power goes out and batteries aren’t fully charged. But the improved possibilities far outweigh the downsides.
Gone are the days when you have to carry a book around if you want to read a book. Better still, you can carry several books around with you – perfect if you are going for a holiday. What I find particularly perfect is that I can read in bed without needing a light on to drive my husband mad while he is trying to go to sleep.
What’s more – they are cheaper than conventional books, meaning that they are more economically available to more people. As a writer, I love this idea. Most of the writers I know want their work read more than they want to be paid a lot of money for each book. If the book is cheaper to buy because it doesn’t need to be printed, it is more likely that a wider audience will be reached – possibly resulting in more sales and money anyway.
While we are on the book not needing to be printed – I do like the idea that no tree is damaged in the reading of an eBook.
I love stories. Not just writing them, but reading them as well. But I just don’t have the time to read as much as I would like to. Enter the audiobook.
My car has become the place where I listen to books. Mind you, I leave the easy to listen to ones for while I’m driving. But the end result is that I have more exposure to the stories of others by using this method of access to books.
I have also listened to a couple of books in the comfort of my loungeroom with my husband: a great way to share a book at the same time. No need to wait for it to be finished by one person so another can read it. Discussion can happen immediately (we used the ‘pause’ capacity quite a few times) just like if you watch a movie together.
They are more expensive than eBooks, but still cheaper than most conventional books. And, once again, no paper required for the finished product. Win – win as far as I’m concerned.
Technology and writing
We all know the advances in the use of technology for the writer. No longer is the writer tied to their desk, tapping away at a typewriter. No longer does changing you mind about where you want a sentence or a word require a whole page rewrite because it has been written in either longhand in a notebook or on a typewriter. Want to write on a train or plane? No problem – laptops are portable.
Want some help organising your work? There are several computer programmes out there for you to use: take your pick. Just want to write electronically? Word is brilliant. Want to write collaboratively? Use alpha or beta readers? GoogleDocs is your best friend. Needing to work with your editor? Electronic delivery of manuscript is essential. Looking for an agent or publisher? Research online then contact via email. Sending your manuscript to a publisher? More often than not, an emailed document is required.
I love old stuff too
Don’t get me wrong. Not only do I love notebooks, pens, pencils and conventional books – but I still use them. There is nothing like holding a book, turning the pages to find out what happens next. And I carry a notebook in my handbag (you never know when you are going to get an idea). But I also love the freedom that technology gives me.
I am happy to have the best of both worlds.