Remember back in the 90's, when Bill Clinton was running for president, and the catchphrase became "It's the economy, stupid!" as a way to sum up the most important issue in the nation? Well, this came to mind recently while I was reading my Nook and thinking about the sweeping changes in the world of publishing. Everyone is talking about how bookstore closings, skyrocketing e-publishing figures and the decline of the printed word is affecting literature. Within my own home there are factions: two daughters who are fiercely clinging to traditional books and refusing to read e-books, and one daughter, one son-in-law and one husband (plus me!) who own e-readers and enjoy the easy access to our favorite books.
But in the midst of all of this posturing, let's not forget the point: it's the reading, stupid.
Right now I'm enjoying the first book in Nora Roberts' latest trilogy on my Nook. I loved the fact that I could download this book at midnight on November 1st; I didn't have to go to the bookstore, wait for a package to arrive or be the first one at the library when it opened that morning. The book was there, waiting for me to enjoy it.
The fact that I am reading it in a non-print format doesn't remove any of the romance, mystery or magic from the book.
We can argue all day long about quality, paper versus download, but when it comes down to it, e-books have as much potential as traditional books. Yes, there is a lot of garbage still being "published" as electronic books, but there are also some really poor work out there in print, as well.
I am concentrating on publishing my first book electronically by the end of the year, but it doesn't mean that I have eschewed traditional publishing. If the opportunity, I would love to see my work in print, on a page made of paper.
But it's more important to me to get my 'baby' out there, no matter how it's done. I want other people to read it.
Because after all, it's the reading, stupid.