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I have to admit to being technologically challenged. This simple blog requires all of my computer skills (hence, the spaces between the lines of the copyright message above – can’t figure out how to remove them). Web pages confuse me. Facebook befuddles me every time the setup changes (which seems to be often). Twitter? Haven’t even tried. I still carry a “dumb phone” — it makes and takes calls and texts quite well, but does not access the internet.
To paraphrase Leonard “Bones” McCoy — “I’m a storyteller, not a computer whiz!”
So, it should come as no surprise that I was a bit slow coming around to ebooks. Clinging to my treasured library of hardcovers and paperbacks, I couldn’t imagine reading on a screen, when I spend so many hours a day staring at a computer screen for writing. Every so often, when my shelves overflow, I gather bags of books to donate to the local shelters or other deserving organizations, but I still have a lot of books stashed in closets and cases. When I travel, I always try to find extra space for books – which has become increasingly difficult as airlines limit more and more the amount we can carry on or even check. I have sat many times in waiting rooms, wishing I’d remembered to bring along a book, having read every year-old magazine within my reach.
And then last year my son gave me an iPod Touch for Mother’s Day. I’d used the iPod Nano before, but this was the first time I’d had the capability of downloading a book to carry with me using iBooks or Kindle format. Just as an experiment, I bought a couple of books from iTunes, downloaded the Kindle app and bought a couple of books there. And even though the screen is very small, requiring a lot of page-turn swipes – I love it. A book is always at hand, and I have pulled that little reader out more times than I can count already. I’m even catching up on some old classics I enjoyed years ago (many of them free downloads). Now I’m looking at Kindles and Nooks and other readers, thinking maybe I’m ready for a somewhat larger screen.
After her stroke, my older daughter found herself spending more time commuting to work by bus, so she decided to invest in an e-reader. After trying out several formats in the local stores, she chose a Kindle because it was lightweight and easiest for her to operate with the use of only one hand. She uses it everyday to pass the time during her forty-minute-each-way bus ride. I’ve noticed more and more people reading on various types of devices in waiting rooms, on planes and buses and in coffee shops. With pocket and purse sized readers and instant downloads, books have become more portable and available than ever. What a joy for us avid readers!
Quite a few of my older books that were formerly out of print have been re-released under the Harlequin Treasury imprint. They are available for Kindle and Nook and through eHarlequin.com. I love knowing that some of my favorite older stories (such as A VALENTINE WISH, my first “ghost story” romance) are now available to readers again. More titles should become available in coming months.
I will always enjoy curling up in a chair with a new hardcover or paperback and a cup of my favorite tea, but it’s lovely to know that I can have a selection of books always at hand wherever I go now. Bring on that waiting room!