With the announcement of Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited book subscription service, I started to wonder how long I’d be willing to keep my library and favorite Barnes & Noble bookstore in my rotation of book consumption.
When I moved last month, one of the very first things I did was to go to the local library to get a new card; and I’ve been going to the library since I was a little girl; when I was a teenager I did volunteer work there, shelving books, and when I had my own daughter, I got her a library card and we went at least once a week. My new local library is small, but it sits on the Indian River, just over the causeway from the Atlantic Ocean – and its back wall is all glass – the view is unmatched.
One of the first stores I looked for in my new town was the B&N. My house has books everywhere – years of cultivating different genres, and hours and hours spent walking bookstore aisles in order to add to my collection. And when the collection needed weeding out, I donated them to the library. My point here is that I treasure books. Real books – ones that I can hold, flip through, stack up, put between cool bookends I find and any other physicality of the real thing.
This doesn’t mean I haven’t embraced all types of technology as it’s developed. When audio books were introduced, I was all for it. A way to listen to a book when I was driving or working? Heck yes! So you won’t be surprised to know I have a Kindle. There came a point where I told myself I had to cut down on the money I spent on purchasing books; but it was hard as a writer to feel okay about paying so much less for a digital version. Of course, I never could cut myself off completely from the joy of visiting and buying from bookstores (new and used).
So what do I do now? Out of necessity now, my budget is almost zilch for new book purchases. A few weeks ago I bought three new books, and I’m almost done with the second one. I’ve also been checking out from the library – but now this new offering from Amazon. What effect will this have on the already declining activity both our libraries and bookstores are seeing? I haven’t read anything on my kindle in many many months, but this new free 3 month offer has me wavering.
As a lover of books and a writer, how do I support an even stronger digital arena without helping to destroy traditions that I love?
I’d like to think I’m not alone in this, so if you’ve been contemplating the changes in our publishing world I’d love to hear from you.