Evil eReaders and Christian Fantastical Fiction

eReaders are the sign of the decay of the written word as we know it and the onset of the literary apocalypse.

In other words, I don’t like them very much.  I am that curmudgeon who declares that the written word is best on the printed page.  Who loves comparing the art on different book covers.  Who delights in smelling the binding of a book for the whiff of fresh paper and glue.

And yet, I’m thinking of purchasing an eReader.

It’s battle between my pride in holding actual, wonderful, tactile books vs. a desire to encourage new authors in the fantastical genres.  The thing is, a lot of books are being published via eBook, especially on the little-known website you may have heard of called Amazon.com.  And with the advent of Kindle Direct Publishing, it seems like pretty much anyone can get their words online.

A lot can and has been said about how bad this is for the future of literature.  No more is there a protective barrier of editors, agents, and publishing houses to filter through the masses of flotsam for the gems of literature.  Now anyone can get their ideas out there, no matter how ill-fashioned, unpolished, or frankly illiterate they are.

I agreed with these points.

And then I worked at a bookstore. There I learned first-hand that many publishing houses aren’t interested in publishing the best of the best, just the best-selling.  I flipped through books with spelling errors, grammar mistakes, publishing glitches.  Within the pages were gaping plot holes and thin characterization.  There were whole series of books created when the original book would have been sufficient.

I don’t blame the publishing houses.  In this day and age, their financial security relies even more heavily  upon getting marketable material.  Christian publishing houses, though admirably conscious of their call to publish solid, Christ-centered fiction, are not exempt from this basic financial pillar.  The result is that, if a type of literature is an easy sell to readers, they will produce more of it.  If another type of literature, perhaps in the fantastical vein, is a risky sell to readers, then publishers are less likely to take a chance.  This situation results in many writers of Christian fantastical fiction peddling their wares to much smaller publishing houses with higher mark-up costs on books, the even more expensive print-on-demand, or else to eBooks,

I firmly believe in the growing quality of Christian fantastical fiction, and I want to support up and coming authors.  However, I’m also on an underpaid teacher’s budget.  eBooks are the only answer.  And, I could download books to my laptop, I have no desire to burn my eyes out with a backlit computer screen.

So it’s back to the dreaded eReader.  The bane and blessing of my reading existence.  And now, a purchase I’m planning for.

What are your thoughts?  Any recommendations for which one to buy?


Taste of the Fantastical

The elusive Bread-and-Butterfly.

“Its wings are thin slices of Bread-and-butter, its body is a crust, and its head is a lump of sugar.”  (It lives on) “Weak tea with cream in it.”  It can never find any, so it always dies.  -from Through the Looking Glass

Someday, I will open a sanctuary for old books and Bread-and-Butterflies.

For now, I will continue to: Read the Extraordinary.  Responsibly. (Even on eReader)

6 thoughts on “Evil eReaders and Christian Fantastical Fiction

  1. Let me first say, I’m in agreement with you about print books. I highly favor them for many reasons. Yet I also own an e-reader and use it in certain circumstances. Previously I would have suggested the Nook, since I have one (several years old now) and I’m pleased with it. However, since the Amazon is now offering some inexpensive Kindles, it’s probably worth considering that device. I know a number of people quite happy with the Kindle, and Amazon tends to offer a slightly wider selection of books.

    I’m also with you in wanting to support Christian speculative fiction, and I hope we will see more of it in years to come!

  2. Thanks for the comment and information! Yes, I’m leaning towards a Kindle as well. I used to sell Nooks at a bookstore, so I’m partial to them, but Amazon is the place to get stuff from new authors. I just wish they weren’t so exclusive. Ah well, beggars can’t be choosers!

  3. Adam has been getting things through Amazon, and although he doesn’t have a Kindle yet, I believe he wants one. The written physical word will always have a draw and an appeal to me. I do so hope it will not become a dying art, and yet for an up and coming writer, publishing books on the Internet can be an incredibly viable option (and much less expensive).

    Even so there’s something wistful and awe-inspiring in wandering through a personal library and pulling a treasured novel off the shelf, or leafing through a bookstore to find that perfect new book. Barnes & Noble is still my literary oasis. Still, the debate swirls in my head over whether it’s worth it, but I’m typically behind the times with the latest technology (I still love my 90s cd player and have not upgraded to an mp3 player or an iPod for nostalgia reasons) and don’t cave until the last possible second.

    Happy hunting and decision-making!

  4. I agree with you… I’m a hardcore book fan; I like the smell, the feel, the look of books. One advantage I’m seeing to eBooks is that publishers can produce a book first as an eBook (no risk to them) and, if it does well, bring it out in print. And as you say, authors can get their books into reader’s hands without going through the middleman. Which could put a lot of flotsam out there, or could push publishers to search for higher quality books.

  5. “And as you say, authors can get their books into reader’s hands without going through the middleman. Which could put a lot of flotsam out there, or could push publishers to search for higher quality books.”

    Yes indeed. Or the end result could be both, which would certainly turn the publishing world even more on it’s head.
    And again, the term “higher quality” is subjective–it will still come down to what the publisher think will sell the best in print, which can often have nothing to do with quality.

  6. Pingback: A New Year is a Terrible Thing to Waste | The Quiet Pen

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