Leveling the Playing Field

True Love

There isn’t much that I love more than stopping in my tracks when I notice a new book from a favorite author. When we touch, sparks fly. I flap the pages in the book, letting the gentle wind brush my face as I inhale the new book scent.

I love books.

I love beautiful covers that capture my interest. I love reading the endorsements from other authors or publications saying, “Read this book!” Of course they pull me in. And of course, I do read the book.

Reflection

I recently stopped to think about this love that I have of books. I finished two books on my Kindle in the recent past: one by a well established author and one by a lesser known author. I read the description of the books on Amazon, clicked “Buy Now”, and then dove right into the story when it arrived on my screen. 

I didn’t turn the e-ink screen pages back so I could see the colorful cover art (it wouldn’t be there anyway). I didn’t read any of the endorsements or praise for the book. Nor did I read the forward by the author. 

It wasn’t until after I finished these books that I realized the journey I shared with them and how it differed from other books I’ve enjoyed over the years. I was in it for the story. 

Story and Leveling the Playing Field

It’s always about the story. Or, it should be. It shouldn’t matter how fancy, colorful, or highly praised a book is on its cover. What matters is the story that lies on the printed page. That’s what holds the reader’s attention and that’s what keeps the reader turning page after page. 

I think e-readers have seriously leveled the playing field. When most of us download a new ebook, it opens directly to page one, where the story begins. Most of us don’t flip to the cover because we know it doesn’t really matter–it’s just gonna be a black and white screen. Boring. Instead, we go right for the story. That’s why we bought the book in the first place. 

Everyone and their dog seems to be publishing books these days. They make it look so easy. Within seconds I can have a book from Stephen King or Shirley Jackson on my Kindle as well as a book from my neighbor. But once that book arrives, they pretty much all look the same (except for a few with serious formatting issues). It’s that sameness that levels the playing field. 

When I’m reading a DTB book and I notice I’m getting a little lost, it only takes me a second to flip back to the cover and remind myself of what drew me to the book in the first place. I can’t do that with a book on my Kindle because it’s not worth the effort for a black and white image. When I get bored reading a DTB, I can flip to the blurb on the back and remind myself that other people liked this book so I should, too. Can’t do that with my Kindle.

Bottom line, it’s the story that keeps people going. E-readers have upped the ante. Stories have to be even better than what’s been acceptable in the past if writers want people to continue to read their work. With so many choices, and such cheap prices, if writers don’t grab readers right away they will move on to the next book in line on their e-reader. 

Fire

My Kindle Fire arrived not too long ago and is my new best friend. The Fire has added the color element in a nice way. It’s also faster for me to travel throughout my book. But, my bottom line hasn’t changed. The story is what keeps me swiping my finger across the screen to turn the page. 

Story. Period. 


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