I downloaded my new novel, Rattlesnake Wedding a few days ago, but even I will admit it's not the same thing as holding 360 pages of trade paperback in your hand. Yesterday, I received a twenty-three pound package from Brainerd, Minnesota. I felt like I was ten and just got a twenty-three pound Tony the Tiger from Battle Creek Michigan.
I waned to carve the box open with a knife, but I didn't want to carve up the front cover by mistake. It took me a few moments to open the cardboard with my car key, I then ripped open the flaps and grabbed the book. I made my wife take a picture of me holding the book. The book looked far better than I did.
When I saw my first novel, Rattlesnake Lawyer back in 2000, I caught a spelling mistake on the first page. I had actually cried in the Chicago convention center the sight of Book Expo America. My only complaint was a minor one, there is no blank page between the Author's note and the Prologue, so the Prologue appears on the left side. Will careless readers miss the Prologue page? On page 300, Luna is spelled Liuna.
No need crying over minor mistakes, I have my book in my hands!
I did not feel the same elation when I downloaded the book from amazon. I certainly didn't feel the same sense of ownership. Reading a book on a computer is like reading a newspaper article on the computer or reading an email on the computer. It still feels a little like work.
That's not to say I don't want people to download my books.
I was reading an online article in the New York Times about Google Glass, the eyeglasses people can wear that connect to the internet. That means someone can get an email from someone regarding my book, pay for it and download it instantly and begin reading it, all while being waiting at an intersection in their automatically driven Google car. Presumably I would still be paid for that as well . . .
The Beatles sang derisively about the Paperback Writer. Well, I'm a Paperback Fighter for now...