Publishing continues to change. E-books are reaching beyond their devices. That’s good for me!
Once upon a time, e-books lived within desktop computers. Yes, there was a time before e-book readers. My first e-book, Just Keep Pedaling, was published in 2002. It lived in a couple of formats that were cumbersome and so locked down that people had a hard time opening the files. (The remaining format is much more agreeable.) They were either read on desktop computers, laptops that are large compared to today’s standards, or on PDAs that were so small that each page only held a few sentences. I read Dickens’ Great Expectations that way, just shy of 200,000. That was a lot of page flipping.
As kindle and nook became available it was easy to assume that an e-book written for one couldn’t be read on the other. Competitors don’t play nice with each other. Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland was published for Kindle, and it was easy for me to maintain that mindset that what was written for Kindle stays on Kindle. Intellectually I knew that was arbitrary, and that software can reside on almost any machine, but I simplified my life by making that easy distinction. Of course I was wrong.
Yesterday while I was selling photos and paperbacks as part of the Christmas shopping season, a friend dropped by and decided to buy the e-book instead. She’d bought it for her iPad. Thanks for my “Duh” moment. Well of course that works. Amazon and Kindle have provided Free (nice word) Free Kindle Reading Apps, downloadable software that allows Kindle e-books to be read on smartphones (ala the old PDAs), computers (desktops, but also on today’s much lighter laptops), and on tablets (iPad, Android, and Windows). The same is true for Nook.
The oldest walls remain though because I haven’t found kindle emulation software that runs on a Nook, or Nook emulation software that runs on a kindle. But I suspect that if you used either to browse the web that you could read via the cloud readers.
E-books are breaking past their traditional boundaries, and I am glad. You see, I published Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland on Kindle, but I didn’t even have an e-book reader. What I do have is an iPad that I won, and that now has the Kindle app and my book and a growing electronic bookshelf. Now I can read my own book! (Which I’ll have to do and get to do in public when I do public readings and such. The schedule is open and filling. Anyone want me to drop by in person or virtually?)