Thursday, October 1, 2009

Probably The Most Random Post You've Ever Read

As I was perusing my local library’s web site for books and happily clicking hold buttons, I had an old memory surface from the deep dark recesses of my mind. Remember when you had to write your name on an index card to check out a book? Looking at that card, you could see who checked out the book before you. How cool was it if you got to write your name below the name of the cute boy you secretly liked? It was magical. It was fate. It was DESTINY. I’m pretty sure that in some countries it means you’re married or something. Well, that and maybe there has to be an exchange of a goat or two.

Technology has changed a lot of things at the library. Remember those big wooden card catalogs? Gone. Remember all the time spent in 3rd grade learning the Dewey Decimal system? What a freaking waste of time. We could have used that valuable time to learn more New Math, or the metric system. Thanks a lot President Ford. (Those of you who are also children of the 70’s know what I’m talking about) Now when I want a book, I click the hold button on the library web site and they call me when my books are ready. I walk in the library, go to the desk and they hand me my books. I don’t even have to look at the shelves anymore. Pretty sweet. But I do kinda miss the magic of the index cards.

Technology has also changed the way we read and purchase books. In March, I got a Kindle 2 for my birthday and to date I have 115 books on it. When I say I have a Kindle, some people react like I have sacrificed my soul on the altar of Amazon and make the sign of the cross to ward off the evil oozing from my pores. I don’t care. They can bite me. I love my Kindle. I want to marry it and have its babies. I saw a tweet yesterday that said “Kindle is coming to the UK, for the better or for the worst.” Really? For the worst? How could it be for the worst? Look, nobody’s gonna force you to buy a Kindle. If you don’t want it, don’t buy it. But maybe some people in the UK would like to buy a Kindle, so now they can. What’s the big deal? Is there some underlying evil I’m missing?

Sure, there are some things that bother me, like why oh why can’t I get Julie Garwood’s backlist of medievals on the Kindle. Judith McNaught’s A Kingdom of Dreams? Not on Kindle. The major T-Pain in my ass right now? Some publishers *coughStMartinscough* are charging $7.99 for a Mass Market Paperback and then charge me $9.99 for the Kindle version. See, here's the deal pubs, if I shell out money for an e-reader, chances are I spend money and read books. Yeah. Go figure. In fact, people who buy e-reading devices are probably your best customers. In these tough ecomomic times, do you really want to piss off your best customers? Publishers, please don’t turn our relationship into a manipulationship. Manipulationships are ugly because both parties can engage. I could make a list of all the pubs that do this. Maybe I’ll call it “Kindlers List.” People would read that list publishers, oh yes they would, and then they would get all angryfied and boycotty. Because that’s what people do when they feel like they’re getting the shaft. Or maybe not. Maybe they’ll just go to the library. So straighten up, fly right and make it fair.

For the most part, I’m loving my Kindle. I have 115 books I don’t have collecting dust on my book shelves and I can carry around those 115 books everywhere I go. I’ve downloaded free e-books and found a lot of new authors that I probably would never have read otherwise and I’ve bought their backlist or their new releases because of it. This has come in very handy these past 4 months.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer in May and the last 4 months have been one hellish hospital stay after another and lots of my time spent traveling from Missouri to Illinois to Texas and back. My Kindle has been a godsend. I can buy and read books while sitting in the airports and hospital rooms. My mom is a big reader as well and I credit her with instilling in me my love of reading aka my addiction. She encouraged me to read at a very young age by reading to me, showing me that reading was important and enjoyable by having a book in her hands almost everyday and by introducing me to the library. Love you mom! :)

Before I leave to go stay with her, I download samples of books I think she may like and hasn’t read yet. I let her read the samples and choose the book she wants to read and buy it right then and there without having to leave the hospital. So convenient! More often than not, we turn on the Text To Speech feature and we, as well as the other cancer patients in the room, listen to the books. (Sshhhhhh. Don’t tell the Authors Guild) I can’t tell you how much this has helped her frame of mind. It gives us all something to think about and talk about besides pain, surgeries and cancer.

So eff off e-book and e-reader haters. I love my Kindle and I’m not sorry. (Pssst, Kindle, I’ll be the big spoon tonight.)

P.S. While I was tripping down memory lane, I thought of a few more obsolete things. Remember these?

Skate keys that you wore on a string around your neck.
The Frito Bandito
TV’s that took about 5 minutes to warm up
A-bomb safety drills at school
Crissy dolls that grew longer hair when you pushed a button on their head.
Laundry detergent that came with free glasses or dishes in the box.
Milk came in glass bottles with cardboard tops
The egg lady would deliver TO YOUR HOUSE a dozen fresh eggs for 45 cents. 50 cents for brown eggs
Romper Room (I had my very own Romper Stompers)
The soap opera Dark Shadows and the cartoon Jonny Quest used to scare the crap outa me.

Ahhhhh…the 70’s. The decade where there were no “participant trophies”, (There were only winners and if you weren’t the winner you were the LOSER so suck it up you big crybaby.) and the word “self-esteem” wasn’t even invented yet.

What are some of your favorite memories of things that no longer exist and make you feel really old when you talk about them?


Keira Gillett said...

"I’m pretty sure that in some countries it means you’re married or something."

Yes! I agree! lol :D Fantastic post. Libraries certainly have changed.

Thanks for the laughs!

Keira Gillett said...

Oh and btw...

Never saw the 70s myself but I'm reading a bunch of 70s romance categories from Mills&Boon/Harlequin... I call him the alpha (matrimonial rapist) hero... he's a thing of the past. He demands respect, subservience, and obedience from his heroine. MOC in romance today would not have him as it's now deemed okay to enjoy sex and be equal in all ways to a man.

lisabea said...

Well. Kim. First, I heart you and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your mom.

And I want to acknowledge your help and assistance in Gobsmacked--I never wrote a Thanks for that book because I had NO clue what I was doing--and your help was incredible.

Last--Ford. I mean, really. I remember that year we were supposed to switch to metric. Yeah. That lasted.

7o's? HR Puff'n Stuff--holy crap do you remember that? With Jack Wild? Now that was the 70's baby!

And: Creature Double Feature. I used to hide behind the couch when my brother and sister watched it.

Lea said...

Hey Kim;

Great post. Well, because I was a child of the **# meaning long before the 70's I guess the biggist changes I've noticed is certainly yes in technology - yikes, that changes almost monthly. However, I think the sophistication of the romance genre has changed generally over the years too.

It is pretty awesome actually and Keira phrased it quite nicely.


Kim said...

Keira~ LOL "matrimonial rapist" so true! I don't think I've ever read a romance from the 70's I have from the 80's so I think I know where your coming from. Now you've got me curious. I'll have to look some up. Do you have a favorite author you can recommend?

Lisabea~ Thanks for your thoughts and prayers it's been a battle and you're welcome! It was alot of fun and I was honored. OMG Witchypoo! Puff had the cutest little white boots! heh Love that show.

Lea~ I know. Technology is not always my friend but I have to say thank god for some of it...especially microwaves. :)

rebyj said...

Hi Kim!
Great post. My best to your mom. I loved flicking thru the card catalog at the library and miss that.

Some things of the 70s I remember with fondness is stuff like seeing vw vans with flowers painted on them and wanting to grow up to be a hippy.

Captain Kangaroo, Scooby Doo and Shazam,Isis, Wonder Woman and Laura Ingalls on tv.

I wanted to be grown up enough (have boobies enough) to wear halter tops made out of a bandana. Those were the COOLEST! Never did because I didn't get boobs till 1983 LOL.

I knew all the words to "Seasons in the Sun" Emo songs now don't have nuthin on the boohoo'ness of that old song!

Then there was disco, I can almost remember how to do the Hustle even now!

Kim said...

Hi and thanks Rebyj!
Oh! I had a hippy aunt and uncle that had one of those vans, it was dark green I think and had a daisy and a peace sign on it. LOL

I loved Isis and The Blue Falcon. I wanted them to be girlfriend and boyfriend soooo bad. I was a romantic even at that young age :)

You had talent if you could do the hustle. All I could ever do was the bump. and I was awful at that.

Tracy said...

Oh Kim – I totally remember the days of checking things out by filling out a card! Wow – that brings back memories. And you’re right – I think that does marry some people in other countries! lol

I don’t have a Kindle, but I do have an ereader and just love it. I DO think that ebooks should be cheaper than the print though – I mean, come on! We’re saving paper people! lol

I hope your mom is doing well – hang in there. 

Mumma J said...

Hi Kim

This is the first time I've read one of your posts, it won't be the last.

Kindles are not available down here in the netherworld of Oz. *pondering* I wonder how long it will take for them to arrive? I usually read book books but my daughter reads voraciously on her Sony ereader and feels the same as you. She probably would have its children but I don't think it is a female.

Aaahh memories... I was a child of the fifties and a teenager in the sixties. We didn't have a television until I was 13, a record was really a record (I have no idea how to use an IPod) and
coke was coca cola NOT any of the other varieties including the powdered kind!

Best wishes to your Mumma, I bet she truly enjoys her time with you. May God grant her a speedy recovery.

Mumma J said...

It's me again...

Forgot to say that I'm a teacher and we are still teaching the Dewey system to our kids!

Mumma J said...

Me three...

Meant to say don't think it's a male... Jeez that'll teach me to proof my stuff!

Kim said...

Tracy~ I loved looking at all the names on those cards and oho you were in trouble if you wrote your name in pen instead of pencil. LOL Our librarian would pull our ears off!

Thanks for the good wishes!

Mumma J ~ Thanks for the compliment and the warm wishes!
Oh yes I remember very well records and I am like you, I have no idea what to do with an IPod, I can barely work my cell phone LOL Oh my the Dewey. Well I have to say I did better at learning that than I did the metric system!

Kim said...

Mumma J~ Hahahahaohno That's ok...I knew what you meant!

Anida Adler said...

Fantastic post, made my morning a little brighter.

I'm fixating on the prices for e-books. To my mind, making e-books more expensive is insane, ludicrous, suicidal. Why would I go buy a kindle/sony e-reader for a few hundred dollars and then pay more for books if I can buy a shelf for $50 and get secondhand books for next to nothing from the charity shop? They can thank their lucky stars the benefits to an e-reader such as you had personal experience of, are still enough to justify the investment for some people. For me, those benefits don't exist: I don't travel a lot, and when I do I usually download a couple of books and just read it on my netbook, which I lug along anyway as I can't bear to not write for two or three days.

Publishers who do stuff like that need to get with the programme. And publishers who are smart - could there be a huge selling point here? 'We sell our e-books at a cheaper price, therefore drawing people who by the very fact that they own an electronic reading device show that they are our target market'.

I just cannot comprehend an e-book costing even the same as a paperback, nevermind those which are more expensive. You have me curious now. The cost of bringing a book to the point of being ready for publication must surely be the same. How does cost compare from there if you contrast directing the end product to a shelf as opposed to a website?

Kim said...

Anida Adler~ Great comment! I don't really know the ins and outs of publishing costs for print v e-book. I don't mind at all paying the same price for a e-book that I would pay for a print version, but I don't think I should have to pay more. Kinda feels like a punishment. :)

Sarai said...

Kim my prayers are with you and your family during this time.

On a side note I live in KC if you and your mom ever need a break I know some pretty sweet places...

Also I grew up in the 80's and I have to tell ya a lot of things are missing? Like i just realized Scooby doo was written by people smokin' and doing drug HOLY CRAP but yet I loved that show and what about the Smurfs really?

OMG BUt I do remember the hawt guy in my elementary school checking out a book I loved and I thought we would get married I mean come on it was only his name and mine (like about 10 times) but still his was the only other name on the card LOL.

Katie Reus said...

Wow, I totally had a flash back to using those little cards! And don't even get me started on the metric system. I'm not a child of the 70's, but I wish we used it b/c it makes more sense....moving on. I'm really sorry to hear about your mom, but I'll keep her in my prayers.

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