Friday, September 10, 2010

Ahoy, Readers!

carnival_pride_from_Baltimore This year, the family vacation consisted of a week-long cruise. It was great, except for about seven hours when I felt a tad bit queasy (and by “tad bit” I mean I was in severe discomfort—I believe my quote was, “I wish I were dead.”).

During the cruise, I saw dozens and dozens of people reading books. All kinds. Saw a few Mockingjays, a few Stieg Larssons, Sandra Brown, James Patterson, and a host of other bestsellers.

But I only saw two e-readers.

Which completely surprised me. I’d expected to see a lot more. Ten. Fifteen. Even twenty wouldn’t have shocked me. But two?

Very interesting.

I don’t think you can draw any conclusions from my data, but anecdotally, I do think it’s interesting.

Personally, I’m not in any one “camp.” I like stories, and the delivery method doesn’t matter so much to me. Printed books are great, but I have no problem with e-books. In fact, e-readers have at least one, very neat, advantage (read on).

One day on deck, a guy started talking to me. He asked me what I did, and I told him. Turned out his friend next to us was reading on a Kindle (one of the two I spotted). After a few minutes of conversation, she purchased my book, right on the spot (Thanks!).

Chalk one up for e-readers.



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Wondering what the average age of the fellow cruisers was?

Sounds like a great trip!

Anonymous said...

Alan - I hope you had a wonderful cruise! Interesting informal data, too, that you got on how people read. Great marketing you did, too!!! : ). I need to go prowling around for unsuspecting readers ; ).

Ingrid King said...

Glad you had a great vacation (minus the miserable seven hours). That one on-the-spot sale is certainly an argument in favor of e-readers!

I'm still not sold on wanting one for myself, but I do think as authors, it's important that we make our books available on them. And I do think they're great for those of you with back lists - I see more and more authors publishing their out of print book as e-books. And as a reader, I also like this trend - I'm the kind of reader who, once I discover a new author I like, wants to read everything they ever wrote, and it's disappointing when some books are out of print.

Alan Orloff said...

Elizabeth - Actually, there didn't seem to be a majority of any age group. Kids, all the way to seniors, fairly equally represented.

Margot - Yeah, I was one for one!

Ingrid - I concur.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

That's a great story, Alan.

When I travel and see somone reading a book I'm interested in, I'll ask them if they're enjoying it. It's also a great way to open a conversation. You can't do that with a Kindle because you can't tell what they're reading. But I do like the idea of someone buying your book on the spot. Doesn't give them time to forget about it.

Alan Orloff said...

Sue Ann - Yeah, there's plenty of time to forget about my book AFTER they've read it.

Dorte H said...

I have no plans of bying a Kindle, but I have also begun warming towards them. It may be related to the fact that one of my own texts will be published in an e-anthology very soon :D