Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Farmer's Ebook?!

I never thought the day would come that I would own (and love) an e-reader. But a few days ago I was milling around Battenkill Books, chatting with Connie, and saw her new display of Kobo Readers. At first, I scowled. I adore books. I adore picking them up and dog-earing pages and writing notes and giving them away to friends. As someone who makes her own living with words, I buy a lot of books too. I feel it is an economy I want to keep robust, so if you ever visit this farmhouse you will see piles of books in every inch of spare space. They are in the larder, the bathroom, under the daybed, and on coffee tables. What I'm saying is, I love books. Real, paper and ink books.

So I'm scowling at this book gadget display (internally, if not externally at this point) and I'm surprised Connie is even selling them in the first place. I KNOW she shares my paper-book love. So I ask her what the deal is, and she explains something to me that blows my mind.

She explains that Kobo works with and encourages independent book stores. When someone buys a Kobo from her, either at the store or through the mail, it becomes a Battenkill Books Kobo. She gets a 10% cut of any book I download. That may not seem like a lot, but just like the Adsense links on this site, a few small clicks make a Big Difference. My purchases become not only additional reads for me, but supports a wonderful and spirited small town bookseller.

So I bought a Kobo Mini. It's the least expensive of the line, but a mighty tool. It took about ten minutes to link up to my iMac and get rolling. When I had my book account set up there were dozens of books I could download for free. I downloaded White Fang, Pride and Prejudice, and A Christmas Carol in about three minutes after turning it on. My first purchase: Barnheart. What a weird and delightful way to read your own stuff... A homesteader tapping through a digital copy of a book about chickens...

What I love about it is while it's still a gadget it looks and reads like a piece of paper. It isn't backlit, so you still need a reading lamp to see it at night). It works with Wifi, you can shop for new books in your living room on the Kobo, or download the newest NY Times and read the news over coffee. It also as silent as can be. No beeping or stupid pew pew pew sounds. I take it out in the woods when I'm stalking deer and will use it to read turning hunting season. College kids can download textbooks and read quietly in the library.

To those of you who are horrified, I understand. Take heart, as I am still a traditional book person. But I am also an author in the modern world. I think modern professional writers need to be open to changes in publishing, resourceful, and willing to change with the tides. There is a HUGE selection of books out there you can only buy and sell as digital reads. I myself want to publish some ebooks (Birchthorn, The Milk Pail Diaries, Etc), and I want to see what my traditional books like Made From Scratch and Barnheart look like on the digital page.

So you too can have it both ways. You can have a fancy Book Gin like me and still support your local stores. Ask your indie bookseller if they have a Kobo program and if you can affiliate with them. Or, call up Connie or email her at Battenkill for your own Kobo and if you do you, tell her you want to be entered in the CAF/STOREY GIVEAWAY.Anyone who buys a Kobo from Battenkill will get a personal thank you card from me and Gibson (signed by us both). If you order a signed copy of Made From Scratch or Barnheart or Chick Days you will also be entered to win. Storey has donated $250 bucks in Homesteading Gardening books (Seriously, this could be your Christmas Gift List!).

So consider this new and impressive way to support both authors and publishers. It will probably be the only place to read the full story of Birchthorn when it is done. (If you want to know what BT even is...) and if you prefer to support a store closer to home, let them know about this program and direct them to BK books website. Whatever helps indie bookstores I want to be a part of!

27 Comments:

Blogger Geeka said...

I love the paper books as well, but there are 2 other advantages to the ebook:
1. The physical space. If you move, the ebooks are so. much. lighter. Also you start to have more room in your house.
2. The search function. Looking for a quote, recipe or pattern? Search.

It's a weird thing, but not much different than going from a CD player to an ipod.

(I actually use an ipad for mine. I had a kindle, but the blinking while turning a page was distracting for me.)

November 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

This is fascinating. I've been looking into getting a kindle lately, but i'd much rather get an ereader that supports a local bookstore. The thing is, as much as I'd be happy to support Battenkill, I'd like to support one of *my* local bookstores (in southwest PA). the kobo website doesn't seem to have a way to look up what *local* bookstores you can buy one at. They list a few big box stores (best buy, target, etc.) But they certainly dont need 10% of my book purchases. Any ideas?

November 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger Becca at Rabbit Moon Farm said...

Dagnabbit! I literally just bought a new Nook. Wish i'd seen the kobo before if only because it helps indie bookstores. Ah well. I bought the nook primarily for magazines so i can keep them forever without feeling guilty about cluttering the house with something considered disposable.

November 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Rebecca, I think you need to ask your local store? They can set up an account through nook online and share it with any e-reader customers to share the wealth.

Becca:You can still support local stores through a Nook! Kobo, the site, sells books as well. You can go to battenkill books and buy ebooks for your nook through them! Your local store may offer the same for e-readers, just ask them!

November 11, 2012 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger Brenda London said...

I'll have to look into the Kobo. We have Kindles here. Like you we love books, have pretty much given up on having some order to the piles and baskets full but honestly, there are many we do not plan on reading again or passing along and they are taking up space, space better served for canned foods, whatever. I came to the conclusion that using the e-reader is another way to cut down on "stuff". I have used the libraries up here by ordering via the inter-library system, problem being that I have received calls from the local library employees and volunteers that my books are in and arrive to find they are gone. This has happened several times now so I am reluctant to go that route. (and the library employees are mystified as to how they were lent out and one time even stating they did NOT call me and did NOT leave that message in our voice mail! There is intrigue at the Greenwich Library.) Anyway, the kindles serve us well but I like that idea of supporting local shops so we will look into the Kobo.

November 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I totally understand. I have always loved the feel of a real book in my hand. My NOOK Color made me an ebook convert though. I can carry 100 books around with me all the time.......magazines are great, and having kids' chapter books for my kids, and picture books for my grandkids is wonderful!
Yes and SO many classic books are free now. LOVE IT

November 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM  
OpenID notherethenwhere said...

As a die hard physical book lover with a whole lot of books, it's been a bit of a surprise that recently I've been considering an ebook reader. For me, it's mostly about space - I'd love to have digital copies of books I may not read again, or that just aren't worth the physical space on the shelves. I also like the large number of freebies available. That said, I am a bit concerned about prices. I live near an awesome used bookstore that supports a charity, and most of the books I can get there still cost a good bit less than the digital versions. This works well for my budget , so I'm trying to figure out whether it's worthwhile for me in the long run.

November 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger KiwiGirl said...

Looked into e-readers here, but I much prefer the feel and smell of physical books (and they don't ever need charging/batteries etc). PS - how's the horse barn coming along?

November 11, 2012 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Marci said...

I LOVE paper books too. I use my iPad and a Kindle app to read while on my excercise bike. I can make the print larger and easier to read while I am in motion. :) Did your clip arrive?

November 11, 2012 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger PansWife said...

Love my Kindle and I think it's great that indie bookstores can now share in the action. There are some great freebies for the down-loading, tons of cheap specials and I can take books out of my library while I'm sitting at home. It hasn't replaced my beautiful books of art, photography, or garden porn, but I already donated all my paperbacks to a local SPCA yard sale. I'm also happy for authors who for years had to deal with the used book market. They are entitled to make some money every time someone buys their book.

November 11, 2012 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Definitely an ideal i'll keep in mind! I'm a real book lover too. I love the pages, the unique covers, the fonts.. the heft. You name it. And being in my late 40s and all.. am a bit old fashioned. But i'll give this a lot of thought. I also adore independent bookstores! :)

November 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

Dang! I'd have gotten a Kobo too. Received a Nook for my b-day, and unwillingly enjoy it. Still, I won't part with my 'real' books---if/when the lights go out, they'll be a far better resource than e-books. (but you ca't play Angry Birds on a 'real' book)

November 11, 2012 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

I love having an e-reader. I still order actual books when it is something like a cookbook or a how to book. I like buying novels as e-books. I like that even if I don't have my e-reader with me, if I'm out somewhere and find I have time on my hands, I can pick up where I left off on my Kobo on my Kobo app on my I-Phone.

P.S. I couldn't find Barnheart on Kobo :(

November 11, 2012 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Patterson said...

My e-reader (a Nook) gets heavy use because it is so very light to carry with me and I can store so many books on it. I still love real paper books but I have over 4,000 books at home and they take up a lot of space. I dislike the fact that I can only 'loan' an e-book once from my e-reader and only for 2 weeks. Many of my hard copy books have been quite well traveled and much appreciated by my friends. Also, many books are not digitized or I would have to buy a second time. Also, my husband and my son have significant overlap in book interests and I don't want to buy a book in e-format leaving them unable to read it without using my e-reader for protracted times. On the plus side, I can download from project Gutenberg to both my computer and my e-reader. If I purchase an e-book from Baen books I am able to download it onto my computer and then onto my e-reader. I make sure to back up my purchased books onto the portable hard drive.

November 11, 2012 at 6:21 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Mac said...

I haven't gotten 'brave' enough to make the switch .. cuz I LOVE reading in the bathtub.

November 11, 2012 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger maddie said...

woo! Go Kobo! We sell them at Chapters. I didn't realize they were coming out with new ones and I'd love to trade for mini, but I have the original Kobo Touch.

November 11, 2012 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

I got a Kindle Fire from my husband. I didn't think I wanted one, and know I don't know how I ever lived without it (typing this comment on it even now). I do still prefer books sometimes. They need not be mutually exclusive, I'm finding.

November 11, 2012 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...

i fought my husband tooth and nail when he wanted to get me an e reader. i love paper books in my soul and the house is full of them. he did not listen and got me one anyways and i have to admit, i really like it. mostly because i can get hard to find or out of print stuff for it (i have a sony e reader so you can get publications from anywhere on the web) and our public library now carries e books! now i can download books from the library and not have to worry about damaging them (yes, i love books to death, and have damaged my share of library books and have had to replace them...)! i still prefer paper though....

November 11, 2012 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

I resisted getting an ereader too but now I'm hooked. The big thing for me was that because I only go to town (45 min away) once a week, I live in fear of finishing a book and not having another one to read for days until I go to town again. I like the idea of the one you got but I have a kindle (one of the early ones so also no backlight)because I wanted access to Amazon's library. I love being able to finish a book at 10PM and start another one at 10:05PM. Funny though, I still am drawn to the book section of any store I am in. There really is nothing like a real book and of course, some you just have to own on paper.

November 11, 2012 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger Greentwinsmummy said...

I admit to being in the dark ages with gadgets. I think I am funky if I put a cd into my laptop to play rather than the small portable radio/cd/ cassette tape(ha do they still MAKE?cassette tapes???!) player lol lol!!

As I work 90% on my own I wonder if I would like an Ipod as the gardener at the manor has one that he plays talking books on, I love the idea of that whilst I am working but thats as far as the thought as got with me......

Kindles etc I really just dont 'get'. I have learnt in my life never to say 'never'! but I think the sight of me sat holding a kindle would be one of the most surprising ones I could see.

GTM x x x

November 12, 2012 at 2:29 AM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...

Since my iPod goes with me everywhere, I download books to it. When a real eReader is in the budget, I'll have to look into the Kobo.

November 12, 2012 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I work at an indie bookstore in Virginia, and we also just started carrying the Kobo and I LOVE it. Customers are so happy to have an alternative to the Kindle.

And for those who have Nooks- you can still use Kobo e-books on the Nook, so you can still support your local bookstore. Just visit their website and buy the e-books from there.

November 12, 2012 at 6:49 AM  
Blogger ican said...

No ebook for me, and as an English teacher, I've got loads of "real" books between home and my classroom...it's my preferred method of decorating.

Of course, I'm not on Facebook either! *gasp* ;-)

November 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Matt_Middleton said...

That's great to hear about Kobos! I'm a fan of both types - I prefer physical books when they're ones that have a lot of photos (I've got an older B&W Kobo that doesn't show images very well), but ebooks are great for novels. I've actually bought more books in the past couple of years because of my kobo!

November 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Karen Fulford said...

"To those of you who are horrified, I understand." Really? LOL I love "real" books too, but as a voracious reader, I love having access to novels, short stories, and even old magazines that aren't available in paper format, not to mention all the free stuff out there and the whole "save a tree" thing. I don't see anything wrong in taking advantage of technology. Getting off the consumer merry-go-round is one thing, buying something useful is another. A free download you might find useful (and get a chuckle from) is the Boy Scouts Handbook.

November 12, 2012 at 6:43 PM  
OpenID T. Crockett said...

I can see all sorts of benefits to ebooks, but I'm leary of adding another computer-like item to my life. For all the space saving and tree conserving, there's still the downside of all the rare metals that have to be extracted from the earth to make these things. And then there's the difficulty of safely disposing of them in a way that doesn't cause further pollution when they break down. It's something we hear very little about, but is worth considering.

November 12, 2012 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

I wish I had known about this before I bought my kindle. I would much rather support local than Amazon.

November 23, 2012 at 7:59 PM  

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