I own a Kindle. At first, during the infatuation phase, I figured I was going to become Joe New School, leave printed books behind forever and buy everything on my new device.
Then, I thought: What about the handful of indie bookstores I love and purport to regularly support? True, they're probably doomed in the long run as e-books grab radically more market share in book publishing with each passing year, but I'm damned if I'm going to watch these good folks watch their dreams dissolve on my watch.
After much deliberating, here's what I've decided to do with my book-buying money:
— My Kindle will be used to purchase exclusive and specially discounted e-books. One of the great pleasures of exploring the e-book publishing world has been finding self-published e-gems in the cyber-bargain bins (from free to 99 cents to $2.99) of the Kindle Store or in Smashwords. I write mystery stories, and there are some good thriller, suspense and traditional mystery tales there, many of which have gone through story editing, copy editing and proofreading that appears to be as stringent as that endured by Big Six fare. Not only do I get entertaining stories (well, sometimes; sometimes they suck), but I learn a lot about what works and what doesn't, and I don't blow my paychecks in the process.
— I will buy and order new and still-in-print older, traditionally published fare through my favorite local indie bookstores. I will suck it up and pay full price, even when it's more than double the Kindle price, and absorb the loss on principle. Part of it is pure altruism; part of it is that I want these folks in my corner when my time to roll out my first novel arrives. Part of it is that I still love printed books. And part of it is that I just plain like these folks.
— I will order the out-of-print books I want, used and usually cheap, on Amazon.com.
— I won't spend any more money in Borders, Barnes & Noble or any other corporate chain store. It's not that I have anything against them; it's that just that I don't have anything for them. Particularly any more money, after I spend it elsewhere first.
So, that's the balance I've stumbled upon.
Has anybody else scuffled with this?
Jim Thomsen is a news editor at the Kitsap Sun in Bremerton, Wash. He also is a partner in Proof Positive, a manuscript-editing and media-services business, and maintains Reading Kitsap, a blog about the local literary scene. In addition, he is an aspiring mystery author and member of the Mystery Writers Of America. He can be reached at desolationisland ... or found, almost 24/7, on Facebook.