Into the digital age

The timing was perfect. Just as I started to clear out my library in earnest because I have resigned myself to the twilight of the book, I got an e-mail from a very nice woman at Amazon.

Amazon was planning a four-city billboard campaign for the Kindle, starting at the end of April. The gist of the billboard is that you can get your newspaper in a Kindle edition, and there is, of course, a picture of a Kindle.

The Kindle in the picture has a screen, of course, and on that screen is text. Not just any text, though, text from a science story about fish that I wrote for the Washington Post earlier this month. The e-mail was to ask permission to use my name.

Permission was readily granted, and there are now billboards in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, DC that have my name on them. It’s in very small print, but still.

And, although they don’t owe me anything for the use of my name (per my contract with the Post), they are sending me a Kindle, just to be nice.

I can’t help thinking all this is pretty groovy way to get launched into the digital age, and I will send a nice little jar of our homemade sea salt to the first person who sends me a photograph of one of those billboards.

13 people are having a conversation about “Into the digital age

  1. Congrats! Get a damn cover for it. I was lazy about getting one for mine, and the short trip from my hand to the kitchen counter cracked the screen. I loved my kindle! My ipad is like a brick in comparison to having a kindle when it comes to portability. What great timing for you!

  2. How lovely! Having an eReader hasn’t gotten me off paper books entirely, but it certainly helps, and they are perfect for travelling or just reading fat novels that would otherwise strain your biceps. Mine is an old Sony reader, and I was able to finish most of War and Peace on a single battery charge.

    Definitely get a good cover – it will make it feel more “bookish”, and save the screen from being cracked open on fishing tackle or something.

  3. I’m afraid I can’t accept congratulations as I didn’t do anything to deserve it. It was blind luck that they chose my story. Fun, blind luck.

    Thanks for the tip on getting the cover. I’ll make sure to do that.

    Meantime, keep an eye out! I’d really like to see a picture!

  4. The monkeys on the typewriters just kicked out a couple of stanzas of Shakespeare!

    As has been said, get a cover for your Kindle. I have the cover with the reading light — a brilliant invention! I love my Kindle. You would have to pry it from my cold, dead hands, and even then my corpse might make a reflexive grab. Now that I can get audio books on it, I am in hog heaven. I drive quite a bit for my work, so I always have an audio book in my car.

    Congrats on the billboards. I probably won’t see one, but if I do, I am snapping a picture!

  5. Congrats! Extremely cool, Tamar! I still have not broken down and gotten a Kindle, or Nook, etc., but the day is drawing inexorably closer. I disagree with you about the total demise of printed books. The printed book product we all know now in the mass market paperback, glued spine hard cover, etc. is probably going to go the way of the Polaroid Land camera. In fact, the sooner the better so far as I am concerned. There will always (Please, God!) be a market for the more expensive, yet finely made, printed cloth bound with a sewn spine and acid free paper that is printed by a master printer with actual type and a real press. I hope there will be room for artisans in every field that someone is compelled or called to master. There are lots of industrial agribusiness producers of hyper-processed, GMO, chemical and toxin tolerant frankenfood in the world. All we need to do is ask: Monsanto and Cargill control how much of the commodity marketplace? Yet, you and I (and quite a few other dedicated artisans) are determined to produce a vastly superior product that commands a premium price because it is not as abundant, transported, poisoned, poisonous, or produced in such vast quantities. Carbon is abundant and in fact may be a dangerous pollutant in our environment. Still, have you ever priced diamonds heavier than 1 ct.? Diamond is just carbon, but it is a rare, difficult to obtain, and very highly desired form of carbon that commands huge premiums in the jewelry marketplace. I know I am a fossil. I am whisling past the graveyard of history, etc. Still, I have hope for the world. I just don’t want to be the one who opens the box and cuts loose the kryptonite.

  6. Keep us posted on what you think about the kindle. I have been thinking about an eBook reader but never taken the plunge, as I can’t really see myself enjoying the feel and smell of a kindle. Everyone says you don’t have to just buy books on the kindle but still not sure… Also, please, please don’t write “I have resigned myself to the twilight of the book” as when I read that I can’t help but thinking such a world won’t be worth living, surely you mean the twilight of the book on paper.

    • Javier, I do mean the twilight of the book on paper. How our new digital age will affect publishing remains to be seen, and is a question much on the mind of all us professional writers.

  7. Your name plugged on a billboard AND a free Kindle? As if the plug wouldn’t have pleased you enough, they double the windfall. Congrats!

Converstion is closed.