August 27, 2013

Hats Off

75 years hats


My husband and I discovered no end of peculiar items while clearing the house where his parents lived for more than fifty years: an astonishing number of flashlights, almost all of them broken; an appliance designed exclusively for heating frozen pizzas; soap in the shape of George Washington from the American Bicentennial of 1976. One of the most unexpected things—and one of the few I kept for myself—was a 1951 magazine that celebrated the history of American ladies’ hats. (more…)

August 13, 2013

Ebooks and Real Books

“I don’t read ebooks,” my neighbor says. She’s a 60-something professional, educated and widely read—exactly the sort of reader who’d enjoy a sweet, funny, slightly provocative novel set in the Pacific Northwest. A novel, say, like the one I wrote. A novel that hits the street this month from a small independent publishing house that publishes only ebooks.

I know. A real book has paper pages. “I want it to feel like a book,” she insists. “One I can read in the bathtub.” After staring at a computer screen all day at the office, she doesn’t want to spend her free time reading a screen at home.

A Northwest book reviewer gave me the same answer. “I’m still mired in the Dark Ages, I guess,” she replied to my email inquiry. “Just can’t bear to spend any more screen time each day than I already do, so I stick to printed-on-paper books. I have become painfully aware this is depriving me of many excellent works, but the e-medium, unfortunately, is not one I can embrace.”

Since Amazon introduced the Kindle in 2007, the number of people who purchase ebooks has zoomed to somewhere around 25 percent of the book-buying population. Ebooks are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry—but you don’t have to be a math whiz to grasp that the majority of readers have yet to welcome the change. (more…)