THIS WEEK I WAS without my Kindle for three days because I left it in a friend’s car. The fact that I had it with me in her car may give you some idea of how attached I am to it. Maybe its enough to know that being without it was like being without, say, my crack pipe.

There was a time–about 18 months ago–when I didn’t have a Kindle. Whenever I finished a book, in common with nearly everyone else except the truly geeky, I went to a bookstore to buy another. There were limitations, because bookstores weren’t open 24/7, and no bookstore contained every book I wanted, so sometimes I had to order it and wait. And those limitations provided their own limitations on the amount of reading I could do.

Now of course those limits are gone. Setting aside the disdain with which Amazon is viewed by a lot of my thinking friends, I’m a good customer. When I finish a book at 1:30 in the morning, I press a couple of buttons and–lo and behold and voila–I have a new supply of crack… er…reading material. This has played merry hell with my credit card balance, and also with my ability just to put the dam’ Kindle down. I have no reason any more to ration my reading. I can read 24/7 if I want to. I’ll never run out of things to read.  Unless I lose my Kindle.

How does this affect me as a writer? Well, apparently our appetite for reading is more voracious than ever. We are all reading more, not less, than we were before the e-books revolution. This seems to bode well for me finding a receptive audience for my work when I’m a published novelist.  Also, e-readers can pick up material that is self-published on the web, so that if I don’t have a traditional publisher for my work I may find a virtual one.  That seems to bode well for me, too.

All of which should encourage me to write my novels and, in fact, being without my Kindle this week has meant that I have additional hours to devote to writing.

But here we run across the dichotomy: Owning and using a Kindle has meant that I’m contributing to the possibility that my own writing will find an eager market. But, owning and using a Kindle has meant that I’m devoting more hours to reading and fewer hours to my own writing, opening up the possibility that I won’t have work ready to publish any time soon.

Having lost it–even temporarily–has made me very uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that I doubted the wisdom of getting it back.  Fortunately my friend returned it today and so the decision was out of my hands.  It’s sitting on my nightstand as I write.

So far, I haven’t turned it on.

But the night is young.

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