Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Stephen King waves his Amazon Kindle 2!

For the past couple of weeks, I've been following the travails of the Boston Globe. Will it survive? Will the New York Times Co. close its doors? (It looks as though it will survive for the time being. According to the Boston Globe's web site, the last of the Boston Globe's unions has finally reached an agreement with the New York Times Co., and all that's left is for the union's membership to ratify the agreement.)

Anyway, while reading every scrap of information I could about the Boston Globe's troubles and those of other newspapers across the country, I stumbled across a Time magazine article called "Will Amazon's Kindle Rescue Newspapers?"

The article talks about a Kindle with a larger screen that's supposed to serve up newspapers (and textbooks) more easily for readers and postulates that this, finally, could be the answer for those of us who -- what? Wanted our broadsheets but didn't enjoy refolding them when we were finished with them? Or didn't want to deal with the overseas-based home delivery staff when subscription issues went awry? Or didn't want to deal with vending machines to buy a copy? Well, I'm sure the larger-screen Kindle will rescue the concept of reading newspapers for some segment of the reading population (I'll get back to you as soon as I figure out which segment of the reading population that is, exactly).

But what really jumped out at me about that Time magazine article was the picture of Stephen King holding a pink Kindle aloft with the biggest grin on his face that I've seen outside a candy shop or toy store. King, who has published a book directly to a Kindle, is enjoying the technology. If you have any doubt about his motive in working directly with Amazon -- if you suspect that he wanted to stick a finger into the eye of mainstream publishers just because he could -- then one look at that photo will tell you differently. King loves the Kindle. He loves being a part of the publishing revolution. He'd love being a part of anything that involves books, because Stephen King loves books.

King isn't holding a copy of The Stand in his fist and saying, "I wrote this great book. I am great. My books are great, and they're not changing. Let's stay where we are and talk about how great everything is" -- as the rest of the civilized world explores new publishing possibilities. King is at the forefront of the publishing revolution, and he doesn't have to be there. He wants to be there, and I respect him for it. And, yes, I love him for it, because I feel as though he's holding my hand through what could be a challenging and frightening ride to an unknown plane of publishing existence.

What could feel threatening to a book publicist (and to a news junkie) feels a lot less threatening, somehow, when I see Stephen King's gleeful expression and can feel his enthusiasm, and his eagerness, for what lies ahead jumping off the page. I can feel King's delight, and I can -- yes, I can -- share it.

I'll have the Boston Globe to read tomorrow, and I'll have hard copies of books to read next week. And the month after that? Or the following year? Who knows? Maybe I'll have a Kindle 2. Maybe I'll have an iPhone with that Kindle application installed on it. Or maybe I'll have a Sony eReader or that thing Barnes and Noble seems to be working or, or maybe I'll have an ebook (and enewspaper) reader that I haven't even heard of yet.

As long as I have reading materials, I'll be good. I can read them, and I can promote them ... whatever they are.

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