Finding Good Books

Does the rise of e change the experience of discovering new books? I remember many, many years ago sifting through my dad’s paperback books in the basement and discovering Dhalgren. What a fantastic book! And there was something magical about finding this masterpiece, tattered and with that old paperback stank on it lying around the basement. Does some of that experience disappear when you find a book in e?

I’ve discovered cool books in e. Just started reading Horns of Power, a collection of essays about the horned god that I stumbled upon on Amazon. Seems interesting. But the experience of finding that book’s landing page on the Amazon store site lacked that initiatory joy that comes with sometimes literally stumbling on a book stacked on a friend’s floor or that just happens to drift under your fingers at the public library.

At the same time, where would I be as an author without e? My current novel, Catharsis, exists in both print and e. Hundreds of readers have the book in e, and only a fraction of that have it in print. I, like many other budding authors, haven’t been placed on those crowded library shelves or found my way into bookstores to wind up on the floors of anyone’s friends. Does that make my book any less valid because it was discovered in e? Do the readers who are now becoming my fans lose some of the experience of discovering a new artist when all they have to do is download his or her work to a device?

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