anything for the story

when S&S announced its first official digital ARC, i thought: this is it. time to finally get an e-reader. because as much as i love reading on my iTouch, digiARCs are now squarely in protected PDF territory. and until/unless Adobe takes pity on us and puts out an app, there is no way (that i’ve been able to figure out) to read a protected PDF on my iTouch. and if S&S are getting on the bandwagon, i’m betting that the last publisher hold-outs will soon follow.

so, being a bookseller and not having a lot of extra cash lying around and also just because why not, i asked my boss if maybe the store would be interested in subsidizing, or at the least contributing to, an e-reader.

because she’s a nice person, she didn’t laugh at me. but, after thinking about it for a few minutes, she said: “to be honest, i’m just not sure why it’s important.”

to which i had lots of answers: it’s the wave of the future! digiARCs cut costs and are green (maybe)! they allow for equitable distribution among booksellers, instead of the special few! less ARCs to fall off my bookshelf and onto my head! they will save publishing! and so on and so forth. but a customer walked in, and then it was really busy, and then it was the next day and she was off, and then it was my day off, and i never got a chance to explain why i thought it was so important.

i did, however, get lots of chances to think about what my answer should be, what reasoning would be so convincing that right then and there she’d whip put the company credit card and give me carte blanche. and the more i thought about it, i realized that my true motivation was not about saving publishing, or the environment, or convenience, or even mere gadget lust.

deep down, the true heart of it is: anything for the story — any story. if a story is in a paper ARC that will fall on my head, ok. if it’s in an out-of-print collection that i will have to stalk on Abe, fine. if it’s streaming on Twitter under a hash tag, or in notes on facebook, or on an author’s blog, or being published on clouds using advanced projection technology, or in a protected PDF only readable on an official e-reader — whatever it takes, i will find a way to read it. because not reading it, not knowing whether it’s good or bad, not being able to talk about it with others, is not an option.

my name is jenn, and i’m a narrative junkie. if it’s got words, i need to read them. anything — ANYTHING — for the story.

anything for the story

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