Monday, December 6, 2010

It’s Hip to be Square?

No this is not one of my Retro Friday blogs posted early. I actually want to talk a little more about e-readers. But first some author news. Good friend Ally Condie’s book, Matched, came out November 30th. I had a chance to read an early ARC, and let me just say that if you liked The Giver, you will love Matched. It had that same Utopian/Dystopian feel, that same enchanting writing, and a nice dash of romance. No vampires or arenas of deadly teens, but a great read! Good write-up in Entertainment Weekly.

Also, if you didn’t see this article, looks like the Maze Runner movie is moving forward quickly with a well known director. My understanding is that the part about James doing the screen play adaptation is not accurate. But still totally cool.

Now where were we before I started drooling over the success of my friends? Oh, right e-readers. Interesting feedback on my last e-reader post. My post actually goes to two different blogs, Goodreads, Amazon, and Facebook. So I get quite a bit of feedback.

I would have expected my younger readers to be on the cutting edge of e-books. After all, they were the ones raised reading newspapers, magazines, articles, etc, on-line. Instead, it looks like the people buying most of the e-books are in their thirties or older. Maybe because they are the ones who have the $? But nearly everyone wants an e-reader.

What this got me wondering is whether e-books could possibly make reading cool again. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved reading. And I know a lot of you have too. But even in books, the kids who read a lot are usually positioned as the nerds. I mean think about it. Hermione Granger. Big reader. Big nerd. In Stephen King’s novel, IT, the kid who spends all of his time in the library is the fat kid no one likes. Of course they also tend to be the smart kids—but nerdy none-the-less. The nerdy kids stay at home and read books while the cool kids have adventures.

Yeah, okay, I didn’t look that nerdy (I hope) when I was in school. But I was one of those kids who spent a lot of time in the library. For one thing, it is VERY tough to get beat up in the library. The librarians were pretty strict about screwing around. And I’m not sure the bullies even knew it was there. As a side benefit, I discovered that the library was the prefect place to cut class. No one ever came up to a kid reading a book and asked him why he wasn’t in biology.

Over the last few years, several things have happened to make reading a little cooler. Harry Potter was so huge that even the kids who thought reading was lame got sucked in. Then Twilight did the same thing. Girls that wouldn’t be caught dead with a book had to be a part of the “cool” crowd who debated Edward and Jacob. Shoot, even Hermione—the ultimate bookworm—ended up looking like this.

If that wasn’t enough, books have now gone high-tech. Think about it. Cool kids have MP3 players right? Cool kids have smart phones, and skateboards, and videogames. Could it be that cool kids are going to be buying e-readers? And if so, could reading take its place alongside snowboarding, mountain biking, and fighting Voldemort?

I’m not sure if it will really happen. And if it does, will it last? Do we lifelong readers even want it to? As an author, I’d love reading to become as popular as going to movies. I’d love the release of the next big novel to get as much exposure as, say, the Super Bowl.

But as a reader, I don’t know how I feel about that. I have to admit there’s something a little smug about knowing so many people have no idea how good Hunger Games is, or that “LES MISÉRABLES” was a book before it was a musical. I mean, come on, isn’t there a part of you that gloats just a little when you say, “It wasn’t as good as the book.”

Maybe we should just keep the secret between you and me that:


David Glenn said...

I like reading. It's a good thing to do.

T.B. said...

Hi J. Scott Savage!

I would love reading to become something as popular as The Super Bowl, but at the moment sadly it is not. However, I do think that it is possible.

I actually love to read very much, and would like to share with you my blog, From The Bookshelf of T.B. You can reach it at, or click my name from this comment. It is a blog that reviews books for young readers, such as myself, as I am in eighth grade. Please check it out!

J. Scott Savage I have also reviewed your book Far World: Water Keep. I would love it if you could check it out and let me know any feedback or comments. I also plan to review Far World: Land Keep soon also.

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf...
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!