Last weekend I spent Saturday afternoon at the public library. Big deal, you say. It’s not like you just spotted a new comet. Lots of people go to the library, every day of the week.
You’re right, of course, but last Saturday, unlike most days with just a smattering of people, there was a crowd, which was a particularly nice thing to see.
Along with a lot of other local authors, I helped fill the lobby of the Orion Township Public Library. We were there with our wares, each of us hoping to sell a few printed copies of our individual creations to holiday shoppers.
I got there about noon to set things up and, although the event didn’t officially begin until 1:00 p.m., we didn’t turn aside anyone who showed up early and interested.
I managed to sell eight books in those three hours.
It doesn’t sound like many, I know … until I relate it to the zero books I sold at a local bookstore earlier this year (there weren’t even eight patrons that day). Of course, that other book-signing was during one of the biggest snowstorms we’ve had in decades.
The weather cooperated nicely this time, and the library (at least out where all the authors were) was crowded.
Digital Reading Growing
Nearly everyone who came by asked if my books were available as eBooks, too. They are, of course (but they’re hard to sign).
For me, all the comments I heard about electronic books that day highlighted something I read recently. Children’s e-reading habits continue to grow, with two-thirds of children 13-and-under now reading digital books; and 92 percent of those kids do so at least once a week.
If you do a little of the math, that’s good for authors.
It translates into a potential eBook consumer base of 36 million kids, and nearly half of them already read digitally every day.
Does this mean children are reading less because of e-books?
Not at all. I regard it more as a change in reading habits. They’re just adding new media to the mix, and someday soon (likely before all us old codgers realize it) those kids are going to be adults, with multiple reading venue choices.
They can choose to read print, or they can chose to read on an electronic device. If my own grandchildren are any example, the move to digital reading is well under way.
My granddaughter (the same one for whom I just purchased a printed book) does all of her homework on an iPad … and no, she’s not looking up answers.
Rather than dozens of books, the kids in her school are all required to have an iPad. She reads her textbooks digitally, answers questions online about her homework assignment, then turns it in electronically when it’s done.
It’s certainly different from when I was a kid.
But I don’t think it’s the death of books.
Far from it. I see it as an expansion of reading. There are still plenty of printed books (and people who enjoy them), but the opportunities for reading have grown exponentially in recent years because of digital readers.
As an avid reader myself, and as an author, I think that’s a very good thing.
A Good Turnout
The turnout at the library last week was encouraging. Lots of kids were there, and scads of adults came, too. People were buying books. The art of reading is obviously alive and well.
For authors, this kind of event is all about getting the word out for our books and, I have to admit, selling some books is nice … but personally, I had the most fun talking to patrons and a few of the other authors.
One of the other fine artists present was indeed an artist. Matt Faulkner, the renowned children’s book illustrator was there, delighting children and parents alike with his quick caricatures of the people who stood around his table.
After talking to her about it, I bought the book “The Colored Car” from author Jean Alicia Elster, who sat two chairs down from me on the left. I’m looking forward to reading it.
I also bought the book Dream Girl from author S.J. Lomis who sat beside me. While it wasn’t something I’d pick up for myself, it looks like a fine young adult title to give to my granddaughter … and I love encouraging her to read.
Being at the book signing Saturday didn’t make me a lot of money, and it didn’t make me famous enough for the eleven o’clock news … but it did make me rich.
I know, you’re looking at that and saying … but you just said you didn’t make a lot of money, so how can you turn around and at the end of the same sentence say it made you rich?
Depends on how you define rich, I suppose.
If you’re all about the money, I didn’t really make any.
If you’re into friends and meaningful acquaintances, I came away with new ones, on which you cannot put a price. While the former is nice, I’ll take the latter any day.
It was like getting my Christmas presents early. People are still reading and, to me, that’s joyous all by itself. It’s the perfect reason to give a book as a gift. It encourages reading, and I think that’s something we should all be doing.
Happy Holidays, Gentle Readers!
My books have garnered some terrific reviews. I may be biased (of course I am) but I think they would make terrific holiday gifts.
If you could’t make it to the Author’s Fair last week, you can at least look at the books I have available using the Amazon link above. You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.
Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.