The Kindle Conundrum
Updated: Mar 8
What are you reading Jane?
I am an active reader generally knocking off between 1-2 books a week. So, it’s common that people will ask me what I’m reading or if I can recommend a good book for vacation etc. I often times have to search my memory for the author's name or even the name of the book. Frequently, I need to look up that information on my phone's Kindle app. Today, in the world of Kindles and online readers, we rarely see the book cover for the authors' names. And my memory for that stuff has never been the greatest, or now, nearly as great as it once was, so I am often caught with a dumb look on my face or a loss of words.
I think about when I wrote my cancer memoir, Almost a Princess, a decade ago and how heart wrenching and sometimes joyful each essay was. Sharing the book and essays with others, particularly other cancer survivors meant so much to me. Being able to make a connection with somebody out there who I didn’t know nor would ever meet in person was a new experience and strongly intimate. It led to a number of speaking engagements and some book club invitations and I was able to feel those connections in person. But the best was when people wrote letters to me about how a certain essay made them feel - less isolated with the disease or with the side effects - or with having to say goodbye to people they loved. How much has that potential been diminished when the author and title are so buried?
On my Kindle, this information is not visible as I’m reading the story. When I pick up the Kindle book, and turn it on, it opens to the last page I read, so I don’t even see the cover and title at that time. If the book is really great, sometimes I’ll do a little research on it so that I can recommend it to my book club. That sometimes helps me imprint the information in my brain. But it’s not like the past, when the title and author was staring at you on the book cover and on the top of each page of the story.
I suspect that my problem is somewhat typical and that it has created one additional barrier for authors in their attempt to sell their stories and build a loyal base of readers, particularly after one brief look at the cover at the online store.
So what do we do about this to help authors out? I don't know what I'd do without my books!
fyi: Almost a Princess, My Life as a Two Time Cancer Survivor by Jane Loeb Rubin, is available on Amazon and other online stores. All royalties are donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.