Since we’re discussing all things tech this month with a review of Prayer in the Digital Age, let’s take some time to talk about e-books versus real books, and Catholic publishing inroads there.
At our house, we have a love/hate relationship with e-books and e-book readers. Our family definitely prefers physical books, but I have surprised myself at how much I enjoy having the ability to read various classics on the go, like my favorites Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope. And I have caught several children (who shall remain nameless) staying up far past bedtime reading books on one of our family devices that have a Kindle “App.”
But since we are decidedly “real book” family, there’s a fight is brewing over the release of the newest Ranger’s Apprentice book, out in just a few days. We have four strong readers (including me) with interest in the 10th in this excellent adventure series, so many months ago I pre-ordered both a hardback and a Kindle version. The Kindle version will work on, if I’ve counted correctly, 4 different devices at our house, not counting computers. That should be plenty of copies of the book for us to share and all read at the same time, rather than tussle over one hardback copy, which is what happened when Ranger’s Apprentice #9 came out last year.
But at the moment, the younger ones here are spending an inordinate time defending why they should get the hardback first–I’m the youngest, I’m the oldest, I’m the most interested in Ranger’s Apprentice, I’m the cutest, etc. No one is interested or has “reserved” reading it on a device. I don’t mind reading it electronically at all, but I think I might have to reserve the hardback for me, and hand out various electronic devices on that day. I hope to have this all resolved and worked out by the time the next favorite series in our house, the third in the terrific Penderwicks series, comes out in May.
But I didn’t mean to write just about resolving family reading conflicts at our house (though advice is heartily welcome!)
I really meant to write about the surge I’ve noticed lately in Catholic books available for the Kindle.
Last fall, when I reviewed How to Get to “I Do”, author Amy Bonaccorso shared with me how that book was one of the first publisher Servant Press had offered in that format. At the time I thought, “cool!” but now that Kindle and e-readers have become more common, I’m seeing new Kindle books that interest me every day.
A few days ago on Twitter, Our Sunday Visitor tweeted a link of all the OSV books available on Kindle. Not a huge number of books, but it’s one of the only publishers to have a page listing Kindle books. When I went searching for other books that I’ve seen available on Kindle, a search of many publishers found “no results” when I searched for Kindle, even though I know the publisher has books available on Kindle. Note to Catholic publishers: hey, if you have Kindle books, put a page on your website alerting readers!
I’ve downloaded three recent Catholic books for Kindle, all from seeing them promoted on Facebook and with special, lower Kindle pricing. I really like the look and feel of these books; they are well-produced for the Kindle and easy to read and navigate.
First was Search for the Madonna, a historical mystery set in the Depression era, published by the small Catholic publisher Behold Publications. Some families will be familiar with Behold because they originated the Little Flowers/Blue Knights program, similar to a Catholic scouting program.
Behold Publications has also put quite a few books up on Kindle in recent days, so I snagged The Iron Spy since we have not yet read that book. I love all the Glory of America series for younger readers, and many are available for Kindle now.
Finally, just a few days ago I saw on Facebook that Bethlehem Books has a free Kindle giveaway detailed on their Facebook page. This excellent publisher of new and classic historical fiction has a great selection of books available for Kindle, though of course I wish it were greater (hey, why not Presenting Miss Jane Austen on Kindle yet?. The new-to-me Bethlehem book I decided to try was Downright Dencey. Bethlehem Books are known for high-quality, nice feel books, and this one reads well on the Kindle.
Have you tried a Catholic book for the Kindle or other e-reader, such as a Nook? What do you think of e-reading versus “real reading?” Are you a publisher and want to share your Kindle offerings? Share away in the comments.
UPDATE: Here is an interesting and much more comprehensive article by NCR writer Daria Sockey about “Catholic Publishing at the Crossroads,” addressing how some Catholic publishers are using the new technology.
UPDATE: Our children successfully navigated the Kindle/real book issue with the Ranger’s Apprentice book. The Kindle version “arrived” before the paper book, and those who really wanted to read the story did so that way (with forced breaks for meals and a very enjoyable time attending the Chrism Mass in our diocese). Later in the day, when the real book arrived, there was only one child left to read it. I have to wait until after my next deadline to read it, in any version.