I’m back at it!

Work, that is.  I started work on March 5, teaching English as a Second Language in the Adult Education Program here in town. I taught there the first year  was living full time here in Deming. It’s only part-time, but that’s plenty for me now. Frankly, I was tired of sitting at home and was more than ready to go back.

We had a week of registration and orientation for new students, follwed by a week of spring break, so yesterday was my first actual day of teaching. Of course, I had to change my plan for the day before class even started, and I had to change it again during class. We had new students come in and want to join the class, and they had to complete the registration process while I was trying to work with the others. In other words, it was a typical first day of classes in this program.

I am normally a control freak and a perfectionist. In that way, I am not a good person for this job or this program. I am trying to be much more laid back about it all this time, though. I know I have a good plan for the 8-week term, but I also know nothing will turn out quite the way I think it will.  I have theoretically trusted the process for a long time now, but in reality I still stressed about it a lot. This time feels different. Of course I have only had one day back, but it was a crazy day and I came out of it pretty happy.

Anyway, I am glad to be back working. I hope I can say the same in 8 weeks when the term ends.

 

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January is over?

How did that happen?

I have been busy reading, writing and looking for a job. I am happy to report that I read 8 books this month (More on them tomorrow, I hope!), added almost 16,000 words to the book, and found a job that starts in March. So I have been busy…

eBooks vs. paper

I read an article on the Guardian today that has me thinking. The title is “How eBooks lost their shine: ‘Kindles now look clunky and unhip’. Unfortunately, I am not sure what I think about it.

The author talks about the resurgence of physical books, stating

figures published today by the Publishing Association show that sales of consumer ebooks have dropped by 17%, while sales of physical books are up 8%.

Overall sales of books in Britain have risen, she goes on to state, which is the good news in all of this as far as I am concerned. The format of the books isn’t as important as the reading of books.

What irritated me was this:

Once upon a time, people bought books because they liked reading. Now they buy books because they like books. “All these people are really thinking about how the books are – not just what’s in them, but what they’re like as objects,” says Jennifer Cownie, who runs the beautiful Bookifer website and the Cownifer Instagram, which match books to decorative papers, and who bought a Kindle but hated it.

In general, this seems like a throwback to the days of people having libraries or bookshelves filled with books that were there to impress, not to be read. That doesn’t seem like progress to me. Books are for reading, not as a kind of art. It shouldn’t matter what the cover looks like; the story is what matters.

And I have to wonder why she didn’t like her Kindle. Was it because it was unhip or because reading on it was not pleasurable? Did she give the Kindle a chance or just abandon it right away?

Buried way down in the article was a very important statement:

The figures from the Publishing Association should be treated with some caution. They exclude self-published books, a sizable market for ebooks. And, according to Dan Franklin, a digital publishing specialist, more than 50% of genre sales are on ebook. Digital book sales overall are up 6%.

Most of the authors I read are self-published. Part of that is because there are some awesome self-published authors out there, and part is because traditional publishers often price their ebooks at or higher than the paperback editions.

There is another side to this discussion, too, and that is privacy. My husband sent me a link to a First Monday article by Clifford Lynch on reader privacy in the age of reader analytics. I will admit to not having read the whole article, but his closing thoughts include these:

At some point it’s worth asking what readers of various kinds will actually tolerate before the creepiness factor becomes overwhelming and repulsive. Suppose, as a thought experiment, that Amazon said it would share every purchaser’s e-mail address with the author of books they purchased? (Pick your own opt-in or opt-out boundary conditions). How about sharing this information with the book’s publisher? Would a discount on the purchase price or some other reward make most readers more comfortable? What conditions (enforceable or not) might be imposed on the author or the publisher regarding reuse of this purchaser information, and would this make any difference to readers’ comfort levels? What choices would customers make in such situations?

I probably don’t worry as much about privacy as I should. Do I need to worry about Amazon or Kobo selling my data? Would I be better off switching to paper books? Amazon could still sell my data if I buy my books from them.  I don’t see much way around it: we have very limited privacy anymore.

My husband loves to buy and read physical books. He only reads used books that he buys or gets from lending libraries without any paper trail. He is very concerned about privacy and, although he has had two ereaders, never got into ebooks. His approach is a fine one, I think. But it doesn’t work for me.

I love my ereaders. I love my ebooks. I buy mostly genre fiction by independent authors, so ebooks are right for me. What about you?

 

OK, I’m sad again!

On January 18 I received an email from Kobo stating that my replacement ereader would be shipped. So today, when I still hadn’t heard anything more, I called to inquire. I got through to someone and, after a lot of back and forth, she was able to get me a UPS tracking number. Apparently it was shipped on 1/20. That was way to long for me not to have received it. When I tried tracking the package on UPS, their site tells me that a shipping label was created on 1/19 and when it arrives at their facility they will update the tracking information. So I started a text chat with Kobo. The woman was very nice and referred my problem to the “device replacement department.” So within 24-48 business hours I should hear something back from them. Maybe.

I still prefer Kobo ereaders to Kindle, but their customer service is bad. The people I have dealt with have been nice, but they haven’t been able to solve my problem in over 3 weeks! It’s crazy.