I was delighted to discover that my nephews—6 and 7 year olds—are both fascinated by, and comfortable with my Kindle. My three brothers each have matched sets of kids: two girls, two boys, and another set of boys. The older kids were easy with technology, using computers fairly early. This last set were computer literate almost as soon as they were literate. Actually, the two developed hand-in-hand. Both can use their mom’s laptop and desktop as easily as most adults I know, and far more smoothly than either of their grand-parents. Both like to play with my Kindle, and the older of the two asks to read books on it often. I downloaded a mess of classics, including The Five Little Peppers, which was a favorite book of their great-grandmother’s, their Nana’s and mine. I really love that a fourth generation is exposed to one book, unifying us through the story.
Teens may be a completely different deal. I am getting ready to release a fantasy novel on Amazon—straight to Kindle like my short romance, My Boyfriend's Back. I love the idea of young people being able to download it, even though it will be marketed to both teens and adults. I’ll also make it available in print-on-demand… but so many physical-only readers are brick-and-mortar bookstore people, it may never find that audience. But it’s a story I’ve long-loved and it’s a genre that isn’t being grabbed up by agents or publishers, so I’m giving it a home it might not otherwise ever have.
I remain hopeful. My mother, who is a part of the senior set and really isn’t comfortable with technology, recently took a HUGE step. She read my short release on my Kindle. I showed her how to use it, pumped up the font so she could read without glasses, and walked away. I’ll be honest, I worried she would be negative about the experience. To my delight, she loved it. It made things easier for her—no bookmarks to lose, no glasses to sit on after returning from a bathroom break. She now wants to read more, and would like a device of her own. I’m pleased as punch.
So this current crop of teens may fall to the allure of a library in their hands. My fellow-Nista Gwen Hayes pointed out how wonderful it would have been, when we were leaving for college, to take every favorite novel in our collection at home along with us. Not to mention the professors and high school teachers nudging students to download books and lighten the book bag load.
On my personal shelf in my bedroom is a much-loved copy of The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. It’s emerald green hard cover is worn with the fingerprints and scuffs of three generations. But I will always have it, cherish it, and touch it with reverence. I must say, though, I love that my nephews can get lost in that story without damaging this physical incarnation—a family heirloom as dear to me as Nana’s china or my great-grandmother, Ma’s cameo.