Turns out, it was this:
That's right, one of my shelves, weighed down with so many books, broke. And all the books toppled down to the ground.
Because of a recent new development (more on this in a minute), as I stood in the middle of the night staring at this mess, I pictured the neatly organized virtual bookshelf on my iPad and thought: This won't ever happen to that shelf!
This has prompted me to think about what's happening to me.
I am becoming an ebook reader!
I have always been one of those people who resisted the transition into digital books. I like physical books. (I'm a hardcover lover). I like reading them. I like that people on the subway can see what I'm reading. I like the way the pages feel and smell. I like putting them on my shelf when I'm done with them (evidence above).
That said, on a recent trip for a Writer's Conference, I bought my first ebook for pleasure reading (Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren, and guys it's super hot). And when I finished, you want to know what I did? I bought more! More ebooks. A number of them really. (First I pre-ordered the next book by Christina Lauren and then I bought 16 more ebooks.)
Here's why this is good: um I bought 16 books. I might not have bought that many were I in a physical store. After all, I'd have to carry them all and depending on format it would have been more expensive. And let's face it, it's easier to click a button and have something immediately downloaded than carry things up through a line and wait for a cashier to ring them up and then fork over the money.
Now don't get me wrong, I still love my print books. I'm still a hardcover person, especially for the books that I'm really excited about or authors that I love and in fact, if I read an ebook and love the book I will probably then buy the hardcover or paperback. But I see now why this whole ebook thing isn't going away.
Here's my problem with my newfound ebook relationship: DISCOVERABILITY.
I have an iPad. On it, I can read through iBooks or my Nook or Kindle apps. Personally I like the layout of iBooks best. I like that it reads like a flat electronic mass market book. I also like that I can buy directly from the app which I couldn't figure out how to do from either Nook or Kindle.
But neither Nook or iBooks are doing something Kindle is. They're not telling me what other books I will like when I finish my book.
Here's my example. In Nook, when I finished reading Beautiful Bastard, that was it. The book was over. I even scrolled through all the back matter to see if there was anything helpful, but nope. Just more info on what I'd already read.
iBooks is a little better but not enough. After I finished reading a digital only novella by Kelley Armstrong, it showed me other books by her:
While this is good, I've actually already read all of those. I'm already a fan. I want to read something new. I want to discover new authors, the way I would when wandering around in a bookstore. Or talking to one of those awesome booksellers who knows their stuff.
However, when I finished reading "Under the Nameless Stars" by Diana Peterfreund (which is awesome by the way), look what Kindle showed me:
Other books by Diana (though not all of them, wtf Kindle) and then other options! Books that other people who share my reading interests read. A few are ones I recognized, but several of them are ones that I didn't.
This is important to me because discovering new books and new authors is important to me. And if I was just a regular ebook reader, how would I decide what books to read? Without walking into a store, without talking to a bookseller, without browsing around the internet--I would see only the big bestsellers or the books being advertised. I would miss out on a lot of the really wonderful books that I might love. And as our culture becomes more and more instant, the average person will spend less and less time looking for something and just buy the first thing that sparks there interest. And it might not be a book they'll love. They might be missing out on something great.
In my mind, there's something wrong with that.
As I'm new to the world of reading ebooks for pleasure, I'd love to hear what you think about all this.