No doubt many of you are spending the post-Christmas week playing with some sort of shiny new e-reader, be it a Nook or a Kindle or some other similar device. I'm not, but I am staring at a pile of gift cards and cash that may well transform into an e-reader before the week is out. It's a move I've been putting off for a while now, for a couple of reasons. One, I'm not an "early adopter" – I like to give companies the time to work out the bugs in the toys before I take the plunge. Two, I'm most definitely old school when it comes to my books – I love the look, feel and even smell of a book; I love ratty old paperbacks, jacket-less hardbacks and beautiful limited editions. I like the way they look arranged neatly on shelves and haphazardly piled on desks. I like going over to my To-Be-Read pile and picking them up, one after another, thumbing through the books to see what grabs me for my next read.
I've maybe got a bit of a problem….
Anyway, I've been reluctant to give up the tactile pleasures of actual, physical books to spend more time in front of a glorified computer screen, but as I've paid attention to publishing this year, my attitude has begun to shift. More and more authors that I enjoy are digging deep into their archives and releasing hard-to-find treasures, available before only at expensive collector's prices, if at all, in cheap, accessible electronic editions. New authors are releasing short stories and whole novels at rock-bottom prices in an effort to build their audiences. Small presses are releasing e-versions of their pricey limited editions at a fraction of the cost of their physical counterparts. In other words, with an e-reader at hand, a whole new world of reading opportunities is opening up, and resistance is proving futile.
So, as I contemplate diving into the deep end, I've begun assembling a want list of things I'd like to fill an e-reader with. I'm going to offer part of that list below as suggestions for you – the new e-reader owners and those considering becoming e-reader owners – to take into consideration. I invite you to fill up our comments section with suggestions of your own.
I've written of my love for Piccirilli's work here before, both his early gothic horror stories and his newly-evolving crime noir style. Piccirilli has fully embraced digital publishing, despite not yet owning an e-reader of his own. Check out his blog, The Cold Spot, for a complete list of his digital releases, including a couple I'm eying: "Short Ride to Nowhere," a novella about a couple of buddies whose miserable lives run parallel to each other, a trait one strives to halt when murder enters the picture; and "You Better Watch Out," a Christmas tale about a hitman getting ready to face off with his own, murderous father.
From large books tracking the nonfiction writings of Stephen King to short chapbook samplers of larger anthologies, Cemetery Dance continues to expand their e-offerings. There are some Cemetery Dance books for which, to me, an electronic version will never do justice, but as a way to read new authors or get a look at books which have long been sold out in physical form, it's a great place to shop. Some books I have my eye on include: Slippin' Into Darkness, the debut novel of personal fave Norman Partridge; Shades, a long out-of-print collaboration between Brian Keene and Geoff Cooper; and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, a short examination of secondary characters from King's Dark Tower series written by Bev Vincent.
DarkFuse is an independent publisher, home to well-known genre imprint Delirium Books as well as Darkside Digital. This is a great place to go to discover new authors as well as hard-to-find titles by some of the genre's brightest stars. I've got a big wish list from this particular publisher, including: Midnight Blues, Brian Knight's tale of a man and his car, working together to hunt down the men who killed his wife; and Broken Shadows, a short story collection by Tim Waggoner.
There's oh so much more, but consider this a starting point. And please share with us – what are you filling your new e-reader with, or what titles are you looking for before you go digital?
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Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country (http://theoctobercountry.wordpress.com), and contributes interviews to the Horror World website. Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand.