Oh no! I dropped my book!

October 21, 2012 

There's a big debate going around my house, but it has nothing to do with Mitt Romney's math, Joe Biden's rudeness or the fact that I think that pink polka-dotted shorts look just fine with a purple-striped shirt. My wife disagrees with that, but what does she know? She reads books on a Kindle.

And that's the source of debate -- not whether you should use a Kindle or Nook or other device, but whether you should read books on electronic thingies or in print. As someone whose latest book is in print and electronic formats, I don't care which way you go, just as long as you join the literally dozens of people who've purchased one or the other.

Perhaps I'm biased because I'm still walking around with a shattered screen on my iPhone. I think it's an iPhone 4S or 3G or 2K or something like that. I know it's a letter and a number. It might be an R2D2. Whatever it is, it has made me reluctant to dive into the world of ebooks as a reader. I know me: If something can be broken, by golly, I can do it.

I can just see me chillaxing on my patio curled up with a classic story like "The Old Man and the Sea" or "Chicken Soup for Harry Potter's Hunger Games" and getting startled by our neighbor's lovable large black lab, sending my electronic reader flying face-down onto a brick paver, breaking my book. You'd break your book.

Not once have I ever dropped an actual bound book and yelled, "Oh great! I just broke my book!"

I have spilled drinks on old-school books before. I'm not sure what happens if you spill a drink on an electronic reader thingy, but I bet it's not something you can fix with a hair dryer. And I've blown up a checkbook or two, but that was more in the figurative.

My wife's Kindle has a few advantages over old paper books, though. For instance, I've never opened a copy of "The Old Man and the Sea" and decided to watch an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" or throw some birds with bad tempers. I admit to using her Kindle to watch "Curb" and "Cheers" and to check out guitar chords for songs I can strum along with on my guitar such as Jerry Reed's "Lord, Mister Ford" or Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik." But when it comes to reading, I just can't do it yet.

As a writer, however, I love it. One ofz the great things about being a writer is that no matter how bad you stink at it (trust me), no one can stop you from doing it. If you stink at brain surgery or astronauting, they'll put a stop to that, but you're always free to write. Getting published, however, that's a whole 'nother story.

Until now. Now anybody who can find their way to a keyboard and an internet connection can throw their completely-different vampire novel into the ocean of online vampire novels and make upwards of four or five bucks with the right marketing plan.

This thrills me because like every other journalist and former journalist on the planet who would rather write novels about, well, anything instead of covering city council meetings, I, too, have dozens of half-written novels on my computer's hard drive. If you want something done halfway, I'm your man.

And the prospect of earning four or five bucks means I might just turn one of those halfway-finished worthless pieces into a genuine three-quarters-finished work of junk. Look for it any day now … only in electronic format, I imagine.

-- Chris Johnson is an independent correspondent whose "Best of Chris Johnson" is now available for Kindle. Follow him at Facebook.com/KudzuKidWriting.

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