How can we combat the greed and misperception that perpetuate e-reading illiteracy?

1 Mar

When I ask someone if they read e-books, I usually get some version of that meme about “the smell and feel” of a “real” book. But when I show someone an e-reader they say,  Wow!  When I pull my e-reader out in a public place to read, it always attracts attention and I happily answer questions and show people how easy it is to use. Very few people know what an e-reader looks like or how to acquire an e-book and read it. And that’s a shame, because there are so many free digital repositories of knowledge and great literature. After helping find e-reading solutions for a woman who’d given up reading because she was paralyzed but for the minimal use of one hand, I realized promoting e-reading literacy could be life changing on many levels for a wide range of people.

I teamed up with author Shara Lanel to arrange public demonstrations of e-reading in places where readers gather. In approaching book sellers and libraries about working through them, I couldn’t land one yes to the idea. I think with time, education and persuasion I can change that.

In some instances a lack of knowledge and fear of something new motivated the resistance. In other cases greed and the battle to control the market barred the doors. I’m not here to name names or point fingers. I don’t think that’s how to solve this problem. I’m on a crusade to educate readers about e-reading and the muliple options for reading e-books. I’m planning to have demos at fairs and festivals during the spring and summer. I’ll be doing an e-reading workshop this fall with some other authors. I’m not normally a put-yourself-out-there person, but I’m passionate about this cause.

I’m not the only e-reading crusader. Read an E-Book Week, March 7-13th is an annual event to promote e-reading, started by Rita Y. Toews. You can visit the event’s central website for a list of other activites planned. To celebrate Read an E-Book Week I’ll be blogging on e-reading and e-readers March 1-15. I’ll have guest bloggers joining me to promote the cause. The official twitter hashtag for e-book week is #ebookweek. Tweet about the e-books you’re reading and events you’re participating in.

If that isn’t enough to make you bounce in your chair and shout hallelujah, I’ve got the coolest prizes to give away. I put mini e-libraries on one gig flash drives and installed an e-reading program right on the drive. All you have to do is plug the drive into the USB port on your PC and you have all you need to start e-reading. I’ll include links to resources for e-books on the flash drive and install a mini-browser that runs from the drive, so you can use it to download more books. I’ll hold a drawing to give away one flash drive each day during read an e-book week. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on my blog or sign up for my E-Book Evolution newsletter. You get one entry in the contest for each relevant comment at the blog (no spamming the comments for extra entries) and one more entry if you sign up for the newsletter.

I was thrilled when I learned my novel, The Tiger’s Tale, will be released March 12th during Read an E-Book Week.  I’ll include a free copy of my book on every drive I give away and some great reads from some of my favorite authors.

The next e-reading post is about the launch of my E-Book Evolution newsletter, so put this URL in your feed reader and get ready for two weeks of e-book fun.

If you’re as passionate about e-reading literacy as I am, please get in touch. I’d love to brainstorm ideas about how we can promote e-reading. If you’re doing something to promote e-reading literacy, let me know and I’ll promote your efforts here.

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One Response to “How can we combat the greed and misperception that perpetuate e-reading illiteracy?”

  1. Kelly Jamieson March 1, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    Sounds like a great celebration and opportunity to share learning, Nara! As an author primarily epublished and a recent convert to my digital reader, I too want to spread this word.

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