Monday, December 27, 2010

A Benefit of Ebooks by David Vandagriff

For today's post, I'm happy to welcome a guest blogger, author David Vandagriff.
David and I belong to a writing group called LDStorymakers and he's always posting insightful information for writers. I loved what he had to say about Ebooks and he agreed to share with my readers. Enjoy!
You can visit David's author page: where you'll see info on his new book,
I Need Thee Every HourI Need Thee Every Hour and The Atonement Blog -

I have a copy of Pride and Prejudice downloaded from three different sources - Amazon, Apple's iBookstore and Google's eBookstore - available for reading on my computer and my iPhone and (Amazon version) my Kindle ereader - and I paid nothing for any of my copies of this classic work now in the public domain.

Access to classic literature has never been easier. Fifteen years ago if I wanted to read Pride and Prejudice, I had to buy it from a physical bookstore or drive to the library and hope a copy was available to check out.

Now, if I have any sort of computer no matter how old or inexpensive plus Internet access, within 30 seconds, I can begin reading Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment and every other literary classic in the public domain at no charge.

An English teacher in all but the most low-income schools can assign a class to read the first paragraph of David Copperfield:

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o'clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously."

and compare it with the first paragraph of Moby Dick:

"Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me."

to compare the ways in which two major novelists began books showing young men making their way in a difficult world (both written from the first person point of view). If any of the students are intrigued by the first paragraphs, they can read the rest of either book. In fact, the English teacher can do the same thing with the first paragraphs of another dozen classic novels during the year without worrying about whether the students will have access to those books.

I know that copies of such books have been available for some time via computer, but the small-form ereader is, I think, a far better way to read a novel than a desktop computer and probably a laptop as well. In a family with one computer and many children, a personal ereader will be an increasingly less-expensive way of allowing each child to comfortably read material from the internet.

I believe ebooks easily available via sophisticated online bookstores at no cost may lead to a greater familiarity with the classics for a larger group of people than ever before.

When I was young, I was a voracious reader and my family almost always lived quite a distance from a library. I would have loved having access to an almost infinite number of interesting books right in my home.

David P. Vandagriff
Author Site -
The Atonement Blog -

*What do you think? Do you agree with David? I've been reluctant to jump on the Ebook band-wagon, but his points here are very persuasive. What do you like about Ebooks?


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