We are about to enter a new place in our human history. Viewed globally, and simply, a warmer climate presents new adverse conditions that force migrations within a continually growing population toward confined spaces, bringing new diseases into denser habitation zones. Not a lot of good news there.
A lot of things are about to change. Including social attitudes. A new fear of personal proximity is growing. My personal space, once intangible, is measurable now. In some communities it is already enforced by law. What we breathe, what we touch, how we touch it, and where we go can no longer be guided by whimsy but must be studied. It is the age of pandemic.
As an author, my interest is in presenting my fiction books for readers in their preferred mode of enjoyment, be it audio, eBook, or paperback. The popularity of eBooks has continued to gain ground, as have audio books. But there are, and I believe always will be, those such as myself who find joy in a book I can hold in my hands, flip its pages, and store on my shelf carefully arranged by author’s last name.
Will the age of pandemic change readers’ preferred modality? I believe it must. Those crowded spaces where physical books are most often sold––airports, malls, convention halls, and book festivals––may well be less frequented in the future while an eBook or audio book viewed on one’s own tablet or reader offers a safe supply of never ending selections.
Such a future is not my preference, but I fear the world is about to change and will be slow to change back. I will make sure my books are available as eBooks, and in the Amazon Prime library, and as audio books for all personal reading devices. But I will still publish in paperback, if only to have one copy of the physical book for my shelves under the letter “G”.