E-Books and Electricity: Do You Really Have a Copy of That Book You Bought?

A couple of weeks before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston (and Rockport and Corpus), a series of huge thunderstorms rumbled through Central Texas filled with lightning bolts and high winds.  Here in San Antonio, we can have storm winds gusting 40-50 mph, so this is serious business.

The lights flickered at 7:15 and we lost power by 7:30.  No biggie: we have candles and flashlights at the ready for this sort of thing.  And it never lasts over an hour or two.

Wrong.  This time, we went 14 hours without electricity.  The CPS website map of local outages looked like the entire county had been colored in by some excited child with a new box of Crayons.

So, sure: I picked up my Kindle Fire to read for a bit.  And here’s where I discovered what I need to share with you, Dear Reader.

I could only access around seven books.  And I have HUNDREDS in my Kindle library. 


Well, I learned that while I had downloaded lots of these books onto my old Kindle, I had not bothered to do so with this newer e-reader.  And the old Kindle is dead.  No workie.

Electronic Publications Are Not the Same as Paper

It’s just another lesson here in electronic publishing.  There are several that I need to remember:

1.  License Isn’t Ownership

I have a license to read these publications.  That’s what I am buying really when I purchase an e-book from Amazon.   It’s NOT the same as a paper book. 

Melville House goes into lots of detail on licensing in a piece written by Chad Felix, “”Ownership” and other e-book fallacies.”

2. Download to Store on the Device

I have to download the publication onto my device in order to have full access.  If it’s in my “library” it’s on the cloud.  No Wi-Fi, no cloud.

Learn more on this from Carolyn Nicander Mohr’s discussion entitled “How to Delete Kindle Books from the Cloud vs. Your Device,” in a post on The Wonder of Tech.

3.  Download Isn’t Permanent

And it gets trickier.  I borrow ebooks from the library via OverDrive.  This allows me to go to Amazon and download a book.

But when the time allotted expires, my loan is over and so is my ability to access that publication.  I did download it.  But it’s not there permanently.  It’s a digital library book where I never pay late fees.

For more here, read the February 19, 2017, article “How to back up Kindle books to a computer – step-by-step guides,” by Piotr Kowalczyk at EbookFriendly.com.  He also explains how Amazon keeps access to your downloads, too.  Maybe a publisher wants to change something, etc.


Now, I still love my e-reader.  And I’m going to take the time to download my beloved books onto the new e-reader. 

But this makes me appreciate paper books all the more.  And reaffirms my practice of buying the paper book of anything I read and love as an e-book. 

Because then it’s really MINE. 


Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2017: We’ve Got 62 Days, People

I guess you probably know National Novel Writing Month is an annual event that begins on the first of November.  If not, you can read all the details here on its official web site.

Well, I’m gonna do NaNoWriMo again this year.  Yepper.

I’m Buying New Pens

It’s just for fun.  Last year, I wrote my stuff by hand and that was even more of a blast.  I got to use all sorts of pens

Elmore Leonard and Nelson DeMille are two of my favorite writers.  They handwrite their stuff.  I could say that I’m using pen and paper because of their influence, but it would be a filthy lie.  I like that they handwrite their stuff.  I do. 

But I just love using pens and writing in cursive.  It makes me happy to play around with different kinds of pens, even a fine tip Sharpie or two.  And it’s an excuse to buy some more … I need them for NaNoWriMo. 

Must. Buy. Pens. 

(I worry about how abnormal I sound to you right now…. Sorta.)

Oh, and I figured out how to bind everything together using those Happy Planner discs.  This is great.  I can gather the pix I’ve torn out to remind me of settings, or maps I’ve created, or just anything … and pile it all together with the handwritten pages.  Which may well end up on all kinds of paper. 

This disc binding system is a big deal for me.  Really makes NaNoWriMo so much better. 

Plus the stuff I research. 

Last year, I learned a lot about tsunamis, because I had so many subplots going that I just drowned a whole lot of them in one fell swoop.  Felt good.  Felt REAL good.

I’m Researching Tornadoes

So, this year I’m already researching tornadoes.  Have you ever watched those storm chaser videos of the El Reno tornado in Oklahoma?  Wow, that was one scary monster. 

(And no, even after Hurricane Harvey I’m sticking with tornadoes.  Why? Tornadoes are sudden -- a hurricane would give my characters too much warning.  They might scream less. And more might live.  (I guess I have a dark side.))

Here, you watch that El Reno tornado for yourself.  Wowzer.

More later.  I’m off to Amazon to see what pens are on sale and to buy those extra big discs that are the size of small dessert plates.  Maybe in pink.