Competing with Endless Instant Choices

I had a somewhat disheartening realization today, and it all began with fond memories of Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner.  (Yes, how my mind works is frightening at times.)  It’s probably already obvious to others, but it hit me like a semi doing 80 in a 30 zone.  Competition for your valuable reading time isn’t just from other authors and their books, but from myriad other entertainment options instantaneously available at the tap of your finger – or voice command.

Think back.  Where were you 20 years ago?  When you wanted entertainment, how did you get it?  I’ll wax nostalgic for a moment.

I could look up details about a book and drive an hour to the mall, hoping they had it.  I could order it too, but that took much longer.  By the time the week or more went by, my anticipation reached a frenzied high – or it was no longer important.  Ditto on music.

I could save a movie, TV or cable show to a video box, and I could watch it whenever I wanted, on my TV.  I could go to a local store and rent a movie, providing it had been in release for a while and available on a disc formatted to fit my video box.

I could play a game on a gaming console – if I had the right console for the manufacturer of the game.  These games weren’t necessarily of great quality.  Those were often for rent at the local store too, if enough time had passed from their original release.

What do all these cases have in common?  Delayed gratification.  When one wanted something, one had to work to have it soon – or be satisfied waiting.  Ah yes, the bad old good old days.  The Roadrunner’s “meep-meep” is available on YouTube, by the way, and old Wile E. is still getting hit with the same anvil.

And now, to today.  I want to read an obscure title or the latest bestseller – bingo, on my ereader or my phone or…  Have a yen to watch the latest movie?  Bet you can download it before your corn is done popping, watch it from room to room in your house, and take it with you on a phone or tablet if you need to leave.  And that tune, the one you just heard on your streaming music channel in the communications panel in your car?  Boom – on repeat play.

Reading takes time.  How much time depends on how fast you read, and/or how much unassigned time you have to listen to an audiobook.  People read in at least four major formats (hardcover, paperback, ebook, audio).  Compound that by multiple distribution channels (yes, even for hardback books) and devices (ebook readers, computers, tablet, phones…) and you might understand why authors like me feel the whirling dervishes of despair in trying to cover them all.

All this is my long-winded way of saying THANK YOU for reading, no matter how you do it.  I know your time is both valuable, and scarce.  I share your time with other instantly available entertainment options, and I don’t take that lightly.  It’s my goal to always give you value, so when you’ve reached the last page, you say, “Now that was a great use of my time.”

Happy reading!  Yvonne

What other favorite entertainment options do you choose?  How do you prioritize reading in that melee?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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