Monday, January 12, 2009

Instant Book Gratification - Paul Auster's Man in the Dark

Yesterday I was listening to the local public radio station, KQED, and the program "City Arts and Lectures" came on. The guest was Paul Auster. He spoke about a number of topics, but he spoke quite a bit about his book Man in the Dark (see link at end of post).

After hearing him talk about the book, I decided I wanted to read it, so I went over to Amazon and there I saw that they had it available as a download through at a price I thought was very fair for an audio book. I purchased it, downloaded all the software and then the book. Listened to it that afternoon and evening while I was beading.

First off, great book, read by the author, who did an excellent job. He has a pleasant voice, good articulation and emotion. Also, it appealed to me in that there is an element of 'alternate reality' which is one of my favorite types of fiction, and also that it starts off with the protagonist doing something I do all the time, which is tell myself a story to help myself fall asleep. I'm a bit more successful than him, as I never get all the way through a story before I fall asleep.

As the mother of a soldier, who just came home from Iraq, the ending was particularly difficult for me, and I am very glad that I did not hear this story before my son came home - I think it would have had a much more profound, and anxiety inducing, impact on me if I had.

It's the experience of getting the audio book that led me to choosing the e-book over waiting for the hardback, that I want to talk about, though.

I could have bought the book from a number of sources - the Macmillan site has it for $23.00 or, if you wanted to listen, you could order a CD. Amazon had the hardcover for $25.64, paperback for $11.10 or the Kindle version, or an Audible download. Normally, if you go direct to Audible it would cost $17.47 but through Amazon it was $13.10 - also less than the cost of the Kindle version ($13.77).

I wanted to "have" the book immediately, so the download was certainly the best deal, since it would have taken a couple days at least to arrive, unless I wanted to pay a high premium for overnight shipping.

I may wander into the local Borders some day and see if I can get the hardback to re-read, and probably at a good price...but the ability to hear an author talk on the radio and then immediately have an unabridged, well produced, easy to acquire copy...well, that's the beauty of the internet. I wish acquiring any book, anytime was as easy as it was yesterday.

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