An author grieves when a book goes out of print. We know better, because it's business, after all, but still . . . we spend a year or more, sometimes much more, in the creation of a novel, and we have high hopes for it. When a book is published, it's a bit like sending a beloved child out into the world. Everything that happens around that book is an intense experience.
I was particularly saddened when my novel The Child Goddess went out of print. It had done well critically, had won an award (The Endeavour Award for Excellence in Science Fiction), and had earned praise from my usual readers and not a few new ones. But sales weren't strong enough, particularly in mass market (!) to keep it on the shelves. So, trying hard to be a grown-up and a professional, I accepted the loss (which is what it feels like) and went on to the next work.
And now, lo and behold! The Child Goddess is selling again--in electronic format. I hadn't actually been paying attention to its conversion for the Kindle and the Sony Reader, so when the royalty statement arrived, it was such a pleasant surprise! Even the number of downloads was a pleasant surprise--not an avalanche, by any means, but, at least to me, a significant number. I don't quite understand why, or even how, but it's still lovely.
I bought the Kindle 2 just after Christmas, and I can understand why people have been raving about it. The format is ridiculously easy to use, and reading on it is a pleasure. I haven't found a downside. This is the electronic future we've all expected for some time--although I didn't expect it so soon, and to be honest, didn't expect it to have anything to do with my own out-of-print books. This is nice. I am hopeful, at this moment, about the future of our business. I hope no one rains on my little parade--I plan on enjoying it for a while!