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For Matt and Tony – an appreciation of Kindle eBooks

April 21, 2013

Ok, yes, I know that as a bookseller, I am supposed to hate the Kindle and everything it stands for.

But not only do I NOT hate the Kindle, I own at least 3. The Kindle Fire, the Kindle 3 and the little one with no keyboard and the ads on the screensavers.

Plus I have the Kindle apps downloaded on my Droid and my PC – so actually, 5! That’s right, 5 Kindles!

Before that I had the late and not too lamented “Fictionwise eReader”, which was pretty big but served its purpose.

Anyway, even though I still love physical, print books (and make a decent amount of extra cash trafficking in them on eBay and Amazon), I absolutely love the convenience of the ereaders. (No more carpal tunnel syndrome from toting around the latest hardcover Stephen King book, yayyy!!)

But even more, I love the fact that so many great writers are publishing books, on their own, via Kindle!

Sure, there’s a lot of crap out there – but then, let’s be honest, there’ve always been a lot of crappy books out there. I come across tons of self-published crapola in the thrift stores every day. Poetry, too. Most poetry books are self-published and really, really bad.

But I digress.

What I wanted to say is that I’ve discovered some writers working ONLY on the Kindle right now who are easily as good as any of their print counterparts. And I’d like to highlight two of them in this post: Matt “Wiggy” Wiggins and Tony Rabig.

Matt is a fitness expert – really! And what I love about his eBooks is that they’re short, focused and to the point – and cut through a LOT of the hype about fitness machines, techniques and diets.

For example, his book ““Working Class Weight Loss“.

Yeah, that’s right, stick up your nose and say, “Humph, just another crappy diet book!”

But no, it’s not! Believe me – I’ve READ enough crappy diet books to know the difference!

It’s actually got very detailed information about setting goals; why just “wanting to losing weight” may not be enough; how to figure out what it is you want; and once you have, how to get there.

For example: Is your goal to be more flexible and healthier overall? Meet the weight requirements of your job? Or just fit into a special outfit long enough to have your picture taken? Those are very different goals and there’s no “one size fits all” plan that will automatically take you to each of them.

So you really do have to sit down and think about what it is you REALLY want. A challenging task no matter what the goal!

And while not sure if it’s in this book or one of his others, I LOVE the term he uses: “BSO” – Bright Shiny Object – about how too many people pick a weight loss/fitness plan, but don’t stick with it because they get distracted by some other weight loss/fitness plan they read about online, switch to that; do that again and again; and thus set themselves up for failure.

Pick ONE sensible plan and stick with it for several months before even THINKING about switching. That’s good advice, and it motivated me to activate my long-dormant “My Fitness Pal” account and start counting calories again.

Thanks, Matt!

The second author I’d like to focus on is a gentleman named Tony Rabig.

Tony Rabig is a retired former bookseller, librarian, computer programmer and teacher. So far, he’s only published short stories on the Kindle. But WHAT short stories!

Easily the equal of Ray Bradbury (the subject of one of his stories), Richard Matheson and Jack Finney, and in the same vein,

The first story I read was his “The Other Iron River“, and here’s the description from Amazon:

“The town of Iron River is slowly fading away, declining as its younger people move away and the older ones die. But there is another Iron River — the town as it was a century ago. And if you’re the right kind, you can step back into yesterday, and stay. Paul and Beth are the right kind, but is leaving their own time really what they want?”

I found this while searching to see if anything by Jack Finney (“Time and Again”, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, etc.) had made it to the Kindle yet. They hadn’t. But – another Rabig fan had tagged his stories with “Jack Finney”, so “The Other Iron River” popped up.


For 99 cents, I gave it a try – and was flabbergasted. Mr. Rabig (whose blog is also worth reading, as he sometimes posts excerpts from stories he’s working on!) is easily the best fantasy/horror short story writer I’ve read in a long, long time – and as I said, definitely playing in the same ballpark as Finney, Matheson and Bradbury.

So readers, book lovers, don’t write off the Kindle, or consider it your enemy. Instead, treat it as the convenience it is – a way to carry your library with you when you’re traveling, without having to haul twenty extra suitcases; and more importantly, a way to discover the writers who’ll be inspiring and entertaining people for years to come.


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