Do eReaders Signal a New Life for Short Stories?

I’ve been involved in a big project for a while so my reading time has been limited. What this means regarding my Wednesday posts is that I haven’t finished the wonderful steampunk short story collection, The Shadow Conspiracy II, I’m in the middle of, so can’t very well review it. Instead, I wanted to talk a bit about eReaders and what I’m discovering as I use mine more frequently.

I’m a determined supporter of short fiction, but over the years I’ve not been much of a reader, whether online or in print. I have a number of subscriptions, but the magazines pile up with few getting a full read.

Since February 8th, I have read 3, almost 4 books. All of them have been eBooks, the longest run of eBooks vs. print so far, and with the exception of the first, they’ve all been short story collections or magazines.

I’d already started transitioning on short stories from reading them on the computer to listening while I go on walks, but the chill winter air put paid to that. However, it turns out my eReader offers a similar opportunity.

My glove box used to be stuffed with copies of Analog, F&SF, and Asimov’s, convenient for their smaller size, that I would read while waiting for my commute partners or at stray moments. I always had some quick reading material about.

With my eReader, or for people who read on their phones, it’s easy to keep not one but 100 different short story collections or magazines at hand for when they’re needed. On my eReader, I currently have a couple issues of Black Gate, several of Baen’s Universe, and a few short story collections. Intergalactic Medicine Show also just went to providing downloadable copies of the magazine. Though I’ve had a subscription for some time, suddenly I’m much more likely to get the chance to read it.

The same effect is showing up in the eBook markets where short stories are available for a dollar a pop. People have been bemoaning the demise of the short story. What I’m seeing in myself is that eReaders may reverse that trend handily.

So, what are your thoughts on this? Have you tried to read short stories on your eReader, phone, iPad, or whatever? Does the convenient size of the device and the tale both make a difference?

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2 Responses to Do eReaders Signal a New Life for Short Stories?

  1. Shadow Conspiracy is an excellent title, I had the pleasure of reading this book on the plane back from milwaukee.

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