Welcome to The Educating Parent Beverley Paine's archive of articles about homeschooling and unschooling written over a period of 30 plus years

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Books, Our Kids and Life Changing at Light Speed

Teresa Bondora

It's interesting, when I was young, I thought all the good times to live were over. I imagined what people new to electricity and toilets and cars must have thought. I was certain that I would not live to see a major change in my world that could rival those huge changes. But then it happened in college as the computer sprang on the scene and over and over in my life, my children's lives, all our lives we are transformed almost daily. To keep up we have to change our minds on the equivalent of those in the 40's having to learn to accept the rock and roll of the 50's. Yet we have to make these adjustments every day. Our children came into a world of rapid change. Making constant adjustments to reality and what's "good" (cell phone/camera/mp3 player) and right (Do you know texting etiquette?) is the norm for them.

We came up in a world of set rules that didn't change much. They come up in a world where very little is constant and keeping up with change is just as normal as brushing your teeth every morning. Actually they love it! They embrace all the changes and changing rules, changing norms and changing technology. It's fun, it's challenging and it's a way of life for the coming generations on this planet. It seems that their brains came here ready to process information faster.

Yet here I sit dealing with only one very simple old world meets new world challenge. I am an author. I publish my work in .pdf and to me it's a no-brainer. But the people I market to, have a hard time with it sometimes. And I must admit, I too, at 43 years old, have been trained that when I read I have to have slick magazine paper in my fingers or a nice hard back book with pages I can smell or a soft paperback I can fold backwards and treat badly. And if they've been borrowed or bought and sold and used repeatedly well, there's no replacing the energy of all those souls who've touched and read it. But just because those things are true doesn't mean they can stick around for future generations in large numbers. It is more likely to become a small oddity niche market, the book as paper, the "book store" as coffee shop hang out. It's sad to me only because of my generational upbringing. But 100 years from now only finding real paper book stores in larger cities will be normal. And they'll probably be expensive.

But I digress.

I decided to publish my material as ebook and download for oh so many reasons that just make sense....

  1. Money- I had none.
  2. Paper. I have sold about 300 copies of my book thus far. I don't know how many people printed it but I know they all did not.
  3. Readers- Today you can purchase a reader and my tiny little kb book won't even touch the space on your drive. It's an adjustment but all those books on your shelves can tuck nicely into your reader for vacation and plane and car and line standing. And it all fits in your pocket.
  4. Infrastructure- If I were to go the traditional route alone for printing and distributing I would have to send the file to a printer. I would pay them, we would call and write and get it all just so then the printing on paper would begin. The credit card company would get involved and I'd give them interest money on the cost of this job. When the printing was finished, the books would have to be shipped in cardboard boxes on a big truck burning tons of expensive gas at my expense to a warehousing facility. This facility uses electricity and machines to crate, lift, sort and store my books. When an order is triggered, an employee gets a book, prints labels, gets more packaging and packages it, labels and puts shipping costs on it. From there more fuel is used to ship the book to the buyer.
  5. Cost to the consumer- Because I would now only make about $3 per book I sell if I printed it, I would have to raise the price from $14 to $25 so that I could recoup the costs. I am a small seller so my costs are high. By making it an eBook you get the material for $14 instead of $25.
  6. Choice- now the choice to have paper is left to the consumer. As purchaser of my eBook you can choose to send the file to kinkos and have it printed and bound, you can choose to print only the pages you want to take to the pool to read or you can read it on your reader or you can read it on your computer or laptop at Starbucks.
  7. Immediacy- What if you are up at 2AM and you've just downed another bowl of cereal and some cookies. You feel like an idiot and not feeling so good about yourself. You are depressed. You get online and find my book. After reading my excerpts you are already feeling better and more hopeful. If you ordered my book and had to wait, you still go to bed depressed. By the time the book comes, you may read it or you may ignore it and toss it on the shelf. But because you are feeling hopeful, you order it, download it and begin reading it immediately. You read for 2 hours and you go to bed resolved, with a new attitude. You wake happy and motivated. The kids are affected, your marriage is affected and these are all very good things.

For these reasons I choose to publish my books as ebooks. But I have a feeling that those of you reading this struggle with the fact that my bulleted list makes perfect sense. And yet we still have a hard time with it. And thus the generation gap. And this gap grows faster than the one between my parents and me. This generational gap is blowing me away everyday that my daughter uses new words and asks for technology I didn't even know existed.

So the question is...do you come along willingly, reading the tech mags and listening to their conversations and trying to get translations? Do you buy eBooks now more than paper books? Or will you stay firmly planted in where you sit and do your best to force your younger ones to do the same?

Yes, life was simpler when the TV and radio were all we had. And we turned them off. That's why we take our kids out into the woods to rivers and hold them captive for the weekend. We remind them. THIS is real. Yet we embrace the new and my eBooks are my little way of becoming part of the new world order. The impact on the environment to exchange information is very little and it all contributes to the well being of the human reading it and to the environment and community of humans, biology and energy we are creating on Planet Earth. And it sort of keeps me in the next generational loop that it seems I am constantly running to stay in and slowly but surely falling behind.


Teresa Bondora homeschools and writes in Atlanta, GA USA and is the author of several ebooks. Her best seller, The Reality of Weight Loss can be found at www.howtoteachscience.com

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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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