My guess is that many readers of ebooks also read traditional print works. They see ebooks as just another way to obtain books, not unlike audio books using technology to offer a different way to experience a book.
But here I am more interested in what could be a previously untapped audience. Some nonreaders with an interest in technology may start reading because of an affection for the kindle or other ebook readers. Downloading books quickly may appeal to them. Reading on an ipad, kindle, or computer may be easier for them than perusing a book.
These types of readers will bring with them different expectations and desires than traditional readers. What they are, I don't know. But I can speculate. My sense is that a best-selling kindle author like John Locke may be creating a new literary paradigm, one distant and different from the traditional one.
In one of his books Locke's narrator walks out of a building and sees a drunk woman walk into a utility pole. She falls and he becomes concerned. However, he is worried that if he gets too close he may get shot because a drunk woman had pulled a gun from a purse and shot dead a man who was trying to help her just the previous week.
Then the woman's head explodes. The narrator throws himself to the ground. While there, he notices some numbers on a suspicious van parked close by.
From a traditional perspective, this scene is ridiculous on many levels. However, none of those levels apply in a specifically ebook culture. This book is good at what it does.
First, why would a traditional perspective scoff at this scene? Because it is so unrealistic. If you are close to an explosion of any sort, you are affected by it. You can only fall to the ground to avoid it if you anticipate it. Yet Locke has his character falling to the ground after the explosion. In addition, after the head explodes the narrator would be in shock and have blood all over him. It is unlikely that he would be able to identify a van as suspicious, let alone the numbers on it.
Enough of the critique. What does work here? The humor. This scene is well paced because the reader laughs at the outrageousness of the head blowing up. Then, while Locke gives us some extra and fairly unimportant details, we can laugh without missing much. We return to paying close attention, only to get another punch line.
Locke is more a standup comedian than he is a traditional novelist. He develops and delivers a punchline, then gives his readers a recovery break. And he needs to be judged accordingly. I could be wrong, but I suspect that his success lies in large part with his ability to attract nonreaders, who may love comedic TV and stand-up. What do you think?