Friday, 7 January 2011

Saving trees

My first book, which is still selling well after three years, is now available in electronic form and can be  downloaded for Kindle or onto your Mac or PC. Those of you who live 'Down Under' and in other countries where getting hold of the book was problematic and expensive (who wants to buy a £4 book for £11, including postage?) can now get a copy with a couple of clicks and not much money.

At first my publisher was reluctant to go ahead with e-books; the reasons are commercial and understandable. The question that needs answered is whether or not e-books, which are growing massively in popularity, will be the death of traditional books and therefore book shops. Profit margins are also cut dramatically for publishers and authors alike, so will this mean the demise of small publishing houses and a discouraging trend for those who want to write?

I guess it all depends on how many people switch to e-books. If millions do and the market does not change in terms of volume sales, then it's possible nothing much will happen to affect the author-publisher commercial relationship but book shops will disappear and that will be a shame because there's still something wonderful about picking up a 'real' book and flicking through the pages. I don't know about you but the feel of a book; it's cover and the content all contribute to persuading me to buy it. I can't see that being the same with an electronic tablet.

The progessive shift from paper to binary code for reading will end another tangible human urge. We will no longer feel the need to build book shelves. So there goes Ikea!



Anonymous said...

Any chance of getting it released for real ebooks then?

Eclipse said...

I agree with you. While I understand the idea of e-books and while I am very technologically adept I really could not give up real books. I love having a bookcase which I can browse and choose what I can read or re-read. I love feeling the weight of a book in my hand and turning the pages. I love having a bookcase of books to show off, or for my friends to choose something they would like to borrow. Having a file list is not the same and neither is giving an e-book as a present. Saving trees or not, you won't find me buying anything other than a normal book made of paper.

Jo said...

Congratulations :-)

I think it is going to be interesting to see how the e-book changes the publishing scene - I think that there will be a rise in the number of self-published authors - it's a lot cheaper to set up and market something electronically than it is to persuade a bookshop to carry your untested work. Time will tell!

BTW - for non UK readers who still want to buy books at sane prices (it scares me how much a new paperback retails for here in NZ...), the Book Depository is only slightly more expensive than Amazon (e.g. for Paramedic's Diary, you pay £7.19 instead of £4.85) and has free P&P worldwide...

JPJess said...

I recently bought a Kindle; although I agree, there is nothing like the feeling of having a real book in your hands (especially either really old or brand new books, which also target the olfactory sense!), I chose to get a Kindle because of it's improved portability - it is much more practical to take a little e-reader than fill your bag half full of books on family holidays (which I may have been guilty of on occassion!).

A real book will always win over an e-book as far as I'm concerned, but they do have their uses!

jeanfromcornwall said...

Here in rural Lincolnshire it can take 15 minutes to download a three page knitting pattern, so you can guess I am not going down the electronic route any time soon!
Nobody mentioned the pleasure of opening a brand new book and smelling the fresh paper and printer's ink. Electronics just don't give you that.

Tom102 said...

Sorry, but I love the bookshelf. IKEA will stay in business, as I am an old fart who loves his books.

Since leaving university many years ago -other than professional tomes- it has been my practice to keep books I read on shelves.

I am a technophobe, and the thought of losing a prescious 'tale' for want of an errant button pressing is too much to contemplate, hence my reliance on a hard copy.

Sad though this may be, I prefer your 'book' as opposed to a cyber representation of your work.

I do not mind paying for it.

Fiz said...

If I can't pick up and feel a book, I don't feel I'm reading. Amazon, you can stop pushing Kindle at me because I will never buy one!

Anonymous said...

I was given a kindle for Xmas. Now a convert - much of my reading is clasics which are cheap or even free on Kindle - including many that have been out of print for decades or are hard and expwensive to find as old hardbacks. That's a real advantage - ALL of Trollopes books for £2.63!

The screen is very good, absolutely no flicker, readng experience is very like a book except you can resize the text to whatever you are comfortable with. No backlight so perfectly readable in bright sunlight etc - If you buy the cover it has a built in LED light so you can read in the dark (without the wife grumbling!)

With the wireless turned off- battery life with 1-2 hrs reading a day is >2 weeks. It feels pleasantly chunky but is lighter than even a thin paperback

It will use any available wifi network as well as the free 2/3G so if you have a broadband wireless router, so being rural is no problem. Files are really small anyway so even 2G speed here in rural Beds (no 3G) down loaded the WHOLE works of Dickens in about 5 mins

The only criticism I have is that navigation inside books is not very good. it rememembers your alst erda position in all books adn will go to them straight away but otehr wise uses something called locations which has no apparent relation to print page no or chapter. When reading for pleasure this is no problem - but it would be hard to use textbooks or refrence works on it.

It needs chapter or page navigation options like PDFs have on a PC and once they have cracked this - watch it mop up the textbook market!!