We’ve all heard the debate, discussed the debate and wanted to hit the debate over the head to make it hide in the corner. The issue of e-publishing is, naturally, permeating the Publishing course I am taking. So, I thought I’d have a look at Amazon and see if it’s for me. This search was mainly fuelled by an article in Writer’s Forum (Jan issue 2010) about someone who worked with a woman whose desk was entirely occupied by an e-reader instead of the mountains of books towering on everyone else’s desks. I thought it could be rather useful to have an e-reader: a place to store all my books that is easily transportable...
So, online I went and prices weren’t as sky-high as I thought they may be (a mere £109, or £149 if you want Wi-Fi) and the ebooks are roughly half or 70 per cent of the price of a normal book (on Amazon anyway). This could work for me, I thought. But then I had a think. Why do I love books? Well, that’s obvious: the escape, the closure, the achievement, but also the feel, the soft paper, the smell. I used to think that people who smelt new books were weird, but now I’m one of them. Old, new, magazine, paper: I love them all. I am not, however, driven with desirous feelings to absorb and inhale a masterpiece by the smell of ... nothing. Technology doesn’t really smell: it’s cold, hard and unloving.
Finally, last week I figured out the problem with ebooks:
You can’t wrap them up.
Christmas is the book trade’s biggest seller. All the books sold at Christmas pay for the rest of the year’s poor sales. You could give an ebook as a gift, but you can’t even put it on a gift card in a pretty envelope. You lose the element of surprise if you have to directly download it to an ereader as you buy. Or you lose the crazy wide-eyed look of delight as your recipient realises what they’ve been given. Humans are very visual creatures. Which would you rather: someone saying ‘I’ve bought you an ice cream, but you can’t have it right now because it’s at home in the freezer’, or ‘here! Look what I bought you! It’s your favourite!’? Just think on that.
Until next time. Ttfn xx
 Dear publishers, yes I know – Amazon! Argh, grr. But it is quite cheap and I am still a student so...
 Or rather, will be. In the distant future. When I could actually afford it.
 I say ‘mere’ here, assuming that if I bought this it would indeed be ‘mere’ to my salary. I.e. I have a salary...
 Yes, there is a ‘but’ and a ‘then’; it’s not all cherry coated candy-fluff
 I suppose you could use e-wrapping paper, but that doesn’t actually exist and unwrapping something in your mind is just not the same as real life.
 Nb. The answer is the latter, unless you’re very very boring.