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I've written stories ever since I could write, but somewhere along the way I seem to have lost the joy and natural desire to write for me. Churning out stories every other week for my degree course, and forcing non-existent brilliance out of myself has drained my natural spirit. So, I have created myself a blog in an attempt to find a way back to what made me fall in love with writing in the first place. Only you and I will discover if I fail or succeed...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

In Which I Contemplate Ebooks

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[1] and see if it’s for me.[2] 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)[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6]

Until next time. Ttfn xx

[1] Dear publishers, yes I know – Amazon! Argh, grr. But it is quite cheap and I am still a student so...
[2] Or rather, will be. In the distant future. When I could actually afford it.
[3] I say ‘mere’ here, assuming that if I bought this it would indeed be ‘mere’ to my salary. I.e. I have a salary...
[4] Yes, there is a ‘but’ and a ‘then’; it’s not all cherry coated candy-fluff
[5] 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.
[6] Nb. The answer is the latter, unless you’re very very boring.

1 comment:

  1. Hullo :) I had a very similar issue with being creative and being at Uni, which is why I've started a poetry blog. And I agree entirely about receiving actual, real books, although it has made transporting all of mine a bit difficult. (Cherry-coated candy fluff should go in a story, btw :D)