e-books – why I like them

When I first started writing, books stayed in print for several years, but over time the publishing/book selling processes have accelerated, so that now, unless you’re a very famous writer, a book will be out of print in a year, or even less.

I can see the logic behind this – but it’s still a bit frustrating for the writer – and for some of my readers, who email me to say that they enjoyed a later book in a series, but can’t get their hands on the earlier ones.

This is why I like e-books. All my sagas, which have been out of print for years, are now available as e-books, as are the first six of my DCI Woodend novels – with the rest coming out later. It’s good for the reader, too, since e-books (especially those which are few years old) are much cheaper than hard copies.   And it’s very good for anyone who is just starting writing, because now everyone can get their books very cheaply.

It doesn’t solve all the problems of course. Having a book on amazon is similar in some ways to having one in bookshop – you have make sure it’s not festering away on the back shelves, where nobody can see it, and the best way to do this is by blogging and tweeting, which is second-nature to the new generation of writers, though still part of the learning curve for us older ones.

There are still readers who prefer a physical book, of course, and they have the choice of buying books in this format (though there are some people in the trade who think that while the hardback will survive, the paperback is as good as dead).

The only losers, as far as I can see, are the bookshops, and that is a great pity, because once they’ve gone, they’re never coming back. But I’m afraid that, except in very exceptional circumstances, they will go, just as most small butchers’ and greengrocers’ shops have gone.

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  1. I love Ebooks for all the reasons you stated above, Sally. Also for some of us who cannot read the print in some paperbacks -they are a blessing . Font can be increased and now , with my lighted Kindle I can read in the dark .

  2. When I moved to Chile in the ’70s our most prized possessions and friends, were our books, they weighed a ton; if only we had ebooks at the time.

  3. Sorry to differ – but I think the e book medium is soulless – like so much in the tech driven world we live in. You can’t find somebody’s old tram ticket, filling station receipt etc. in an e book – in the s/h book market such things are indicators of provenance along with inscriptions to a by now long deceased parent, relation, partner et al. There seems to be more democracy in self publishing via this medium but judging from my ‘Look Inside’ samplings much of this is ill written and in times gone by would never have made it out of the proverbial slush pile(or perhaps even into it in some cases !) Incidentally why do readers using the Kindle write such short and unhelpful reviews on the web site of that well-known on-line purveyor of everything under the sun ? Overlap with the twitterati out there ?

    Mike

  4. Quick add-on re bookshops etc. Yes they are less thick on the ground but since my preferred local bookshop went down the tube I buy almost exclusively on line but frequently from small independent/charity traders who thrive on the various selling platforms. As for butchers/greengrocers there’s a surprising number hanging in there in small-town UK. However the real growth area is in farm shops and local farmers/artisan markets. Long may they run !

    Mike