Ladies and gentlemen, I have a kindle.
I know what you’re thinking:
I don’t own a digital camera.
The iPod has passed me by completely.
My mobile phone so unsmart it has never even heard of wifi.
So why on earth would I want to take part in the digital book phenomenon?
Let me tell you this, though I can’t really claim it to be an answer – rather than let it be an instrument of destruction for the printed word, I am hoping to to a little good with my device.
Instead of given myself eye strain by reading news free online I’ve taken out a subscription to a certain left-leaning newspaper. So these days my morning paper is delivered wirelessly as I make coffee and I can find out what the world is up to when I wake up, instead of who is asking me to tend their sheep in farmville, or who needs murdering for playing mafia wars. I know my tenner a month won’t save the right thinking press from financial bankruptcy, but it’s a tenner more than I used to pay.
And though have a stack of paper books on my shelves waiting to be read, I’m enjoying getting to grips with some indy titles penned by writer friends and acquaintances. I’ll tell the truth, I probably wouldn’t have bought them in paper – too much cash to splash out on a genre I didn’t think I’d like. But the low costs of indy ebooks means that I’m able to take a chance on some new authors, and support them in a small way. And I’m enjoying them too. New writing, new writers, and reading in a new way.
This has been the summer of the ebook, and the BBC has aired some fascinating interviews by parties with different axes to grind.
Some of them long to keep hold of the book for its bookishness and insist that textbooks will thrive in eform but can’t see a future there for the novel.
Others believe that fiction will find a home there but fact (especially illustrated or photographed fact) not so.
One author claims that new writers will give up in disgust at pitiful earnings, another insists it’s an opportunity to experiment with digital fiction.
You can find this rich diversity of opinion here.
Whatever happens, though the demise of the novel is forecast by some I suspect that fiction is here to stay. Whether you read it online, in print, on a reader or listen to an audio book, why not try a new author today?