Light reading

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?

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7 thoughts on “Light reading

  1. It looks as if you are getting along well with the Kindle. I had some similar thoughts when I got one; was I speeding the demise of the printed word etc.?

    But I’ve found I use it to read more that I might otherwise do, because of the convenience aspect.

    As a somewhat digital person I do also have an iPad but the single purpose of the Kindle encourages its use in a more concentrated way – and it works in poor and very bright light and if tired it is easy to boost the font size.

    Strangely enough, I also have that newspaper subscription and it also served well when abroad recently.

    I’m sort of converted, because after the arguments about cover art and book smells, the main purpose of the book is to take one away to whatever the narrative is describing, such that the medium should almost melt away.

  2. I noticed your kindle when you blogged about packing for your recent road trip.

    “the main purpose of the book is to take one away to whatever the narrative is describing, such that the medium should almost melt away.”

    I absolutely agree on that – and though reading on my laptop makes me nauseous (the backlighting I think so I assume an iPad would be the same) I find it easier to read the kindle as the “page” is flat, and reading in bed, with my secret weapon booklight is so much better without the rustling of pages disturbing me or Ron.

    Ah, and I just noticed your book is available in kindle format. I’ve already read it but others may take that as an indy recommendation.

  3. I have become completely smitten with my e-reader (notta Kindle). The convenience–being able to tote around an entire library, having access to a huge number of old classics, the ability to learn about a new book or writer and download the book and begin reading without ever having to put on pants. It’s like a miracle for a heavy reader like me.

    • Oh YES about old classics – I’ve been squirrelling them away on my device for rainy days. I love it for that alone.

      Plus – yes for immediate downloads, no more of that vainly trying to to remember the name of the book or author when you finally put on those pants and get out to the bookshop.

      Strangely enough it’s got me back into reading again when I’d kind of fallen out of practice.

      Are there plans to release your books in e-ditions? I can only find your novel used on a certain website, and I have to admit I hate the smell of old books.

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