Hello and welcome to another Wednesday Wondering. With Christmas just five weeks today, many people will be opening up gifts and discovering a Kindle or a Kobo or one of the many other eBooks out there. In fact, my main Christmas present from my husband last year was a Kindle so my question to The Write Romantics this week is:
Book or eBook?
Ooh, potentially controversial, especially since one of us is published by a Digital First imprint and several of us have submitted to Digital First publishers in the hope of getting our novels out to the world.
Here’s our take on this subject. By the way, how to actually spell eBook seems massively open to debate. Is it ebook, Ebook, EBook, e-book or something else? It seems that different publishers and sales sites adopt different spellings so I’ve gone with my favourite (eBook) and not adjusted the text from any of The Write Romantics so you can see how we all differ!
Ebooks, I was quite startled by ebooks at first thinking ‘No, not more technology to handle,’ but as soon as I got an iPad I set up an account with Amazon and have read far, far more books than I ever did before. I did read but it was such a faff remembering the title of the book you wanted, going into the bookshop (which was miles away) ordering the thing, going back to pick it up weeks later etc. Now as they say, a click of a button and it’s yours. I would never buy a book over an ebook now as I’ve never been very precious about books, although I still have my ‘Elsa and the Seven Swans’ book which was the first book I remember being given, and a small collection of the original Fairy books by Cicely Mary Barker which I love. I have got a Kindle but because I go everywhere with my iPad I tend to use that more. In fact I blame my ‘Tennis Elbow’ on holding my iPad in bed reading for too long. Ooh that sounds like a good excuse to get an iPad Air, doesn’t it- so much lighter – or an iPad mini- or both, just in case!
E-books, dare I confess this? I think I should because they say confession is good for your soul.
I was very late to the e-book thing. My kids have wanted to buy me a Kindle for Christmas for the last couple of years and I’ve always said ‘No thank you, I don’t want one. I prefer a paperback.’ However shame on me I finally succumbed this year and got one for my birthday and I absoloutley love it. It’s so portable, convenient and brilliant. I still love paperbacks but I’m glad I finally discovered how amazing e-readers are.
I am a die hard paper-back girl and have been resisting the lure of the e-book with a degree of passion that it probably doesn’t deserve! I love the look, the feel, even the smell of ‘real’ books. I’m old school like that, though, I still like to hold a CD in my hand, rather than downloading music – even if it costs me twice as much. However, I’ve recently had the start of a conversion, or at least began to accept that there might be room for both mediums in my life. This epiphany came about as a result of wanting desperately to read Helen Phifer’s brilliant book, The Ghost House, which for now is available exclusively on e-platforms. I enjoyed the e-book experience much more than I expected, which was at least in part down to how great my first experience was because Helen’s book is superb. It’s made me see the benefit of e-books, though, and I can see me doing at least some of my reading that way; particularly as I hope to secure an e-book publishing deal of my own some time before I totter off to the great bookshop in the sky! I’ll always love ‘real’ books the most and dream of having one of those with my name on it, too. After all, there’s nothing like a bubble bath, a glass of wine and a good book – without the risk of electrocution thrown in 🙂
I’m a great fan of the ebook! It’s like an iPod for books and I love the thought that I’ve got loads to read all neat in my pocket. That way if I break down and the AA person takes ages to arrive it won’t matter. Also, my husband is under the impression that I have too many books (there’s no such thing!) and keeps tidying up my little creative piles of books that I keep about so when I want to read about cooking, or history, or Thomas Hardy or whatever, my choices are all in one place. They do make a handsome pile with their gorgeous covers and well-worn pages and ebooks can’t compete with that.
Nor can an ebook ever duplicate the beauty of a brand new, unopened hardback. I bought myself ‘Burial Rites’ on special offer from Foyles recently in hard back. It looks glorious in its handsome dust jacket embellished with a line drawing, the outer pages of the book tinted navy. It’s an artistic treasure ebooks can’t duplicate.
Ebooks can’t substitute real books at the other end of the market either, the 10p bargain from a jumble sale or boot fair. I’ve a fair few of those on my shelves and have found some treasures that way. Even my frugal budget will allow me to try a new author, or a genre that I’m not familiar with.
So I guess what I’m saying is I love ebooks, but not just ebooks. I think ebooks are here for good, but they add to, rather than displace my paper books and I don’t see any change in that, I wouldn’t want any change in that.
To be honest I resisted for a long time. I love to hold the book, turn the pages and do things like, see how many pages are left in the chapter. I never peek at the ending though!
Then I relented and my lovely new kindle touch arrived. I was amazed at how easy it was to download books and so very instant. ‘Try this book’ a friend might say and within seconds it’s there, waiting to be read. This can be expensive if you have very little self-control, so be warned!
Now as I read I can see at the bottom of the page how long I have left in the chapter or book and it’s so easy to take anywhere, just slip it in my handbag and I can read to my heart’s content.
I also send documents to my kindle, most especially my latest piece of writing. It gives me a new perspective on it, by reading it on the kindle. Notes can be made on anything I’d like to change which is a real bonus.
I most certainly have embraced this new technology, but I did put up a fight!
I asked for a Kindle for Christmas a couple of years ago because it seemed a neat little gadget to own. It was also the time when I was thinking about self-publishing so I needed one for that anyway so that I could see the end result. The e-book for me is a convenience. It’s often cheaper than its paper counterpart, although I have to stop myself downloading free or cheap books just because they are free or cheap when I’ve got no great desire to read them. Many of the classics are free to download and that I must say is useful if I only want to dip in or use one for reference. I like the way you can increase the font size of an ebook and it doesn’t snap shut if you’re reading while you eat. I’ve usually got a little backlog of books waiting to be read on the Kindle and tend to read one of those to two or three real books because overall I find the reading experience with a real book more enjoyable. I love book covers, the feel of books, and seeing them lined up on my bookshelves, and of course you can pass them on to other people. So for me it’s the book over the ebook every time, but the amazing publishing opportunities via ebooks can’t be ignored and I have much to be grateful for in that respect!
I was a late starter with ebooks. Once I got my iPad I downloaded a few when I found that I’d run out of things to read. I then won a Kindle at the Romance Writers of Australia online conference and now I’m happy to download onto that, although my preference still lies with physical books as there’s nothing like breaking that spine with the promise of a new world to leap into.
This weekend I’m off to Coffs Harbour and have already lined up three physical books to take with me. (This could be a little hopeful seeing as I’ll have a hubby and 2 kids in tow!) I think I’ll always keep buying physical books. When Borders shut down I really missed the store so now I’ll buy from a bargain bookshop or from Dymocks in Chatswood near where we live, or I’ll order from the book depository. Believe it or not, sometimes if the titles are old, then it’s the same price or even cheaper to get the paperback version, and there’s nothing quite like looking at a shelf full of books that I love.
When eBooks first came out, I was an instant hater of the concept. Why? A combination of reasons. I have no patience when it comes to learning new technology (I hate reading instructions and like someone to show me instead), I love looking at shelves packed with books and, as I writer, my dream is to become published and hold a physical book in my hand. In fact, if I’m really honest, it’s to go into my local branch of Waterstones or WH Smith and have photos taken of me pointing to a pile of my books as they climb the bestseller list. Well, we have to have these little fantasies to keep us sane as the rejection letters roll in, don’t we?!
Anyway, I was a most ardent protestor. I actually felt quite offended when my sister in law bought one for her husband for Christmas but, at a family gathering, he cornered me and spoke of some of the great benefits of his Kindle. He’s a bus driver and would often have short stints between rounds. They weren’t long enough to get a paper out and even a book was a faff. Plus, if he knew he was close to the end of a book, he had to be prepared with a 2nd one which took up a lot of room. His Kindle solved all that. Plus, think about that weight and space saving if going on holiday! I’d been commuting to work by a combination of bus/train/bus at the time and I could certainly relate to the two-book scenario as well as avoiding reading certain books (think the last Harry Potter or Penny Vincenzi) because they were way too thick to fit in my handbag.
To my husband’s surprise, I succumbed last Christmas. Unable to think of anything I wanted, I reluctantly relented and said he could get me a Kindle … as long as I could have a nice purple case for it! My Kindle Paperwhite arrived. As did my purple case. And I love it! I absolutely love it. Why? Because I nearly always have it with me. That moment when I’m too early for the hairdresser or the school pick-up, out it comes. For some reason, I read faster on my Kindle and I definitely read more books than before. I’ve also discovered new writers. I’d become pretty fixed in my authors of choice, straying only occasionally when paying full price for books but free or cheap debuts, for example, have led to me discovering some gems.
The only downside for me is the price of new books by my favourite writers like Jill Mansell, Lisa Jewell and Sophie Kinsella. Typically they’re the same price or just £1 or so less than a book. I object to paying it. I’d rather own the book. I also much prefer the idea of having “How To” books in paperback format because I like to highlight really interesting learnings. (I know I can do this on my Kindle but it’s not the same as flicking through a paperback for the bright yellow section!) I have a huge physical TBR pile and I don’t think I’ll ever stop buying books but I do love my Kindle and, because of this, I’m really excited about the idea of being published through a Digital First imprint (please pick me!) whereas a few years back, I’d have baulked at the idea!
There seems to be a common theme of rejection then reluctant acceptance … then love of eBooks amongst us.
What do you think? Have you become a complete convert, a half and half or are you still shunning the eBook? As you can see from the photos, my cat Felix favours the eBook but Beckett the Bear is drawn to paperbacks still. Probably because he lives on the shelves with them!
We’d love to hear your views.