Ebook Wars

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that my countrymen are stuck in a rut, particularly when it comes to the question of books. Judging by sales figures it would seem that the English perceive ebooks to be nothing more than yet another passing fad from across the pond in the good old US of A. 
To the reading public of the UK, convention still dictates that a book can’t possibly exist unless it is made of paper, cost lots of money to produce, take years to appear on the book shelves, and is sold for an exorbitant amount. Plus, unless the writer of said book is lauded and fawned over by the media, how can they possibly be taken seriously as a writer, let alone exist?
I was recently told by a fellow writer and good friend of mine who lives in Europe that while discussing ebooks with a French neighbour of his recently, the neighbour floored him by asking, “how do you turn the pages?” When my friend offered to show his Kindle to his clearly out of touch neighbour, plus how it worked, the neighbour declined.
For all my fellow Englishmen and those across the channel who are of a similar stubborn, out of touch frame of mind regarding the electronic book format, here are a few pointers:
Ebooks are environment friendly. No tree is ever murdered in their manufacture, nor do they cost megabucks to produce. It only takes a few hours for the book to appear ready for download as opposed to a conventional paperback which can take a year. An ebook is an electronic computer file. They take up practically no space whatsoever on any hard drive, meaning you don’t have to file them away on dusty shelves, destined never to be opened again once you have read them.
If you don’t have a Kindle or some other ebook reader handy, you can store them on your desk top computer or lap top, accessing them via a totally free Kindle for PC/Mac application or similar.
Guess what – ebooks won’t break your budget either. There are an enormous number of ebooks available for less than £2.00 these days. The best part is you don’t have to specifically make a trip into town to visit the shelves of your nearest book shop. If you have a computer, all you need to do is find the book you want on whatever online book outlet you use, click on it after paying for it, and wait while it instantly downloads to your computer, smart phone, tablet or ereader within a minute!
Come on UK. If the Germans can happily embrace ebooks, surely it’s good enough for us. Currently, they are the second largest market for ebooks after the USA.
For god’s sake get your heads out of your backsides and enter the twenty-first century. I know it’s not easy, but please try. You never know, you may actually find you like the idea of having your personal library at your fingertips, especially if you are one of the thousands who commute back and forth to work each day by public transport.
Ebooks aren’t the spawn of the devil people, despite what most major publishing houses would have you believe! They are merely the electronic age’s most convenient way to read that book you always wanted to lose yourself in for a few hours.

17 thoughts on “Ebook Wars

  1. Your observations on the ebook made me laugh Jack.When I developed lymph edema, the ebook was a Godsend. Not able to hold anything over two ounces for months would have put me out of my favorite pastime, reading, if not for this handy-dandy invention – by no means a spawn of the underworld.There has been a shift in the publishing world – one as a writer and especially as a reader I fully embrace. When Mandy The Alpha Dog was released in print, I asked my publisher to also release it in e form – they said they were not ready to do that, so the book languished for over two years and when finally released they decided to keep it at the high price of the printed book.I have subsequently gone rogue and am producing the rest of my series myself, first in ebook ARC form for my young readers to comment and critique and am now ready to publish several in the series in electronic and printed form.I've worked in a library system and this to me is just another form of a book to allow our readers to enjoy.

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  2. My wife point blank refused to read ebooks for a long while. Must have been her Francophone stubborn side at work. Until I bought her a Kindle, which then happily sat motionless on her bedside table for a few weeks gathering dust. Then for some reason, she picked it up one day and said, 'Oh well, let's have a look at this silly thing.'That was a year ago. Now she only reads on Kindle, only buys ebooks from Amazon, and only takes her Kindle with her when she travels. Most people who are reluctant to embrace ebook reading have never even tried it. So what would they know?

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  3. Good post Jack…I love the fact that ‘no trees are harmed’ in producing an ebook. Moreover, libraries need to get on board with this new technology; it could stop the closure of many in the long run. Just think, they won’t need to stock physical books anymore, just the means to download the digital file for their members in much the same way Amazon does with their Prime service. Maybe even lend ebook readers for a small fee. The possibilities are endless and think of the space they’ll save along with all those beautiful trees. Carol x

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  4. If it's any consolation, Jack, Amazon recently announced that they now sell more ebooks than paper in the UK. You have some extremely vocal holdouts, but the tide has turned.The comet has entered the atmosphere and all the dinosaurs are looking up at it. 'Wonder what the red thingy is. Whatever it is, I don't like it…'

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  5. How many of the vocal opponents of the new format still buy vinyl music? Or wax cylinders? Do you ever see them on the tube with a wind up victrola? No.A surprisingly large number of them use MP3 players or live streaming. Why don't they make the connection when it comes to books?I think a lot of them think paper is the only real format. I think if someone like Chaucer was alive today, he'd have his work in Kindle singles so fast it would make your trewes fall off.Of course, he'd run into trouble with some of the stories. I seem to recall someone with a hot poker in a rather tender location. Then again, maybe Canterbury Tales would have been the next 50 Shades…

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  6. I'm wondering if the reluctance the 'traditional' reader seems to have with an ebook, is that they can't work out how to physically bend the corner of the page over to mark where they got up to Pri lol 🙂

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  7. Chaucer undoubtedly had a knack for making Middle English sing, but you have to admit, his work would have been just the thing for Kindle. A collection of stories in a series? Theivery, sex, violence and general human frailty are what the reader wants and he did a fantastic job by the standards of any era. If he were publishing today, EL James might not have been so popular.

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