Tuesday, 8 July 2014

5 things the eBook revolution has done for me as a reader - Lynne Garner

          In my previous post 'Self-publishing V's Traditional Publishing' it was highlighted that most of the blog posts on this site are written from the writers point of view.
          Well let's be honest they would be, we're all writers. It was suggested that perhaps a blog post about what the eBook revolution has done for the reader might be of interest. So as I'm running behind schedule on my personal book project (so don't have anything to share about that at the moment) and my other possible project I'm not allowed to talk about, I found I didn't have anything to write about. So I decided to put my readers hat on and talk about what the eBook revolution has done for me the reader.

          So here goes:

One: 

It's meant I can download books, often for very little outlay therefore saving me money.

Two:

I can pack an entire library in my bag and take it where ever I go.

Three:

The money I've save (as highlighted in point one) means I'm more willing to be open minded and download something I'd not normally have taken a chance on.

Four:

I'm able to locate copies of books I would never normally be able to get hold of. For example the personal book project I'm working on at the moment means a lot of reading. Many of the books I've needed are no longer in print. Thankfully such sites as Forgotten BooksProject Gutenberg and Internet Archive have allowed me to download old and rare books that my library would not stock and I could never afford to purchase.

Five:

The eBook publishing revolution has meant (based on my own experience as a writer) that there are now published books that would never have seen the light of day because they are (for a large publisher) not commercially viable. Therefore giving me more choice.


So as a reader what do you think the eBook revolution has done for you?

Regards

Lynne

My eCourses starting 2nd August:
How To Write A Picture Book And Get Published
5 Picture Books In 5 Weeks
How To Write A Hobby-based How To Book 

14 comments:

madwippitt said...

How very tantalising and secretive! Good luck with your writing projects - looking forward to hearing more about them in due course ... :-)
Ditto 1-5 ... plus another - I now have a HUGE backlog of reading on my Kindle - both downloaded books and samples I don't dare delete because I want to read the books at some point and leaving them on reminds me of what they are. So apart from saves me from feeling panicky about not having a book to read on hand, it means I don't have a lot of Post-It notes wandering loose around the house!

Lee said...

Thanks for this, Lynne. I hope Dan clocks in, because he has some interesting views on the subject.

I often ask myself not so much why people read ebooks, but rather why they bother with self-published ones when there's so much fiction already available from legacy publishers. Out-of-print stuff from a favourite writer - sure. But otherwise? We need to think about these uncomfortable questions.

Lee said...

Just a quick point: more of a choice? or for the most part more of the same?

Kathleen Jones said...

My heart leapt when I read your post Lynne! As a reader my life has been revolutionised by e-readers. I can take my library wherever I go (and my carbon footprint is disgraceful), I live in Project Gutenberg - particularly when doing research for a book, and I read lots of experimental literary fiction that would never make it in the current trade publishing environment. Sometimes it's cheap (Gutenberg is free), but some of the trade publishers charge exorbitant fees for their books. When I'm paying less than £2 for a book I'm comforted by the fact that authors selling their own work get more from me than through the TP sales. Poetry, essays, novels, out-of-print - I'm loving it!!!

Chris Longmuir said...

I doubt if readers are aware of the publisher when they buy a book. When last did you go to Amazon or a bookstore to buy a Simon and Schuster book or a Penguin one or a MacMillan one. A reader is more inclined to buy books written by a favourite author rather than one published by a 'favourite' publisher. And with so many midlist authors who have been dumped by their publishers the number of quality self-published books is growing.

Good post Lynne.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Excellent post. And I agree with Chris on this one. Not sure they are uncomfortable questions. Just questions to which we have interesting answers. The fiction already available from 'legacy' publishers, but much more specifially the Big Five, with their corporate masters, had become somewhat pedestrian, unoriginal. Whatever you think about self published books, good, bad and everything in between, doesn't change that. I remember meeting a friend who lectures in Scottish literature in Borders a few years ago, and he said sadly 'do YOU look around and find nothing much you really want to read in here?' and I couldn't help but agree. We were both bemused because it was so full of glossy and highly recommended books! Once you try to make your books (and writers) conform to a set of constraints in order to make them into best sellers - not just sellers, but blockbuster best-sellers - you're doomed to blandness.
It's like the oft quoted observation that a group like the Beatles or a singer like Dylan would never make it on the X-Factor. Would never have been signed with a major label either over the past twenty years. But now at least they would have the indie option, even though there is a lot of music out there. And there are some stunning indie music successes. It's the same with theatre. The really cutting- edge, exciting stuff is done by people 'doing it for themselves' on a profit share basis. There may be a lot of not terribly competent theatre out there as well, but who's to say that people shouldn't enjoy themselves doing it and watching it? Not me, for sure. And there's also amazing experimental work that doesn't have to be sanctioned by the gatekeepers. Over the past few years,I've read some excellent novels and stories published not just by individuals but by a variety of smaller independent publishers. Are they 'legacy' or indie? I don't know and I don't really care. I hardly ever notice who has published anything. Few people do. That's why the Big Five would love it if Amazon would segregate them from the rest of us! What I do know is that some of the most interesting books aren't published by the Big Five and they and their publishers seem to be willing to take risks. It isn't a divide any longer. It's a continuum and I love it. But it's easy to see how the multi millionaire brands feel threatened.

Nick Green said...

I've read more since I got my Kindle. Having young kids put a serious damper on my reading time - you always get interrupted. But you can read a Kindle easily with one hand, so you can eat and read, and also slip it in your pocket (if you're wearing combats) and carry it around the house on the off-chance that a free moment might arise.

People talk about missing the smell of paper books, but let me tell you, you don't miss that smell if you've spent any time in a house with masses of bookshelves in a country where the humidity is around 90 per cent all summer long. :-)

madwippitt said...

Lee ... er ... could it possibly be because there is some excellent stuff out there by self-published writers? Not all ebooks are rubbish: not all paper editions are great. Or even good.

Bill Kirton said...

Excellent post and stimulating comments. I still have 'real book' nostalgia but I agree with everything you say, Lynne. In the end, though, I'm not sure whether I read more or less than before ebooks appeared. I used to try to control my TBR list simply by measuring the actual height of the pile and reacting accordingly; now it must be several metres high but it's invisible.

Katherine Roberts said...

I have come to appreciate paper books more... also charity shops, for bringing us the paper books publishers can no longer afford to publish! But I love ebooks for research. They are so much cheaper and easier to track down than when we had to toil around secondhand shops and libraries searching for obscure tomes but never finding quite the right one.

Also, for people with limited storage space, it's great to be able to keep so many books on a Kindle that can be carried in a handbag... it's like owning a portable library.

But self-publishing does not mean just ebooks... plenty of self publishers produce print copies too. And some trade publishers now have lists that are ebook only. The boundaries are becoming blurred.

(PS loving the new look blog, by the way. Just not sure why you sell clothes and shoes...)

Lee said...

Just to add something else to the mix: I was recently talking to an acquaintance's 14-year-old daughter, who had been reading on her smartphone during most of the evening. When I asked where she got her books, she told me Wattpad: 'lots of good stories for free'. Apparently, a good number of her classmates go there, also because they can easily access stuff in English.

I like to ask non-writers, and people who don't have a vested interest in self-publishing, about their experiences.

Lee said...

Madwippett, of course there's some good self-published stuff. Have I said otherwise? (Don't forget, I'm a dedicated self-publisher and will continue to remain so.) But the thing is, there's an awful lot of rubbish - and experimental doesn't necessarily mean good, either - so how do I find the books worth reading when there's so much I want to read and reread before I die? And no, I don't trust reviews by other self-publishers. or at least not entirely. I need at least halfway independent reviews, whether in conventional sources or from readers/reviewers/bloggers whose judgement I trust.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

But do you really think that reviews in newspapers and magazines are independent? Reviewers ask to review books. They send in lists. Editors choose and send out books to their reviewers. Publishing companies send out review copies 'in house' to fellow authors and it's a brave author who will slate a known name from the same stable. How do you know that the reviews you are reading are by other self publishers? Many readers like to review. Personally speaking, I'm reading more than ever and most of it comes from personal recommendation or from Amazon 'also boughts'. I've found excellent new-to-me writers that way, both indie and trad published.

Lydia Bennet said...

You can BUY the scent of books, Demeter make 'Paperback' and there are others, so you can spray your kindle or put some behind your lugs! Ebooks have boosted my reading and reading pleasure immensely. I can't carry much weight about on my travels due to my disability, but now I can carry thousands of books on my Kindle. I've reread old favourite books, discovered new ones while browsing or from recommendations... I love the ability to highlight passages and make notes if I'm researching something, and to 'find' words in a book. As for reviews, the old school literary world was quite a small one and breathless praise was often heaped on the books of friends - no doubt still is. You can't tell if any of them are independent. Also it's hard to tell if a book is self-published, lots of people are setting up their own publishing house to publish their own books and it's not easy to tell unless you can be bothered to do in depth research, which most of us won't - who cares who the publisher is? With Amazon you can 'look inside' and if a book is a mess you can tell pretty much straight away, or return it.