|Holiday reading BK: Before Kindle|
Today I’m celebrating the selfless, though arduous, spreading of glorious stories, specifically in the world of ebooks.
One of the joys and benefits of e-readers is they can hold a shedload of books without breaking your back, no matter how hefty the (original) tome or how massive the oeuvre of the chosen author. Many don’t break the bank either. Most of us, when stocking our new Kindle or whatevs, after snaffling some hot new titles, check out the old faves, and discover to our delight that you can snag all the world of literature going way back to Tudor times and before, often for prices that seem as historic as the books - or even free! Ominibus versions, or Complete Works, are
available, and so much easier to wrangle than their dead tree equivalents, so easy to navigate too with active contents links and so on, and they take up no more space on your Home page list/shelf than a short story.
|'I can't even SEE these prices, Watson! Pass the cocaine!'|
Look at these bargains, current now - many were free a while back and still occasionally are: Charles Dickens, the Complete Works with illustrations, £1.83! Jane Austen’s ditto, 77p! And her individual novels are free. The Bronte Sisters complete novels, in one dollop of Yorkshire mopery and domestic violence, a mere 61p! I’ve just bought the Complete Works of Beatrix Potter, with all the illustrations, for 49p, a bargain that canny businesswoman, brilliant artist, scientist and public benefactor would appreciate. Sherlock Holmes, well you can have him illustrated and complete in your pocket for another 49p: that’s all the crimes of attempted rabbit murder, mouse house-invasion, baby bunny kidnap, and worse, together with the exploits of the greatest sleuth in the world for less than a quid! Phew.
|'I am in want of my royalties, asap!'|
So what, you may say. These books are out of copyright, it’s not like Charlie D and Janie A are drumming their fingers waiting for royalty cheques. Why should they cost much, if anything? But pause to consider, o reader, or should I say e reader, what is involved in bringing these classics of the past to your entranced gaze.
|OK give me a break, it's new but it's mine!|
I have some experience of Kindling my books, as I have the electronic rights. My new crime thriller THE OPERATOR came out on Kindle first, and I was able to format from a nice new Word doc. My previous crime novel, THE ROTTING SPOT, was already out in paperback, and as I’d made many changes during the editing/typesetting process, I was left with the typeset pdf files which of course I couldn’t change or edit. I had to convert pdf to Word, which turned into a soup of mingled words, page numbers and headings, then strip out all formatting, and start again. A baptism of fire, as it was the first book I put on Kindle. But what if all you have is yer actual physical book, a weighty dusty leather-bound volume of doorstep proportions and teeny crabbed print?
|But it's so exciting dammit!!!!!!!!!!!!|
They may have found quicker ways of doing this by now, but at least up to a couple of years ago it involved scanning in each page which gives jpegs, photographs of pages which no computer would recognise as words and sentences. Then applying special software can convert jpegs to text files - a laborious process. Then the formatting, all through all that mangled text. The software can get it wrong, interpreting a word as something that looks like it but means something else, and all that would have to be fixed with reference to the original text. A huge task! Even just the scanning, imagine that, page by page, for all of Dickens or Shakespeare! The formatting, going through every damn word and character and space! Come on folks, that’s worth a few exclamation marks!!
So we have the Complete Father Brown stories, for either 77p or 49p (for there are multiple versions of these classics, and all those I’ve seen have been of superb quality too). R Austen Freeman’s ‘Dr Thorndyke’, the original CSI chappie, all 27 tales for 61p. E F Benson’s Complete Lucia Victrix compendium, 77p, or even less for Megapacks of his stories and novels, and so on.
In fact, in this harsh world which sometimes seems to be run by cruel money-grubbing gits, there are people, for little return though they deserve plenty, who have gone through all that painstaking time-consuming labour, so that new generations of readers can enjoy the classics on their phones, tablets, laptops and ereaders. I think that’s well worth celebrating with a big THANK YOU!
And thank you too, to the lovely lady who was kind enough to come to my book launch on Monday, and told me she knew about the event from reading this blog - we are all delighted to know you are out there!
My website is HERE
with info about all my books, gigs, and other stuff I do.
Follow me on Twitter
Find me on Facebook
Find THE OPERATOR (Bruce and Bennett Crime Thriller 2) on Kindle here UK US INDIA
And my Kindle is also full of classics - so I never run out of books when I'm away!
And I downloaded one of those Sherlock Holmes compendiums for some ridiculous price of under a quid. Somehow, I'd never read them before. Thoroughly enjoyed having all my miscomprehensions corrected, and seeing how true to the spirit of the original the modern TV series really was. All the original illustrations too. More than a bargain - a steal! Thank you to the Anon who formatted it. Must have been for love.
And sorry, they are NOT free. You can get some great free out of copyright works but equally (as I found) some authors work has been so mangled by the scanning process that it's virtually unreadable... that's what started me on the labour of love (and yes Sue, it really is a labour of love because with Amazon taking 65% there's never going to be any money in it) but soon, all too soon, people will be able to read the works of S.R.Crockett in a format that would not make the author blush. Want to know more? www.aytonpublishing.co.uk and www.gallowayraiders.co.uk will give more information
Apologies Valerie for the merciless plug, but the post does seem rather relevant to my mammoth work!
If you're taking your hat off to Sue for the Sterkams... I should be getting a medal or something shouldn't I? I'll settle for getting some readers. S.R.Crockett was as popular as Dickens in his day and has worn just as well.
Here is the link http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page