Six reasons why e-books are not the enemy
By Cath Bore
The e-reader vs physical book debate, it stretches out like a tiresome yawn, a never ending battle. Shelfies – photographs of full bookshelves (yeah, I know…) are presented on social media to hand stinging applause from book fans, and Books Are My Bag totes paraded about, bright orange logo on white. Both underline the lust for the physical book. And that’s good; brilliant, in fact. The printed word reads ace on paper and looks even better. A book in the hand just feels…right. But me, most of the time, I slip my lowly Kindle – a quiet little machine – into my handbag, and go. It doesn’t toot any horns, or have parade of dancing girls to accompany it. (Shhh, don’t mention any of this to your own Kindle; it’ll only want all this and more.)
Anyway, I’ve come up with five reasons why e-readers are cool.
1. You can carry hundreds of books on the one device. No longer will your arm be ripped out of your shoulder if on holiday or travelling back home for the weekend with reading for uni. Even text books are on e-reader now. And anthologies of short stories and prose have become so popular during the e-publishing revolution; there’s so many stories in single publications it’s delicious.
The Spider Project in Birkenhead which helps those with mental health or alcohol/drug problems, recently launched a fabulous anthology of 99 word stories called Ninety Nine to raise money and awareness. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/NINETY-NINE-Spider-Project-ebook/dp/B015JCJ07C/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1444745712&sr=1-1
2. They give a new lease of life to disabled and elderly readers. E-readers have functions to swell the size of lettering and provide back lighting, making books easier to read for everyone. Pages are turned over by a quiet tap of the finger. So many older readers who thought the world of reading was lost to them now have that very beautiful gift back.
Our very own The Reader Organisation based at Calderstones Mansion runs reading projects for the elderly and marginalised groups as well as children. More information: http://www.thereader.org.uk/
3. Self-publishing. New and emerging authors or mid-list authors out of contract have the opportunity to self-publish, typically via Kindle. Best-selling authors like Mel Sherratt and Talli Rowland kicked off their careers via self-publishing before moving on to mainstream and traditionally published success.
Liverpool author Rona V Flynn wrote her first novel Star’s Awakening and self-published on Kindle. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stars-Awakening-Lightkeepers-Book-1-ebook/dp/B010NN6VGK/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1444745132&sr=8-1 It is also available as a physical book at Write Blend in Waterloo.
4. You can buy an e-book in seconds. My bookshop friends will recoil in horror at this, I know. But e-books are not the enemy (see 6). You can love both. My monogamy is with the written word, not the way it’s presented. You can buy books digitally and from bookshops. It’s not an exclusive arrangement. It doesn’t have to be a competition.
Indie Authors Merseyside are proof if it were ever needed that self-published authors are nothing to be scared of (as long as you don’t feed them after midnight, you must never do that – promise me). Join them here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1383020855350923/
5. E-books are great for different genres of fiction, not just novels. Flash fiction – very short stories, straight to the point, no messing about – has flourished during the e-reader revolution.
The Poised Pen writing group have launched their annual flash fiction (and poetry) competition, Another Place themed. The winning entries will be published in a charity anthology in e-book and physical format. More details here: http://thepoisedpen.co.uk/competitions
6. And finally – the written word won’t die just because it’s digital. Books will never cease to be. Authors will always write them, readers will always buy them. Both are pretty much a safe bet.
There are writers groups all over Merseyside. Many libraries have them. North End Writers http://www.northendwriters.com/ run workshops and events promoting reading and writing in their local area.