Archive for January, 2011

A Picture of a eBook

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday i listened to a interesting interview on Simon Mayo’s Drivetime show on BBC Radio 2 with Tim Cooper, head of digital marketing at Mills and Boon, after Amazon had announced that the Kindle e-books had outsold paperbacks in the US. (see The Bookseller- Kindle sales outstrip paperbacks)

Cooper said how the advantage of digital is that once you’ve finished a book you can immediately buy another one, without a gap where you have to wait to buy a printed book and wait for the delivery.

Romantic novels have been one of the more popular genres that have sold well digitally, but maybe this is because digital allows people to buy these books discreetly and read them on e-readers which don’t display what you are reading, as some of these books can be embarrassing to be seen reading in public!

Cooper said that other publishers have reported the same sort of sales, so its just the way the customer is going, with digital changing the market.

He believes that the physical book isnt going to disappear very quickly and doubts the end of it is coming, but said that digital sales will increase anyway over the next few years.

He also says how booksellers do have the problem that print sales arent as big so they are now offering e-readers in their stores in the US to help them keep sales going.

Cooper said you need to be able to look at your content and see what can be interpreted into digital for the ever-growing digital market.

It was certainly interesting listening to what Cooper said about digital and its impact on the industry, as it is a vitally important issue to keep an eye on, as digital is here to stay and is growing in popularity and developing rapidly each day.

c. 50

Image via Wikipedia

I was just wondering the other day about the blurbs on the backs of books and how important they are.

I admit i am one of those people who picks a book by the cover if i’m just wandering round a bookstore, and then i will pick up the appealing book and flip it over to see the blurb on the back to see if the book sounds attractive too.

And OK, a lot of the time, i am given a book or forced to read it during my studies, and don’t take much notice of the blurb, or think it is awful but still read the book anyway.

I find myself wondering how many books i rejected purely because of the blurb being unappealing. And how many books i missed out on because someone wrote a bad blurb.

However, maybe we are only attracted to the books which sound like what we have read before and therefore are considered as “safe reads” in our heads? You could get quite philosophical about this compulsion which drives us to pick a certain book.

Maybe the blurb makes the plot sound really normal and unspectacular, but then wins you over by the descriptive words it uses, seducing you with romantic terms. I found this applied to the Twilight series, with the first book using phrases like “with his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts”, which appealed to me (as a fan of fantasy, and having a love of poetic description). The later books don’t seem to have such romantic terms in their blurbs so i am less attracted to them as blurbs. However, by the time i’d finished the first book and become addicted to the plot, i cared less and less about the blurbs, and preferred to just read the books without reading the blurbs, because i already trusted the quality and content of the first book, and was more inclined to carry on with the series based on the  content.

You might be sitting reading this thinking, why is she going on about blurbs? What’s the point?

Well, after studying English, i find myself over-analysing even little bits of texts, and as the author doesn’t tend to be the one who writes the blurb, i wonder just how you go about describing how good the book is, and finding the right words to describe it. It must be quite a challenge for the publisher to find the few sentences which will make the book a success, especially at the moment that a potential reader picks the book up and reads the blurb, which is the making or breaking of that book!

Maybe i will find out soon when i start my career in the publishing industry!

I also wonder if Ebooks will remove the need for blurbs…. after all, you can’t pick up a virtual book and read the back of it!

I’m interested to know what everyone else thinks about this!

I have just finished reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” after struggling with reading it for the last 2 months or so. I finally got into it a few days ago and once i was hooked, it pretty hard to put the book down!

I think it is a very good book, if a little dark at times, but then most crime novels are.  I can see why the Millennium series is so popular, it is definitely an interesting read!

Without spoiling the plot for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, the story follows Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who faces prison after losing a libel case, who is hired by the elderly Henrik Vanger, the rich CEO of a large international company, who has spent the last 40 years or so trying to discover what happened to his young niece Harriet who disappeared without a trace. Blomkvist investigates this case with little belief that they will ever find out what happened to her, but after a few important incidents, the dysfunctional Vanger family’s lives start to unravel and secrets come pouring out. Blomkvist, with the help of Lisbeth Salander, an expert hacker in her twenties and with her own troubled past, has to go through all the stories and lies to find out the truth.

It really keeps you guessing all the way through, and it is a little bit hard to follow at time, making you wonder what on earth is going on, but eventually the loose ends are all tied up and the ending is pretty good.

The characters are really well written, and Lisbeth Salander in particular brings a lot to the plot, with the theme of the novel being about the abuse of women by men. The original Swedish title of the novel was “Men who hate women”, and that certainly shows throughout the book.

Overall, for a crime novel, this is extremely well written, and although i found certain parts of the plot a little disturbing at times, it is still an excellent read, and i really recommend you try it, even if you don’t normally go for crime fiction. I am not a huge fan of crime fiction, but i always like the suspense of a mystery which you can’t wait to solve!

I give it 9/10 for originality, suspense, and a fantastic plot with great little twists and lots of great detail!