Posts Tagged ‘Digital’

I recently read this article on the Publishing Perspectives website called “What would happen if Amazon gave every Ebook away for free?”, and it was a thought-provoking read!

Last week, China’s answers to Amazon, Jingding and Dangdang, both gave away around 50,000 ebooks away in celebration of the upcoming World Book Day.

“The giveaway, which the ebooksellers said was being done to help promote commercial ebooks and raise reader awareness, has been criticized by publishers and authors alike. Zhao Chen, from People’s Literature Publishing House, told Beijing News that giving so many books away would “bring harm” to publishers, while Zhang Hongbo, secretary-general of the China Written Works Copyright Society, called the promotion “sloppy,” particularly if the companies had not sought permission of the publishers beforehand (a spokesperson from Dangdang would neither confirm nor deny whether the company had contacted publishers, though said the site would honor requests to stop offering a title if specific complaints were made).”

If Amazon was to do the same thing, it is suggested that people would simply download as many free ebooks to their reading devices as possible and then would be less eager to buy books either in print or ebook form.

The article closes with: “It is, if anything, likely to reinforce the idea that books should be free.

[For the whole article, see What Would Happen If Amazon Gave Every Ebook Away For Free? - Publishing Perspectives]

I think it is probably correct that people would take advantage of the offer and download as many ebooks as they could while they can. This raises a few concerns for me:

  1. I personally like free ebooks when they are on offer, and i will download the classics for free anyway as their authors are long deceased. But if i download too many, the odds are that even i won’t get through them all very quickly. It won’t stop me buying more books in the future, but in all fairness, it never feels like i actually own the ebooks, after all, Amazon could pull the plug and steal back the digital copies quite easily i’m sure.
  2. It isn’t fair to the authors who put so much hard work and time into their books, and ultimately get paid through royalties, which are non-existent for every free book that is “sold”. This makes a poor return for all that work.
  3. Similarly, it isn’t fair to the publishers who have spent a long time editing and producing the book, not to mention all the time spent working out costings and seeing if it would make money if published and the long marketing campaigns used for it.
  4. If these books were free, then people might demand that everyone else should make their books free as well. Print books would go into decline and bookshops would disappear completely from our streets.
  5. Online companies would be more popular, however they would lose out on profits if the books they “sold” were free.
  6. Sellers of reading devices and smartphones with reading apps would make a lot of money very quickly through increased sales due to demand so customers can download and read the free ebooks. We’d all be slaves to machines. Where’s the fun in that?
  7. It will be a sad day for me when all my books are only available as ebooks and end up as a list of files on my Kindle. I like having a mixture of print and ebooks, mainly for when i’m unable to charge up my Kindle or if it’s raining, or if the print book comes out first and i’m desperate to read it without waiting for the ebook! See, even though i have a Kindle and it saves physical space on my shelves, i still prefer print books!

So, there you go, my opinions and speculations on this topic. It seems horribly dystopian if you think about it!

What do you think?

I have been reading “The Book of Lost Souls” by Michelle Muto. It’s quite good, and easy to read if you want a fast read.

The Book of Lost Souls - Michelle Muto (via Amazon)

I wasn’t sure at first when it started describing how the protagonist, Ivy, is a witch and is friends with vampires and werewolves, felt a little bit Twilight-y there, and then we get the added bonus of demons, trolls and zombies, and so it’s a full house of supernatural creatures!

The plot is quite good, although it felt a little tame, but then it seems to be for a younger age group. It reminded me a little bit of the “Wicca” series by Cate Tiernan with the whole witch-trying-to-prove-she’s-not-evil-like-her-black-magic-abusing-father. The father is a very mysterious guy and although we don’t know all the details of what happened before he disappeared, despite him not being there his influence is felt as Ivy tries to fight her feelings for the son of her father’s friend and tries to convince everyone that she is nothing like her father.

Ivy has some problems to sort out after turning a lizard into a Halloween party date, especially when everyone thinks she’s abusing her powers. She is very aware of what others may or may not be thinking of her, and she tries so hard to fit in, or rather just be invisible. Her best friends keep her on the straight and narrow as much as they can, and they know her so well that they know Ivy better than she knows herself at times. Ivy seems to argue with herself, constantly questioning her motives and feelings, and i felt that i could relate to her character fairly well.

It’s a good story of friendships, love and loyalty, but the strange happenings which occur throughout the book test Ivy and her friends. The supernatural element is quite nice as it is more true to the original traits, with no vampires trying to be sparkly or ‘vegetarian’ (Twilight), although toned down as it’s for a young audience.

I enjoyed the story and it is quite gripping with the ressurrection of two very evil historical criminals which cause havoc in the town when Ivy and her friends live. It’s a typical supernatural story where teenager and friends fight evil and ignore advice of the grownups and make mistakes, like Buffy, like Harry Potter, bit like Twilight (although Bella is a human with no powers).

I’ll give it 7/10 as it is a good read, written well and the characters are believable. I recommend it to any teenagers and fans of the supernatual, although if you’re older than that like me, then maybe you won’t feel it is the best book for you. Nevertheless, it is a good read, and i want to know a bit more about the characters!

Note: I read this on my Kindle, as it was free for a limited time on Amazon! (BTW, I’m not a cheapskate, it’s just nice to have some free every now and then!)

I have been reading Grimm’s Fairy Stories on my Kindle and really enjoyed re-reading stories from my childhood!

Grimm's Fairy Stories - Brothers Grimm (via Amazon)

These are the early versions of the stories we know and love, although they are a bit darker than the modern Disney versions we know, but that makes them much better i think!

My favourite stories include: “Catherine and Frederick”, “Briar Rose” and “The Six Swans”.

It’s funny how a lot of them have evil stepsisters and stepmothers! And they all seem to be rescued by a prince or a king! No hint of fairy godmothers though, that must be the Disney influence!

I love these old stories: they reward the hardworking underdog and punish the lazy and jealous people!

10/10!

Note: I read this on my Kindle as it was free, and there are a few little niggles with the ebook – the stories are all stuck together and don’t start on a new page; you can’t navigate to one particular story; and my version is supposed to be illustrated but there aren’t any. There are also a few mistakes grammatically, and a few other errors, which ruin the ebook a bit.