Today I’m all about e-books.
Yes, I know we have Joel at the Smell of Books for that. In fact I highly recommend that, if you are looking for and educated opinion and some facts, you go read his blog. Joel can provide an informed opinion on all things e-published whereas me writing on ebooks is like Kyle Sandilands writing about emotional empathy or Gillian McKeith giving serious scientific advice on food and nuitrition.
But the darn things keep cropping up on me, tempting me. While I have confessed to being an ebook luddite (for reasons ranging from the fact that the sight of a full bookshelf makes me happy to the sad reality that sometimes I really like to have the option of throwing a really terrible book off the wall) having played with a Kindle a little over the weekend, I am becoming more tempted by the day. I don’t see myself ever giving up real books completely, I can just see the benefit of being able to take 20 books on holidays without having to carry their weight in your rucksack.
I feel guilty in considering neglecting my beloved paperbacks for their hot new digital friend but I’m certainly not alone in it. Earlier this year, Amazon revealed that 115 Kindle eBooks were sold for every 100 paperbacks sold in January. And, in a year where Borders and Angus and Robertson were going broke, Amazon reported record quarterly sales of $13 billion the last quarter, up 36% compared to previous year. They have their own awards. The New York Times now has a dedicated eBook Bestseller List. I’m considering grabbing a Kindle, with 8 million sold in the last year, I’m far from alone.
Ebooks are everywhere and, just maybe, that’s not such a bad thing. They are making some good things easier to do. For example, the ebook format allows for acts of altruism that would be near impossible on the convention physical books scale. One example of this is the fast release of Fault Lines, an ebook of nature stories by Australian writers put together to raise money for the Red Cross’s relief efforts in Japan and New Zealand following the devastating earthquakes. From conception to contribution to implementation, it took less about a week and a half. It’s near impossible to imagine a reaction that fast from conventional printing.
The whole thing has been organised by Matt Granfield, in a fraction of the time you would expect, with the aim of raising money for the Red Cross’s efforts in Japan and New Zealand. Fault Lines is a ebook collection of new writing by some of Australia’s most popular authors and bloggers, including two of my favourites – the intrepidly-travelling Peter Moore and the world’s most satirical Masterchef fan Ben Pobjie.
The essays and stories range from side-splitting to serious and if, like me, you suspect in your quieter moments that you are not reading as many Australian authors as you should, it provides a great intro to some writers that you might not have come across already. It’s only ten bucks and 100% of the proceeds go straight to charity. You don’t even have to have a book reader to read it, so my books may be safe from the Kindle cohabitation. For now.