I thought I would be doing a post on dragging DH to a twitter meet but events have overtaken us. Ebooks...
For DH's birthday we gave him a Sony ereader. He had been sniffing around them for a while as several colleagues have them and love them. We purchased the ereader from Waterstones in the UK and it came with Dan Brown's
latest offering. He also bought Paul Torday's Girl on the Landing
. DH then went off on an investment road trip and the ereader was as huge success. It fit in his suit pocket and was perfect for travel (only drawback is having to shut off for take off and landing). He breezed through the Torday book enjoying the book and the ereader experience.
Now we are in December and he has finally finished the Dan Brown and we are about to escape for a few days avec les enfants to Maldives for a few days of pre Christmas bonding. Last night we spent the most frustrating time trying to buy ebooks. Early in the day we had been a Magrudys (the local bookshop and one sponsor of the Emirates Airlines International Festial of Literature) and he decided he liked the look of Robert Harris's
and Sue Townends Adrian Mole, The Prostate Years
. So he sat with 'puter and tried the Waterstones site. They had neither book. After much searching he found the Adrian Mole book on Penquin's own site. Robert Harris's book was not to be had in eformat. The next step was a scrabble around to find out what he hadn't yet read and would like. Here is the failing of ebooks and why nothing beats a book shop and where I think there could be massive link up. The only thing you have to go on at this point is reader reviews and at the moment I think book buying is still done on the touch, see, and read selection process.
Digital books are still fairly new and the general populous in the UK and many other places has yet to truly embrace them. There is good reason for this - it doesn't feel or smell like a book to begin with but there are many reasons to embrace this technology (see the RNA Blog's
latest post). The uptake will continue to be so slow if the ease of use, download and selection isn't improved in a major way.
In the end DH downloaded from direct from Penquin, from Waterstones and from Smiths. He had to register with each site and learn their particular download procedure (he said he found Waterstones easiest). He bought four books in total - the Adrian Mole, Peter James' Dead Tomorrow
,The Neighbor by L Gardener
and Malice in Cornwall
(by an author he knew nothing of but it was set in Cornwall and carried a reasonable price tag).
Now to the suggestion which DH mentioned himself when he was first looking at ereaders. What he wants to do, especially when traveling, is to walk into a book shop and browse (pick the actual physical book up, read the blurb etc) and then go to check out, put his ereader in a docking station and download his selected books. Then his choices are not made in the dark quite as much as last night's. Mind you all of last night's selections weren't random as he loves Peter James' books.
Two positive things hit me from this misadventure aside from the fact it would be brilliant to be able to download in a book store (which would I think help to bridge the two markets). Ebooks are perfect for travel - size weight etc and the only hitch is take off and landing, and if you finish your books before the end of the break there is no problem as long as you have Internet connection. Less books in suitcase would mean more room for shopping.... Also here is the market for new writers - less financial risk to the consumer and to the publisher. If DH was willing to spend three pounds on an unknown....
DH wants to convert me to ebooks as he wants to de-clutter the house of so many books (yes, my To Be Read pile is stashed all over the house so that he doesn't know how big it actually is) and he feels it's more environmentally friendly. I would concede to both those points and add he wouldn't know the size of the TBR pile at all if it was in a tiny little ereader. So I might be tempted, but I think for me publishers will have to wither reduce the cost of ebooks or give them to me at a small additional cost when I buy the paper book so that I can have both. That way I could read it in any format that suited me at the time....or based on my shopping plans!
Now briefly about my first Twitter meet when I was in London and believe it or not this does sort of tie in with the rant above as many of the people who attend Tweetmas had been at digi conference earlier in the day. I will confess to be being a bit nervous about attending an event with people I, in most cases, had only met on Twitter. However I didn't let DH know as I was dragging him along and he may not have come...The event took place at Bar Choc in Soho and was the brainchild of Ben Johncock and what a blast it turned out to be. In the end I lost count of how many publishing type people were there but I had a ball. A whole evening drinking wine and talking books and publishing was bliss plus I meant so many new people...How did DH fair? Well, he had a great time and was dubbed Twidow by one of the publisher there....