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Posts Tagged ‘ebooks’

I’ve just been lucky to take part in a Q&A on Facebook with Neil Gaiman for Amazon Kindle UK. He’s one of my favourite writers. I’ve seen him a couple of times talk at the Edinburgh Book Festival, and will be seeing him talk this weekend too.

Anyway partly because the talk is hosted by Amazon Kindle UK and partly because of my own academic research interests I was curious about his views on ebooks versus print books. Specifically I asked:

Do you read ebooks Neil, and how do you feel about the relative merits of digital books and print books? (I’m a fan of both)

Lots of people were asking questions, and I was lucky that he picked mine as one to answer:

Vivienne Dunstan, I think ebooks are easier to use and transport than any library of books, and have the ability to be obtained immediately, but I think that an individual book is a nicer thing than a single ebook. I like holding books, when I can. So yes, I have ebooks — I had a prototype Kindle before they were ever released — and love people reading in whatever way they wish.

That echoes my views to a large extent. Although I love ebooks, not least because they are easier for me to read because of disability reasons, I still buy and cherish print books. I particularly like signed copies by my favourite authors, and big coffee table highly illustrated books.

So essentially I’m a fan of both formats, and expect to be for a long time. It’s nice to know that Neil is too.

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I really enjoyed this blog post by writer Michael Jecks, in particular what he wrote about ebooks. Most of all: “Because the most important thing about books is not, really, whether they are on paper, an electronic screen, or carved with care into blocks of granite. The important thing is, that they are read.” which echoes so strongly with my own views.

writerlywitterings

Writing books is a funny way to try to earn a crust. Authors are expected to be slightly odd characters (and most of us can live up – or down – to that), with peculiar insights which can be gained only by using illegal drugs or by excessive quantities of legal ones. I tend to the second.
But being a writer, for me, was a way not so much of earning a living, but of continuing my delight in and with books.
I have always loved books. I find it deeply, humiliatingly, hypocritical still, to be telling off my son for reading under his bedclothes, when I can still remember doing the same thing myself at his age. And, oddly enough, reading the same William books as he is now. Exactly the same in most cases, since the thieving little brute has filched my ancient hardbacks.
Books have accompanied me…

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I received word that my conference talk proposal has been accepted, so I need to write that talk for definite now. And I now have a deadline for the revised version of the accepted professionals paper, by June, so I can deal with other more looming things first.

My immediate priority now is to write the talk for the archivists conference, or at least finish developing the mind map version of its content, which I could turn very easily into a talk nearer the conference in April.

After that I will look afresh at the chapmen material and see where things stand with that. I’m still gathering secondary material, for me to read and assimilate. Masses! But that is good. And I will start to transcribe the other detailed chapmen inventories I found, focusing on any reading material that was recorded. There is a chance that I could have something ready to submit to a journal before the 1st April 2013 open access deadline, but I’m not too worried if not, and will just expunge anything necessary to avoid problems.

I’m also taking a bit of time to work on some fun non-academic articles for a planned ebook project. It’s fun being creative like this, and a bit different from my usual academic writing, which is a welcome change.

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I have a new blog post on the SHARP (Society for the History of Authorship Reading & Publishing) website arguing for greater engagement by book historians, and SHARP members in particular, with the digital publishing revolution. See here.

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