Its been a busy weekend, what with family staying and others visiting. Its been the finest Easter on record as fas as weather is concerned and we’ve all been at the beach, where friends kindly lent us their beach-hut.
The house was awash with Easter Eggs, and now we have two grandchildren (see below) there were even more than usual. The early morning light gave some opportunities for getting the tripod out and taking some flower portraits with the camera. The one to the left of here got in a “best shot of the day” category on a photo-sharing website and then later on the one below also got the same award.
The Kindle – a literary game-changer
Every evidence suggests that the Kindle is having a massive impact on reading habits. If you look at the Kindle best sellers, not one of the top ten costs more than £1.50. Quite a game-changer. But who wants to pay more for a book when after you’ve read it all you have is a random sequence of bits and bytes which you can’t even send on to anyone else?
Amazon have certainly understood its potential, with their Spring Spectacular containing a huge range of books under £1.50. I’m no apologist for Amazon, but it was easy to spend a fiver or so here and come away with two or three Booker shortlists from last year and the year before and a couple of reference books for later use.
Even Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White is available for £1.47 – quite a bargain in view of its recent successful serialisation on BBC television. I bought a couple more Scandiavian crime novels including the excellent Shadow by Karin Alvtegen.
Its getting very difficult to see how publishers like Penguin are going to be able to carry on with their ebook pricing model when there are bargains like these to be had. Just one example, The Picture of Dorian Gray is available in Penguin Classics for £4.99 while you can get any number of free versions, or even “the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde for £0.70. Sometimes Penguin Classics have a translation which they want to defend but with an English language book the pricing is just barmy.
Its great to see companies like Blackbirde Books being formed to exploit the market in cheap e-books. Let’s face it, there are many good authors who are turned away from publishers simply because their books don’t fit the latest trends in book publishing.
I reviewed one of Blackbirde’s books last week, The Valley of Heaven and Hell – Cycling in the Shadow of Marie Antoinette, and was pleased to hear from author Susie Kelly that there had been a surge in sales after my review and it had climbed up the Amazon Travel and Holiday section list. Again pricing must surely be a factor in her sales figures. Who’s going to quibble about spending £1.39 on a download if the subject is interesting to you and it comes with a couple of good reviews.
As far as I understand it, with cheap e-books self-promotion is the name of the game, and you need to get your book going “viral”. With ultra-low prices this can really work astonishingly well and authors need to use every means such as the Kindle forums (which are always an interesting browse).