As well as being a writer, I’m an avid reader – a fact my bookcases bear groaning witness to. Like most readers, I love the feel of a book in my hands, and the look of type on a white page. But things are changing, and there is a new medium out there in the marketplace, namely e-books.
The Telegraph newspaper announced in an article published on 29th July 2010, that Amazon had announced that e-book sales in America outsold hardbacks in the previous three months, selling 143 e-books for every 100 hardbacks they sold. Amazon also announced that they sold three times as many e-books in the first half of 2010 than they sold in the first half of 2009.
The Kindle bookstore now sells more than 700,000 e-books with more than 1.8 million free e-books available from Amazon.com, and figures from The Association of American Publishers show incredible growth in this area over the first couple of quarters of 2010.
E-books have been around for years though, so what is fuelling this explosion? The answer is lower priced e-book readers and competition. The Amazon Kindle store and iBooks (for the Apple iPad) are newish marketplaces for e-books, and I predict that over the next year or so we are going to see growth in the same way that iTunes fuelled the sale of online music.
You don’t have to have an e-book reader to read an e-book. I’ve installed Kindle for PC (a free download) onto my computer, and have instantly downloaded a number of books, including many of the free classics and some contemporary ones too. As Irish users use the Amazon.com store, there are a great many available for no cost, and it’s a very good way to have a look at e-books and evaluate the technology. Using this method, you can usually see a sample few pages of a book too, which can help with selecting books to purchase. With the vast majority of eBooks, you can read a good sized portion of the book before you buy – and with many priced at under $5, you can’t go far wrong!
Here are other ways to read e-books available in the Irish Market.
From Apple: The iPad.
The ipad is a lot more than an e-reader, and for dedicated mac lovers, it’s a lovely gadget. As well as reading books on it, you can also surf the web, do your email, look at all your photos in gorgeous colour, watch videos, you tube, and access all your music and run over 200,000 apps from the App Store. As such it is mentioned here because it does allow you to read e-books – but as it is a hugely more versatile device, it doesn’t qualify as solely an e-reader, and it’s price, from €499.00 reflects that. For more details, check out the Irish Apple site. http://www.apple.com/ie/ipad/features/
On your mobile phone:
From Apple: The iphone
Using the ibooks app, and also by downloading the kindle reader for the iphone. ibooks use the e-pub open format and also supports PDFs. There is the option to change font size, alter brightness etc, and also the ibook works with voice over to read you the contents of any page.http://www.apple.com/ie/iphone/features/ibooks.html which is ideal if reading on such a small screen is tricky for you.
The Kindle e-reader is also available for Android phones and Blackberry’s. Because these are not dedicated e-book devices I personally would not choose a phone as my primary reading device, but it can be very handy if you are stuck on a long train journey or your flight is delayed!
From Amazon – The Kindle.
The new Kindles were launched at the end of August 2010 in Europe, with a very aggressive pricing structure. They come in 3 variations, The basic Wi-Fi version, the Kindle 3G and the Kindle DX.
The basic version is $139.00.
The benefit of the Kindle is that it is a dedicated e-reading device. As such, it has been designed with a high contrast, e-ink screen, and a non glare surface, which makes the experience of reading on a Kindle a joy.
It has a capacity of 3,500 books, and an advertised battery life of one month (with wireless off). It has a six inch reading area and is lighter than a paperback and thinner than a magazine. Reviews have been very favourable of this device, and it’s many features are well worth a look.
From Sony – 3 news ebook readers have been recently launched in America, The Pocket Edition, The Touch Edition, and the Daily Edition, several of which are available in Ireland. The Sony Reader is slim and lightweight and designed with book-lovers in mind. It has a no glare paper-like screen that reads just like a book, indoors or out. Reader can flip through the pages with a touch screen, look up any word in one of the built-in dictionaries, battery life is up to two weeks. Prices start at €126http://www.sony.ie/hub/reader-ebook
The are several other eReaders on the market, including the BeBook from Endless Ideas.http://mybebook.com/index.html.
The key to buying any piece of technology is to do your homework and find out what will work best for you. Whatever you choose, your bag will be lighter! For more info on ebooks look at :
©Sally Clements for writing.ie
Sally Clements is a writer living and writing in the Irish countryside, who has sold two romances to different publishers in 2010. The first, Catch Me A Catch, is a contemporary romance e-book available from The Wild Rose Press. It features an artisan chocolatier heroine, who is reluctantly forced to stand in for her matchmaker father for the duration of a matchmaking festival in the west of Ireland, and a transatlantic sailor in search of his roots, who she mistakes as a love seeking batchelor. Follow Sally’s blog Love and Chocolate here
Her second novel, Bound to Love, was launched on February 14th this year and print and eBook formats. Bound to Love is a romantic suspense story about a logic driven security expert who is forced to accept the help of an impulsive goldsmith, who follows her intuition, wherever it may lead. When Jake Forrester is involved in a complex plot to steal the Egyptian gold exhibit from the British Museum, he needs Tempest MacKenzie’s help to thwart the thieves, and in the process learns that sometimes relying on your gut instincts is the only way to go. Make it the first eBook you read!
For talk about books, writing, and hero inspiration or to contact Sally, check out her blog, Love and Chocolate : www.sallyclements.blogspot.com
And for interviews with romance authors, industry gossip, book and film reviews, see her crit groups blog which is updated 3 times weekly, www.minxesofromance.blogspot.com