Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Snow, World Book Day, and a give-away e-book. Enid Richemont

 I'm sitting at the computer looking out into my cold-shocked garden, and waiting, like a child, for the promised snowfall - even though, last winter, I got very tired of it. Like so many other people, we've stocked up  - such a shared and primitive instinct to do this before the weather really clamps down - even though the snow will probably only last a day or so. In these temperatures, my house feels like a cave.

Kindle-wise, I've recently signed up three of my ebooks to KDPSelect, and chosen JAMIE AND THE WHIPPERSNAPPER as a promotional week's give-away to celebrate World Book Day. The Whippersnapper's a sharp-tongued, magical creature that unexpectedly hatches out of one of the duck eggs Mum had just bought. It was greatly enjoyed by 6 - 9 year olds when Red Fox first published it, and now, for one week only, from March 3rd, it's free to download. It's a lot of fun to read aloud, too - I've always loved taking it into schools, doing the voices, and watching kids' reactions to the story.

As predicted, I've now become more relaxed with my own Kindle. After finishing GREAT EXPECTATIONS, I've downloaded some delightful (children's) short stories by Odette Elliott, Ann Pachett's THE GETAWAY CAR - a thought-provoking book about creative writing, and THE BORROWERS, a classic children's story which I'd never read. I've also, of course, downloaded some of my own ebooks in order to check them out (and it's so reassuring to begin to see the words: 'ebook edition' appearing more and more on the backs of so many recently published books).

So, no, ebooks do not pose a threat to our culture, and I know it's been been said already, but mainstream publishers marketing yet another celebrity endorsed (yawn!) book, especially in the children's market (certain undesirable role models comes to mind) can hardly be considered guardians of it. And think - how many times,  browsing in the book section of a charity shop, have you asked yourself: why the hell did anyone ever publish that? Also, e-book readers cope with lengthy novels and weighty non-fiction much better than physically heavy (and expensive) books. There's suddenly so much to read, and wow - I can have it without spending a fortune or moving house. Now that's really exciting.


At the same time, a physical book is a lovely thing, and, as you can see, we have a house full of them. Nothing will ever replace really good bookshops, and our libraries are treasurehouses and open to everyone - we ditch them at our peril. And I shall always be, and continue to be, hugely grateful to my mainstream publishers, who achieve small miracles, past and present, and without whom I wouldn't be blogging here today. When publishers are good, they are very, very good, but  alas! - when they are bad, they are horrid.

I started writing this blog in the expectation of snow, and I'm ending it looking out at the fence and bushes crusted with thick snow meringues, and there's a large snowman with a flowerpot hat in next door's garden. Do we ever outgrow the magic of the first snowfall of the year? I know I never have.







4 comments:

Simon Cheshire said...

I agree entirely with your point about publishers. They've done my career no end of good, and yet this argument that they're gatekeepers of quality is just nonsense. The (physical) book market has always been awash with rubbish. There are certainly a heck of a lot of terrible self-published works out there now, but as a proportion of the overall total, it's the same as it's been for decades. The problem today is: how to find the good stuff!

madwippitt said...

What an elegant, tidy and well-disciplined looking bookcase - but as always, making me want to rush over to browse. (Any chance of a close up photo?)

Enid Richemont said...

This part of David's science fiction collection, going back years, and yes, everything in alphabetical order. The object in the corner is his telescope, and the design at the top of the shelves was painted by me many moons ago.
Come browse anytime, and bring those strokable wippitties too. XX

Hywela Lyn said...

Great post, Enid, and I too envy you you well stocked bookcase - and the telescope. I love the first snow too, do you still have any? Ours didn't last very long, sadly.