I love my Kindle. It’s small and light, easily fitting in my handbag, yet can hold zillions (OK, slight exaggeration) of books. It doesn’t slam shut while I eat my breakfast. The wind can’t ruffle the pages while I walk my dog. My new Kindle (I wore out my first) is illuminated so I can read in bed or the car, without disturbing my partner.
Until recently, ebooks were significantly cheaper than their paper siblings. For someone who reads in excess of 50 books a year, that’s important. **Note: I do support my library when possible but it’s not always practical. Recently, several ebooks by my favourite authors have been as expensive (or even more) than the paperback of the same title.
The outrageous fact that we have to pay VAT on ebooks but not paper or hardbacks doesn’t account for this because, of course, it’s based on the asking price.
Ebooks cost the publisher and the environment a tiny fraction of the expense of producing a paper version. Think of the trees that have to be cut then transported to a paper factory then on to the printer. The finished book then has to be driven to a distributor, stored in a warehouse, then taken to the shop. The reader has to travel to the shop or have a man-with-a-van deliver it to their home. That’s a great deal of manpower and resources, in other words expense.
Electronically produced and distributed direct to your device without any travel, storage or paper at all, there is very little risk or cost in the production of ebooks.
It seems the publishers are using their inflated price ebooks to prop up the unprofitable paper based side of their business. This is neither fair or sensible. Not only do they receive much less, if anything, from the sale of each paperback but those same books can then be shared easily amongst many friends before being donated to a charity where even more people can read it without a penny going to the publisher or author.
Paperbacks did not spell the end of hardbacks, as predicted, and they will not disappear in the face of ebooks but digital formats should not be used to artificially support the others.
The good news ~ the antidote ~ comes in the form of independent publishers like Crooked Cat. They are cutting-edge, well edited books featuring new authors and exciting, sometimes less conventional plots. With almost 200 titles across a wide range of genres there’s something for everyone. Their books are always reasonably priced but this week they’re running a sale with most titles available for 99p/99c! Just type Crooked Cat Books in the Amazon search bar and you’ll find 10 pages of books to choose from. I’ve bought 15 for less than the cost of two rip-off titles and am looking forward to many hours of pleasure.