Thursday, 1 December 2011
Mikey Goes on a Rant and Gets Salty With The Language.
It has now been a year since I bought my Kindle, so I thought I would take stock of my reading experience with it thus far.
I have downloaded 33 books. Which is not too shabby. How many have I read? Any guesses?
Yup, you up the back, that wasn’t a typo. 3.
There are about 4 or 5 others that I have read too halfway, some I looked at briefly and some that have never been opened.
How does that compare with the hard copies of books I’ve bought, borrowed from my local library and books I’ve been given to review? I haven’t noted the empirical data – so sue me – but I would guesstimate that I read anything from 1 to 3 books per week. So, a light approximate would be that in the time I have read 3 e-books, I’ve read anything from 100 - 200 paper books.
It’s not that the books on my Kindle are crap. They’re not.
I’m thinking that there are two things at play here.
#thing 1 – see me, I love the feel of a paper book.
#thing 2 – when I’ve paid anything from £3 to 0.99p for an e-book I feel less inclined to follow up my purchase. There is little perceived value there so I don’t bother reading it once the initial impulse has flown. (So how does that tie up with the fact that you get a lot of free paper books, bozo?)
#thing 3 – so, there’s more than 2 things, quit moaning – ahem, thing 3 – It mostly doesn’t even occur to me to look out my Kindle and read from it. I forget where I’ve put it most of the time.
Is it just me? We’re all reading e-books aren’t we? Am I so out of step with the rest of the reading world?
Bloggers and journalists out there often use the changes in the music industry to highlight the eventual death of the book. The techies among them doing it with a certain degree of glee, it has to be said. It has been reported so often that the download has killed off the CD that it has almost become fact. And repeated till Pinocchio’s beak circumvents the globe. So I thought I would check it out.
I read some research carried out by the UK music industry – not sure what the situation is in the US – but here are the figures for 2010...
Sales of digital single tracks represented 98.0% of overall singles sales, with CD singles only accounting for 1.9m sales (down on last year’s total of 2.5m).
So that seems to bear out what “everyone” is saying, right? But is that the whole picture? Nope.
98.5 million CD albums were sold against a figure of 21 million digital albums.
So, it seems for a single track we’re loving a download, but for an album the CD still rules the roost.
Side-bar, your honour - Interestingly, this allows me to draw a correlation between novels and short stories. It seems that the e-book is allowing the short story to flourish. After all, the e-reader is the perfect tool to read a short story on the to-and-from from work etc.
The one movement in the music industry that worries me is the overall downward trend of sales caused by the illegal download. Let’s hope the book peeps get to keep control of that particular nastiness. It has been calculated that the total number of people in the UK illegally downloading music on a regular basis is 7.7m. It is likely to be even larger given other methods by which music can be illegally obtained, such as e-mail, instant messaging and newsgroups.
That’s a concern, innit? If it happened to that degree in the book world it would be nothing short of disastrous.
And what is it about people who think that its fair game to obtain creative content for free? They wouldn’t dream of popping into Tesco and knicking a CD/ book/ movie or fresh fruit and veg off the shelves, so why is it ok to steal digital content?
Oh, don’t get me started. On one blog I visited the other day; where they were debating the price and therefore the perceived value of ebooks, one numpty came on to leave a message saying, why pay when you can get it for free?
Because someone has spilt their life blood on to the page, they’ve studied their craft, they’ve put in hour upon hour upon hour, day after month after year to try and entertain you, you asshole. That’s why. Music, literature, the arts – it all enriches our lives - this stuff doesn’t and shouldn’t come free – or the well will eventually run dry. And what a horrible world that would be.
Eeesh, I’m going to have to go and lie down or have a camomile tea or SOMETHIN’.