Audio, ebook or paper authors?

Posted: February 23, 2011 in thoughts
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Some curious thoughts came to me today amidst the red-wine-and-lamb-steaks post-prandial fug. All to do with the different ways we eat our literary desserts at the moment. So I am now going to regurgitate them for you (politely of course).

I was seated still on the chair after dinner, iPhone at the slant against a mug of biros, reading the next bit of a novel (yes, I know I should be writing my own, but I’m proofreading my journal at present, so scribing is out).

Suddenly, three ideas struck me forcibly, like the delayed bouquet of cheap wine:

1 I’ve always been a fan of Anne McCaffrey’s books – genuine paper originals, mostly about the mind-speaking dragons of Pern or space voyaging Primes and Talents and Crystal Singers. But now I’m listening to an audio book of Catalyst. And it seems incredibly boring. Is it the actor’s reading? Or is it audio itself that renders McCaffrey’s skill inaccessible to me? I shall go buy the paper version.

2 I’m also reading an ebook of Jodi Picoult’s The Pact. Other novels of hers that I’ve read have all been (you guessed it) audio books. And the narrators of her different first-person perspectives have had me fixed to their every word on multiple car voyages. But this one is not only 3rd person, but I am finding it muddling. Not enough differentiation, too much info dumped on me too quickly right from the start. Why the difference from the audio ones?

3 I do like paper books – love them in fact, the feel, the smell, the look of them lined up around me (70 shelves at the last count when we moved them to decorate). Yet ebooks are just so easy to manipulate. Lounge, flick, lounge, flick. No sore thumbs, no breaking of spines to make them stay open. Perfect in every way. But not necessarily the best option for any particular book.

So I don’t think I’m coming down on the side of any one format in the near future. Publishing our work in ebook form might appear enticingly 21st-century, but co-publishing in all formats offers people more choice. And we’re out to please our readers, aren’t we?


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