|One over-flowing bookshelf..|
My house is full of books. Seven bookcases, over-stuffed and spilling over. Bags of paperbacks waiting to go to the charity shop.
In the attic there are three packing cases full of books that went into storage in 1999 when we moved to
, and haven’t been unpacked since we
returned. They’ve been joined by other boxes of books that we don’t want to
throw out, but had to be moved when we tried to impose order. Sometimes I feel
as though the books are breeding, multiplying silently, taking over the house
by stealth. Amsterdam
I doubt my children will have a house like this. Their books will live in e-readers and tablets.
will be more
private, more portable. Their homes will be a lot tidier, and moving will be
considerably easier. Reading
Choosing books will be different too. They'll have fewer opportunities to browse in shops and libraries. Instead, expertise and criticism will move online. If the kindle charts are anything to go by, then books will be sold for pennies, with authors hoping to make money by selling in bulk.
Some of these things worry and frighten me - as a writer. I hate the idea of books ceasing to exist as physical entities. Yet, as the owner of an e-reader, I prefer having books that I can find and carry around. I think my house would be a nicer place to live in without toppling piles of books in every room.
And I’m excited by the possibilities that e-books can bring. I love the idea of adding music, film, information, interviews and other extras to my books. I’m intrigued by the idea that a basic book might sell for £1, but the enhanced version would be sold (perhaps to existing fans) for a higher price.
Lydia Syson’s excellent debut, A World Between Us, published by HotKey is the first example I’ve seen of the books that I dream of. It’s an epic romance set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. (I should declare an interest here,
belong to the same writing group and I consider myself a proud auntie to her love-crossed
characters, Felix, Nat and George) Lydia
The paperback is a thing of beauty, with its 30s poster style cover. But the enhanced ebook is really special. It contains fascinating background information about the rise of the Blackshirts in
the International volunteers who fought in Spain,interviews with ,
historians and (very movingly) a veteran. It’s interesting, educational and it offers much more than is possible in a conventional book. It's a format that fits historical books perfectly, but could be applied to many others. Lydia
Try it, think about how the concept could be used for the books you write, and the books you love, and some of your fears about the future might just fade away.