Saturday, 28 January 2012

How has the e-book changed being a reader and an unpublished writer?

Would you buy both a paperback and the e-book?
I finished reading the first book I downloaded on my new Kindle last week ('We Had It So Good' by Linda Grant which was beautifully written and thought-provoking). There are some books which I like to keep on a bookcase in the living room because I've enjoyed them.  I could see myself buying the paperback version of a book I've read on Kindle for this reason. Vice versa I can imagine starting a paperback and downloading the Kindle version so that I can take it when travelling.
Borrowing and Lending books:
The paperback copy of 'The Help' which I read was lent to me by a neighbour. When I searched on the internet I was surprised to find that some e-books can be lent to a friend for 14 days. On Amazon it says that the eligibility for lending is decided by the publisher or the rights holder. If an e-book can be lent to someone it will say Product: Lendable in the Product Details. Click here for information
I also found out that it's possible to download an e-book from Surrey libraries and keep it for two weeks before it disappears from the e-reader. Click here for more information
Unpublished Writer:
I've e-mailed the manuscript ("MS") of my novel, 'The Grandson' to my Kindle [i] and read the whole book for the first time since August last year. As a writer it's the closest my book is going to get to being real without it being published. On a Kindle it's easy to pick up typos which would be missed when reading on a computer screen.  If I want to refer to a Work in Progress when writing in a cafĂ©, I no longer need to lug parts of  it around with me. Also I can e-mail a copy of my MS to writing friends who are proofreading it and they can e-mail theirs to me. This saves on the cost of paper, printer ink and sometimes postage. Notes can also be made on a Kindle.
As a writer who wants to be published it's comforting to know that if I can't find an agent, there is the option to self-publish on Kindle.

[i]. A word document can be e-mailed to a address found in Manage Your Kindle/ Personal Document Settings when signing into
I'd be interested to read your comments on e-books, Kindle or anything else relating to this post.


  1. Excellent post - I still meet fellow unpublished writers who don't realise how useful a Kindle can be.
    Like you, I'm finding my Kindle invaluable for editing and it saves so much paper. The facility for changing the size of typeface and spacing on the Kindle is especially helpful as it fools my brain into thinking it's reading something it hasn't seen before and spotting errors which have previously gone unnoticed.
    I can also imagine (dream?) myself standing up doing a post-publication reading from my Kindle. I'd be nervous enough without having loose sheets to scatter or page markers to lose - although that's not to say I wouldn't fumble the Kindle and drop it.
    And, as you say, I could always publish my novel myself, although I'm going to give the 'traditional' route a good go first.

  2. Excellent post, Anita. I can see myself buying both formats. Like you, books I've enjoyed I like to have on my shelves. And the ability to be able to take them with me on my Kindle when travelling is a huge advantage.
    As you already know, I downloaded the first chapter of my WIP last night. So far I've only read the first page, I'll download the rest once I've finished this edit. But Janet is right, it wasn't like reading it on the computer screen or as a printed ms. As I can pick out typos in books I read I'm hoping my brain will also be tricked as I do a final read before submitting to the NWS.
    Your help in getting me started with this was invaluable. Thank you very much.

  3. Still haven't got a Kindle yet, but reading your post and the comments I feel very tempted. I can't imagine a house without paper books though. There's something about being able to browse through shelves of paperbacks. Apart from anything else it reminds you what you might want to revisit in a more immediate way than scanning through file names on a computer. I also love dipping into other people's books when I'm staying away from home. And then there's reading in the bath... Have a nasty feeling I'm too clumsy to rely on a Kindle in that setting... So yes, I can envisage spending out on both sorts of publication too!

  4. I love my Kindle, and since receiving it, have rarely opened a print book. However, last evening I read a non-fiction book on it and wondered if a print copy is more convenient. Although I'm sure that will change in time as well. It's all a matter of getting used to something new.

    The convenience of being able to download a book the second it grabs my attention is wonderful. I've read far more new and talented authors since getting my Kindle. Love it. Love it. Love it!

  5. I tried a Kindle, and didn't like it - not even the Kindle Fire, which my husband got from the US as it's not yet available here. However I do have an iPhone, and believe it or not, I absolutely love reading e-books on that - I know, it's really weird to enjoy reading from anything with such a small surface area, but it works for me.

    I hadn't thought of the emailing to Kindle pre-publication aspect, but now you mention it, this sounds like an excellent idea. When I'm closer to submitting, I might well use my husband's Kindle for this purpose.

    Interesting post, as always, Anita - any luck with the submissions yet?

  6. I love reading on my Kindle - changing font size, book choice when travelling etc. but it hasn't stopped me buying or reading print books. I don't see it being an either/or choice, rather just a different communication channel.
    I tend to agree with Anne about non-fiction books possibly being better as a print book, even though I've added comments in places to look at again. I suppose that's a bit more elegent than the post-it notes that hang out of my print books.
    On the subject of reading draft manuscripts, the Kindle is brilliant. As with other comments here, it shows up errors or clunky phrasing, and duplicated words in work I've read dozens of times. Yes definitely, love it!

  7. Hello,
    Thank you all for your comments. I'm surprised at how much I like the Kindle but I do wonder what will happen to books. Will they eventually disappear?

  8. I started reading books on my laptop some years back, which worked out fine. Not so handy for reading in bed (lying down) though. I like the fact that you can get newspaper subscriptions on Kindle too. However, I've been a book collector all my life and I definitely will keep buying paperback copies. I think there is a place for all of it. A question of having choices.

  9. I am not yet a kindle owner, I'm afraid. It's sort of one of those luxury items I will one day purchase. They are great for travelling, as they save on space and weight. I think I am of the opinion that, if I had a Kindle, I would download books and then if I really liked them, add them to my hardcopy collection.

    I like looking at my bookshelf and seeing my personality reflected back at me. Some books make such an impact they need to be kept in hard copy.

  10. Great post, Anita. I love my kindle for reading in bed as it's so much easier, lighter, more comfortable - and I think it's kinder to the eyes. But I still love print books too and read those downstairs. The great thing these days is having the option of both. Good luck with that novel!

  11. Thanks Susan, Unpublished Life and Rosemary for your comments.
    Susan, I haven't tried newspaper subscriptions on Kindle yet - I expect it would be handy to do on train journeys.
    Unpublished Life, I do like to have bookcases crammed with books around the house. They make it feel like a proper home.
    Rosemary,thanks for your good luck wishes
    Margaret - I forgot to reply to your question above re submissions (thanks for asking)- nothing yet!

  12. I have a Kindle and a Kobo, but took my Kindle on holiday recently because I have so many books downloaded onto it. It was invaluable and so much easier than taking paper books in my suitcase.

    Oddly enough I haven't thought about sending my mss to my Kindle, but will do so now. I would definitely self-publish my novel as an ebook if I didn't find a publisher. I wouldn't have done so a few years ago though.