Are ebooks any good? Should we have them in mind when we write?

Now, I don’t believe that the ebook will replace actual real-life books. Why? Because I don’t want them to, and neither do you. So problem solved!

For me, ebooks are blimmin’ brilliant for reading short stories, flash fiction, poetry and collections. Mainly because I can read them on my phone and take them with me wherever I am. I can fit them into those tiny slots of waiting, for buses, people, work, inspiration.

The other reason why ebooks are amazing is where publishers are doing more than just giving you words on the screen in the place of a page. It’s where they give you multimedia. A perfect example of this is when my husband bought ‘The Hobbit – the enhanced edition.’

You see, the husbands likes to have a hard copy to read at home and the ebook ASWELL so he can read it on the move, or on his lunch break. With this particular edition, just at a touch of a button you can hear JRR Tolkien himself singing the songs. Did you hear that? He SINGS them. It’s magical. Suddenly, those lyrics I often skimmed over, came to life spectacularly. I wanted to link to it, but alas, the brilliant songs could not be found. Go figure.

So I guess my question to you is this: with ebooks looking to stay, should we be looking at incorporating more into our writing that could be explored with multimedia?

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11 thoughts on “Are ebooks any good? Should we have them in mind when we write?

  1. That sound pretty cool. I don't have a phone or e-reader so I don't read e-books, though I'm happy to read flash fiction on my computer. I think I'll always prefer "real" books, but I'm certainly not against digital books and why not make them different by adding mutlimedia content? My only concern would be that it could get really gimmicky. In 10 years will the computer-types who "enhance" the books, be more acclaimed (and more valued) than the mere wordsmith? Will people stop being able to enjoy "just" words and need more? Some way off, but…

  2. Hmm, you raise an interesting question. I immediately think of children's books and maybe it motivating the younger generation to read more? But then again I think they already have way too much of that crap and should just have a quiet 20 minutes every day to read a good book, ya know? Love ebooks though, comes in handy on the tredmill at the gym to read my Kindle instead of trying to fiddle w/ a big floppy book.

  3. I love the idea of add-ons, although as Chloe says, I guess they could get a bit gimmicky and make the writing less important. But for good writing, and particular a character series, you could really add something special, like with your Tolkein example. Jasper Fforde already uses his website well to do that sort of thing. Hm, you've made me think differently about ebooks Freya, thank you. Until now I'd just dismissed them entirely. Not just because I'm a luddite (at least, I'm a late adopter when it comes to technology), but because I think books are incredibly pretty and I have something of a bookshelf obsession / fetish / call it what you like πŸ™‚

  4. I only usually buy eBooks now, although I do still like browsing in bookshops. I wish Kindle would default to the cover screen though when you open a new book – I still want to see the cover art on screen. I'm looking forward to good colour eBooks too.Writing specifically for eBooks though I think is tricky. Like films made specifically for 3D, with objects flying towards the camera just a bit too frequently. A good story is a good story, but then there is another skill to adapt it well to each format.I'm sure the traditional novel will survive, but there's no reason for eBooks to always stay 'bound' to the same basic format.The extended Hobbit does sound good. I'll have to check that out.

  5. Chloe: Yeah best to avoid the over flashy stuff. I fear we might be going down this route when it comes to engaging a younger audience though. Just take a look at what it required for Tony Robinson's book to become such a big hit.Jamie: Always good for the ease of carrying/holding. But I worry to that kids are being bombarded. I feel bombarded too!Rin: Will have to check out Jasper's thing. Sounds interesting. Yes, am totally in LOVE with real life books too :DAL: Hello! How's Paris!? Oh yes, so looking forward to improved graphics and colour on the kindle. I might even buy one then. Yes – go check out the Hobbit version. He even reads a chapter to you – very good reader that Tolkien.

  6. I imagine it will depend on what the extra content is and whether it just seems squidged in for effect. Hearing Tolkien sing would be amazing. Likewise, maps and animation might be appropriate depending on the genre. It could end up a little like the extras on DVDs though, which are sometimes better than the films themselves. Of course, if I do another ebook (coming soon…) I'll soon change my tune.

  7. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to have added extras. Particularly if it gets more kids in the direction of books. When you think about it, Tolkien himself embraced the "multimedia" of his day by including maps in his books. I didn't even know these recordings of his voice existed. That's pretty cool! Things progress and develop all the time, but I don't think the traditional book is quite finished with yet.

  8. Nonfiction can be really hard to read on an e reader, at least the smaller screen, black and white Nook that I have. Sometimes I read it on the laptop, but that takes away the whole convenience factor. They are convenient for travel, but paper books are just easier to read!

  9. Personally, I love ebooks for the simple reason that I don't always get to the bookstore. And I love being able to download a sample so I don't have a ton of books that I started to read and then decided I hated and now have to wait for a garage sale to get rid of them. My nook is amazing. Also, I am able to bring it everywhere with me. I read a lot of books that are 8-900 pages long and those get heavy when you stick them in your purse. Anyway, those are my thoughts πŸ™‚ Great post!Sincerely, M.J. Wille, author

  10. Derek: Yeah, I thought the same about maps etc. It's got to be a good balance I think.Nick: They're amazing recordings. Of course, he does them well, which isn't something we could all say.Ms Yingling: You're right, they're not easier to read in that sense. I'm lucky that my phone is quite big. The idea of reading a whole book on it though, doesn't work for me.Hi Megan! Thanks. Now you mention it, I've got a few books here that I wished I had read a sample of before buying. It would save me a lot of grief in forcing myself to read them.

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