This is a big question for readers. And writers. Because writers are readers (or if they’re not, they should be!).
This time last week the first boxes of paperbacks of my second novel FIND ME arrived. What a moment. The book has been available as a Kindle for a little while now and when I hit the publish button there was a moment as well. But it was nothing like the moment when Deb in the post office opened the very first box to reveal stacks and stacks of books. And the response from my readers to the arrival of the paperback has far exceeded my expectations. And my supplies. Within two days I had to place a new order.
So it got me thinking about the question we are asked every single day. What do readers want? Real books or ebooks?
I remember when a close friend received one of the very first iPads to arrive in Australia. To her it was a new gadget, a new toy and a MUST have. When I questioned her about why she MUST have this gadget it wasn’t because it was shiny and new, it was because she wanted to take it on her next holiday to Bali. With books on it. Goodbye heavy bag full of paperbacks. Hello shiny new toy with books on it.
And so it began. And so it continues.
I love laying in bed late at night with the iPad screen dimmed to the perfect light. You can read for so much longer this way for one simple reason – it takes no energy to turn the page. Just a tiny flick of your finger and there you have it – a clean new page full of words.
But as a reader, and a writer, the shiny new gadgets for reading ebooks that come onto the market every single day will never replace the lovely, beautiful, tactile sensation of holding a ‘real book’ in your hand. Running your hand over the cover – have they used gloss or matt finish? Is there any raised lettering? And then you open it. What kind of paper have they printed on? Is it cream? Is it white? You then have a flick. There are no words to describe the first flick of the pages. And once you have gone through all the motions, you sit in your most favourite reading place and so it begins.
And so it continues.