|photo from here|
My ex bought me a kindle. I most likely wouldn't have got one for myself but now I have it I'm very glad he did. I Work in publishing and therefore get various questions directed at me by friends and friends of friends about it which I think are all valid and many of which I've struggled with myself. A heads up I have tended to work in technical publishing (at the moment on journals but previously on books for engineers) my brother also works in a bookshop. We like reading in our family :)
It's killing our bookshops! I don't know about this - I think that online shopping and the publishing industries obsession with 3 for 2s has devalued the book for most customers and many independents can't afford to offer the same discounts as Amazon. That said bookshops have been slow to react, I for one am looking forward to being able to buy ebooks instore at Waterstones - I like chatting with bookshop workers, they give great recommendations for a start and the atmosphere of a bookshop can't be beaten. This doesn't mean I want all bookshops doing this - many indies just need to find their niche something which I think Foyles has done well.
Why aren't they cheaper? I'm not sure about the way some ebooks are sold at £1 or less... With mass market fiction I get why, the extra typesetting etc ends up cheaper per unit than printing would. But it sets a precident that all ebooks are cheaper and belive me they aren't! The extra coding to make each type of format takes time and money, also with technical books there's a hell of a lot of interlinking that goes on meaning even more coding, proofing and cost and generally not that many sales.
Why'd we need a publisher now? Publishers don't print your books. They edit, proof, project manage, market and sell it. They also act as a content check -you know that books by certain publishers will provide certain information (I worked at Wiley and I think they are known for quality technical books), Faber and Faber will give you something else.
So ebooks - are they good or bad? I think that most anything that gets people reading has to be good, but we have to be careful we aren't destroying the publishing and book trade.
These are just my views and I'd love to know what you think.