Paperbacks or Ebooks?

Paperback or Ebook?

This seems to have been a debate for quite a while now. The question of whether an electronic book or a book made of real paper is best.
Of course printing and print books have been around for centuries. The earliest form of printing was probably ’block’ printing in Asian countries like China and Korea, where carved wooden blocks were used to print text as far back as the year 220. Although people were probably using stencils and printing with carved vegetables or something like it long before this (didn’t you just love doing Potato prints as a kid?). By about the 1040’s the Chinese had presses with moveable type. In Europe, printing was invented by Johannes Gutenburg and his famous press in 1450.
The first mass market ’paperbacks’ became popular in the early 19th century. They were cheap versions of more expensive hard-cover books. These were called ’Yellowbacks’ due to their yellow covers and were sold in Britain by W H Smith’s from shops on railway stations, to give passengers something to read on their journeys. Not much changes, you can’t go on a train now without seeing someone with a Kindle. You can still find W H Smith’s at railway stations throughout the UK and now they even sell ereaders (Kobo ereaders).
It is argued that the idea ‘electronic books’ dates back to the 1930’s where some were worried that films with sound, ’the talkies’, would replace reading and books, and by the 1940’s with the advent of the first giant clunking computers (like those used at Bletchley Park to decode Hitler’s ’Enigma’ machines) some attempted to use them to organise large catalogues or indexes of books.
The first patented electronic book came in 1949 – an Spanish teacher named Angela Ruiz invented the ’Mechanical Encyclopaedia’ to try and reduce the amount of books her students had to carry. This somehow ran on compressed air and allowed students to add content with ’spools’. Apparently you could move to any section you wanted mechanically and it supposedly even had a ’zoom’ function! From the picture this looks like a genius ‘Heath Robinson’ contraption, like something from a steampunk novel. I would love to have a play with one.


Angela Ruiz and the Mechanical Encyclopaedia

Nowadays lots of people love their Kindles and iPads and they are becoming a more and more familiar sight as we go about our everyday business. I feel that we sometimes forget how new these things are. The first Kindle only appeared in 2007 (although this was preceded by the Sony Ereader a year earlier and by things like the ’Rocket Ebook’ in 1998). The iPad only appeared in 2010. It’s funny to me sometimes how ubiquitous these things have become in such a short space of time (’YouTube’ for example has only been around since 2005).
So, in some senses the ebook is still very much in its early days.
Which do you prefer? There are many who say to me “I still like to hold a real book in my hands,” and others who say “I love that I can carry all my books on my Kindle, so much easier when you travel,”
Personally I think it is a kind of non-argument. Of course we all love to hold a real book. But more and more of us are reading on electronic devices. I don’t, for one minute, think that print books will disappear (they said that computers in the workplace would lead to a ’paperless’ society – how wrong was that?). I do, however, think that the devices we read on will improve and change beyond anything we can imagine.
Really, at the end of the day, the real point is that people love stories. Great stories. They always have and always will. Before ebooks people typed and printed books. Before printing people wrote stories with pens and pencils and brushes. Before writing people told stories and handed them down through the generations.
So it doesn’t really matter how the story is delivered people will always have an appetite to read a great story.
To that end I decided to make my novel available as a paperback book, with real paper-cut inducing pages, as well as an ebook.
You can get my novel, The Last Englishman and the Bubble, as a paperback – click here, or as an ebook, click here.
As ever any comments are thoughts are welcome…


© 2013 Simon Poore

The Last Englishman: My First Novel – Available now…

So…I have finally done it. I have published my first novel; The Last Englishman and the Bubble – self published as an ebook – now available to download online.
This book began its journey as my first foray into ‘NaNoWriMo’ (National Novel Writing Month) in November 2011, where its first fifty thousand words came spilling out of my head. I had no idea then whether I could actually write a full length novel or what it would entail.
Since then this book has been through an editing process which included five or more full revisions/re-writes/additions etc. etc.
Over the last year excerpts of it have landed the slush-piles of myriads of agents, simply to face rejection or worse be completely ignored altogether. It has failed to win at least one major competition (and is still waiting on another one).
You might think that I maybe disheartened at this point and wonder why I have decided to publish it myself as an ‘Indie’ ebook. Well there are a number of reasons but let me say I am far from disheartened. My journey is just beginning (aren’t all journeys just beginning? Right now?). This book proved to me that I could actually write a novel. Since then I have written two more (one is unfinished – one chapter to go, the other is nearly edited!), and these books can now do the rounds of agents and publishers.
I don’t want to get into the ‘Traditional’ publishing versus ‘Indie’ publishing debate but let’s just say that the romantic part of me still wants to see a real hardback book with my name on the spine in a real bookshop. One day…
Anyway I am proud that I have come this far and, without wishing to sound vain, I think this book is actually quite good. So please download, have a read and let me know what you think. Leave a review if you like it…I hope you like it…

You can download my book to your ereader (Kindle, iPad etc.) from HERE. It will soon be available from the iBook store, Amazon and other retailers (I will keep you posted). It costs the princely sum of $2.99!
UPDATE: Now available on Amazon UK HERE and AMAZON US HERE…Happy Reading!

The Last Englishman and the Bubble

Is Kris the last man on Earth? He is an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. He types his story as he struggles to understand why he has been left alone. Why does he live in a shack on a lonely Norfolk beach? What happened to the love of his life Samantha? How does he survive alone in a desolate England populated by packs of wild dogs? What event caused everyone to disappear? And ultimately, will Kris die alone with no one to read his story?

© 2013 Simon Poore