Monday, 30 July 2012

In defence and celebration of e-books

I may be a little controversial here but I do feel strongly about this topic. The debate on e-books continues and falls mainly into two camps.

  1. Readers (human) who swear by the printed book and who shudder at the thought of not holding a 'proper' book in their hands.
  2. Readers (human) who use a reader (electronic) to read the printed word digitally.

I want to look at some of the pros and cons of each.
Paper books.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like a book in my hand as much as anyone; the suspense as you hurry through the pages, turn the page, and stay gripped while you chew on a sweet, take a slurp - sorry, sip - of wine, bite your nails etc., is not to be underestimated. The joy of running your finger along the spines of a row of books on the bookshelf, pausing to select one, pull it out, and browse, cannot be described fully.

But wait! You want to read your current book on the train or plane. The book you are in the middle of is quite bulky, you struggle to fit in in your bag or case, horror of horrors, your case is overweight and you have to leave it behind. Even if you do manage to fit the book in to your bag or case, while you sit in your confined space on the aeroplane there is little room to spread out while you turn the pages. The passenger in the next seat turns the page of his/her newspaper and knocks your drink over - all down the page you are reading. Disaster!

Enter the e-reader. A quick and convenient way to carry a book for other situations than being curled up in bed or a chair. And, do you know? You can load a massive number of books onto that little oblong item. It could even fit into your pocket. Increasingly, at airports men pop their Kindle into their jacket pocket in-between airport checks or pop them into their hand luggage. Ladies can easily slip them into their briefcase or bags. (We ladies don't seem to have the wealth of pockets that men do somehow.)

Some people find them much easier to use when reading in bed. There is no problem turning pages and holding them down. A quick flick of a button or touch on the screen  and, job done. There is no glare on a Kindle when reading outside in sunshine as there is with a Net book or laptop.

Another aspect of e-readers is the versatility.

It is surprising how many people say to me at book events " Oh, I don't read books."  They probably read newspapers and magazines and search the web to read information, but books? Shock horror! I do wonder if they have a reading difficulty which was not addressed in school or even worse, were they made fun of in class because they were not as fast as others? That is a huge barrier to reading. One which an e-reader can help them to overcome.

A stack of pages between two thick paper covers can  be daunting - a lot to digest. A bit like a huge plate of food that you are expected to eat when really, you would prefer to help yourself to a little at a time. It is the same with an e-book downloaded onto an e-reader like Kindle, iPad, Kobo, even an app (Kindle,Kobo,iTunes etc.) onto your PC. All you see and have to digest mentally is one page at a time. All you actually see while you are reading is one page at a time. It is non-threatening. You feel that you could perhaps tackle that story which everyone is talking about. It makes no difference whether there are two pages, twenty-two or a thousand. All you are being asked to digest mentally and psychologically is one page.

A scenario.
Actually, you have been clever. You do not have an e-reader but you do have a smart phone. You are quite savvy with all these technological innovations and find that downloading from the Internet is child's play. So here you are with a 'book' tucked away on your phone. No-one can laugh at you now; you could be reading anything. It is private and you can soon switch off if someone comes.

Soon, you are absorbed in the story. You are sitting on a park bench; you may be strap-hanging on the tube; you are reading.

And that is the important thing. Reading;finding information;getting lost in a story which transports you away from daily cares.

Another scenario is that you might have sight difficulties and find that the small print in most books is hard to see. Even with spectacles. Your eyes are tired after a long day at work. You possibly need a large print. You do not go into the library to ask for a large-print book. "Good heavens no." I can hear you say. "That is embarrassing." It is also another barrier. So you do not bother. What a shame. You are missing out on so much. There is a hazy screen between you and that huge world of information out there. It is like being on the edge of a forest and you are frightened to venture in.

An e-reader has a useful function of making the size of letters larger. The letter size is called the font size. (The font is the style of the letter.) You can also change the background from white with black letters to black with white letters or sepia - a fawn colour - with black letters. You can make the reading experience your own as you adjust everything to suit.

"But with a printed book, I can put a bookmark in it to tell me where I am up to." Well, you know what? You can do this with some e-readers. And you can make notes as you bookmark pages. Excellent for research and reference.

I for one do not believe that digital e-books will ever replace the printed word. E-books allow another type of reading experience and do, I am convinced, reach out to a new audience. That is why I have published all my books in all formats ( Print, Kindle,*PDF and e-pub ) for a wider readership.
It is the reading that is important. I cannot imagine what it would be like not to be able to read and interact with people as I absorb information and news. Or go off into my dream world as I escape daily cares and relax.

Reports say that those who read e-books actually read more than they did before. That is interesting. It appears that they are enjoying the experience.Some people may want a physical copy of the one they have read digitally.  Who knows one day, they may feel confident to venture across the threshold of an actual bookshop, browse the shelves, and buy a book. A 'proper book'! And while they are there, they may, if they are lucky, be able to download another e-book or two onto their e-reader.

You see, they want some books in print and some stored on their reader. For different situations. But they want books. They want to read. Let's celebrate that!


Rosalie xx

Saturday, 14 July 2012

An amazing week.

It was all systems go this week and some flexibility of schedule. OH rang on Wednesday from town. Writing went on the back burner for the day while we chilled out for lunch. (We had a voucher which just had to be used up! Know what I mean?)  
We then meandered down the A41 to Grindley Brook, Whitchurch to watch the boats going through the staircase locks. Such a tranquil way to spend a few days. Of course we had some Cheshire Farm ice cream while we watched the locks open and close and the boats gliding through the murky water. 

Memories! Memories of our canal boat holiday when the children were small and we glided slowly through the Llangollen Canal, over the famous Pontycysyllte Aquaduct over the DeeValley to the Shropshire Union Canal and through these very locks. They are called staircase locks as there are a few in succession going up or down-depending which way you are going- like a staircase.

Thursday brought the book event at the new Writer's Cafe in a sunny but quiet Penmaenmawr. Out on the pavement in the flower-decked arcade of shops, I met some lovely people including some visitors from Waterford, Ireland. 

Back home it was time to get glammed up and off into the hills and the beautiful Vale of Clwyd!.  I was very honoured to be included in  a business dinner/discussion in the evening where I gained more insights into changes in education in Wales today. Some truly innovative contributions and an amazing evening. The Nant-y-Garth Pass on the way home in the dark was another matter. I chose that route over the Mold one as they had taken the top off the road between Llanferres and Clwyd Gate high above the valley for re-surfacing, and with the ramps and bends decided to go the other way via Ruthin.  An altogether challenging drive home with two and a half miles of switchback bends through the forest and no lights! It was very misty on the top at Bwlchgwyn with swirls of white stuff floating eerily towards me only to disappear like a puff of smoke. 
Chilling out on Friday, I was all geared up for writing today (Saturday). 

Skills for Employability Part Two: Moving into Employment is scheduled for November release but we are hoping that we can bring it forward due to other developments on the horizon. As with all our other titles, it will be on Kindle; e-Pub on Smashwords for Apple, Sony, Kobo, Nook, Diesel, Blio and others and shipping to these e-stores for direct download.  
Family matters beckon tomorrow and looking forward to the day.   

Next job is to up load the Italian Lakes and Dolomites video for editing and then move on with the Long Leg of Italy.
Retirement? What is that? Too busy to get old!
Rosalie xx

Monday, 9 July 2012

Music, book events and more.

Good Morning to you all!
Even though there are grey skies here in the UK we always look for that little bit of sunshine amid the clouds.
This week, there is lots happening as I am having a book event at the new Writer's Cafe in the Becws Alun Artisan Bakery shop in Penmaenmawr. I do hope that you can pop in and have your copy of any of my titles signed. Alan and Wendy have them on sale there all the time now. The cafe is in a quiet area at the back of the shop overlooking the sea. A wonderful setting in which to relax in the changing scenery. 
Follow the link above for more information and video book trailer.

Then I am taking part in a business discussion on Youth Employability. This is a subject close to my heart and the basis of my Skills for Employability and self development books. It is a problem which seems to grow in spite of the many who are employable and do find jobs and a worthwhile future.
Last week ended with a very busy Sunday. After our Gold Wing meeting at Petrolheads Cafe (bike friendly) in Flintshire, we had lunch at the Egerton Arms in Cheshire before relaxing to watch the nail-biting Wimbledon final. What a match!
We had tickets for the latest Wrexham Symphony Orchestra concert at the William Aston Hall in Glyndwr University. We think that this is the last concert, at least for a while, for grandson James who is hoping to go to Manchester University to take up a music degree - exam results will decide that but we have every faith. It seems as if I have been going to concerts there forever as his Mum played the clarinet in concerts there. So wonderful to see the changes, development and opportunities now. 
The programmes are attracting top class conductors. Last night, under the baton of conductor Richard Howarth,we were Richardtreated to a solo performance by the young and talented Lucy Arch for the Elgar Cello Concerto in E Minor. In the Vaughan Williams Overture "The Wasps" these talented musicians actually made their violins sound as if there was a swarm of wasps buzzing around. Amazing! the programme ended with another Vaughan Williams piece:Job, A Masque for Dancing. Such professionalism from these musicians young and not so young.
There is such talent here in the hills of North Wales!
The next concert in November has another big programme. The Cobalz/Wrexham Symphony Orchestra Mahler Project. Mahler: Symphony No. 3 with Conductor: Kenneth Woods

Have a lovely week.
Rosalie xx

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Special Summer Savings on Just Us Two e-Books

**Special Savings through July 1st to July 31st  on Just Us Two Books e-Books from Smashwords. 
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Just Us Two:Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery (Second Edition)
Chasing Rainbows:with Just Us Two 

Also at Amazon for Kindle or Kindle Apps
Just Us Two:Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery (Second Edition)
Chasing Rainbows:with Just Us Two

Rosalie x