Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Are you ready for the e-book revolution in the UK?


Barnes and Noble bringing the Nook to the UK.

I like a print book as much as anyone does. I write and publish 'print' books. When my children were small, we spent hours in the peace and quiet of our local library. There is nothing like the smell, the feel, the look of all those patterns of letters on a page - or the horror as you mop up a splodge of coffee of your current passage as you juggle with holding the book open with one hand and a cup in the other.
I love to see the variety of colours cascading along my bookshelf and running my fingers along to remind myself of the delights inside those covers. The big glossy hardback books on gardening, places to visit, motorcycles etc. are for keeping to browse again and again.
Enter digital books or e-books.
I have written at some length about e-books. Like it or not, they are here to stay. In the US, they are huge.
In the UK, they have largely been in *pdf format until fairly recently, for reading on a PC or laptop computer. Many of us follow Twitter. We avidly follow Facebook and other social networking sites. People post links to articles of interest. We click on them and . .  we read. Digitally.

Fast forward to a different way of reading. The e-reader. Light, accessible, turn the page at the flick of the wrist. Convenient. Not just books, but newspapers and magazines as well. Imaging that on the train or Tube!

Nook - Now for the exciting news!
Barnes & Noble, a huge US retailer is bringing the Nook to the UK.  A big announcement in Publishers Weekly gave details. They have signed up with retailer John Lewis to sell Nook in their stores from the autumn. Also Barnes & Noble will be selling them and content (e-books) direct from a dedicated on line store www.nook.co.uk 
Amazon brought the Kindle to the UK not so long ago. Yes really! A matter of months in the general scheme of things. Before that, you couldn't buy one for delivery in the UK. Now we are taking them for granted. They claim to provide the best reading experience. You can also download an App to another e-reading device or PC (I have). Amazon signed up with our very own Waterstones a few months ago to sell Kindles with customers being able to download e-books alongside buying print.
iPad
Apple brought us their iPad and iPhones. Not just for downloading music from the iTunes store, they brought us access to a host of books from their iBookstore. You can download the App (I have) to another device such as PC.
Kobo offer a range of readers plus apps for downloading to other e-reading devices or PC. The Blackberry playbook tablet supports Kobo. Kobo already have a partnership with WHSmith to sell e-books. Go to the author page, e.g., Rosalie Marsh, and the links for e-books will take you to the Kobo store.
There are other e-readers such as Sony, Diesel, and Baker& Taylor Blio. All of these and the above, with the exception of Kindle, require that the author/publisher goes through a dedicated organisation who has an agreement to provide the e-books to them. These are called an aggregator. This meant that each e-retailer had to be approached independently.
Step in Smashwords. This US distributor of e-books has cracked it! They have agreements with all of the above, with the exception of Amazon (yet). You can download multiple formats directly from their site to your preferred reading format. On-line, ePub (all of the above apart from Kindle) Mobi (for Kindle) etc.
Or you can go to the on line shop for your reader such as Apple, Kobo, Nook etc.

Now for the real benefit which we are finding. The clever bit.
Because we are signed up with Smashwords and our books have passed all the stringent manual vetting tests, they have made it to the Premium Catalogue for shipping to the above organisations. And, because they are in the above on-line stores already, when those organisations sign up with partners retailer stores, they automatically become available through them.  All with one upload. That is something like having your cake and eating it. 
So glad we took the plunge because, if that is the way things are going and the printed word (reading) becomes ever more accessible in varied formats, well, we are up there ready and waiting for you to sample, click the button and download.

One more thing. All titles in the Christal Publishing e-book stable have their photos and images in colour. A small but important point. Makes for a more vibrant experience.

Have you all put an e-reader on your Christmas Pressy list for Santa?

Rosalie xx

P.S. Skills for Employability Part Two: Moving into Employment is now being released on September 6th (not November 1st) and will be in multiple e-book formats as the others are.