The Virtual Library
I spent a very frustrating few hours trying to find eBooks last night. The system, it seems, is in hopeless disarray. My Sony eReader operates with ePub, a format taken up by Waterstone, and according to the opening page of the online library, WH Smith and, er, Mills & Boon.
WH Smith has a good website but, not being an Andy McNab fan, there’s hardly a single book I want to buy there. The Waterstone site is a total disgrace, offering the worst possible buying experience for eReading. It’s almost impossible to easily find out what’s available.
Amazon’s Kindle store is very user-friendly and has a slightly better selection, but boy, you can see the authors who don’t have deals negotiated (for example, there’s just one minor James Ellroy book on offer). The US is far ahead of us in this respect – their deals have been negotiated and the books are available.
So where does that leave UK eReading right now? Well, eReaders are fine if you want casual current fiction, but my suggestion, for what it’s worth, is to use your virtual library as a backup for your paper library and not the other way around. The rare gems that make up a good library are for the collecting few, not the mass-market many.
My photo shows the lovely Waterstone bookshop in Gower St, London – as impossible to negotiate as their site, but a hell of a lot more fun.