The eBook Gold Rush
Here’s something unexpected. A bunch of unlikely books like ‘Confessions of a GP’ and thrillers by mid-range author Stephen Leather have suddenly topped the charts in the UK, some without any publicity at all. Why? The low-priced Kindle is being given as a Christmas gift, and people are quickly chucking some titles onto it for seasonal reading, so they’re picking the titles that are cheap.
Publishers should have seen that one coming. Although no-one is releasing any figures, sales haven’t been good for eReaders in the UK partly because content has been so awkwardly divided between different devices. Said one publishing insider, ‘We’re in real danger of following the music industry here, who acted too late to sort out digital rights and lost out to endemic piracy.’
Having opened my luggage to find my Sony eReader broken, I’ve now succumbed to the butt-ugly but easy-to-use basic Kindle. Reviews for the Kindle Touch and Fire have been lousy, but there’s nothing else out there so light and portable. For me it will only ever be a back-up device to supplement books now – I’m over the hype, and among my friends I remain the sole user of such a device.
We’ll see if that changes after Christmas.