The website of David F Porteous
I’m in the process of giving away all my books to charity shops. You’re astonished – I can sense it.
But the technology has finally caught up with my dislike of clutter and that’s all books are. However much I enjoy the words contained in a book, when I’m done with it, the paper thing just becomes inconvenient.
Late last year I made the decision to get rid of books, CDs and DVDs altogether. This has been a slow, painful process. I can’t bring myself to part with The West Wing or the collected works of the Brothers Grimm that I got as a child (that book has my name on it, and the address I lived at three houses ago). But the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike and almost everything else will be sold, given away or thrown out.
With an iPhone, a Kindle and a laptop, I don’t need physical media any more. E-content is cheaper to market, to stock, and to supply – that should mean lower cost to consumers (me) with no reduction in revenue to content creators (also me). So it should be obvious that what I want is the same quality of product, for a lower price, immediately.
I have great hope that one day my children, or my children’s children, will be able to purchase a 1980s movie or TV series from iTunes for less than twice the price of the DVD on Amazon. I have a dream of a world where Steve Jobs isn’t constantly trying to shaft me on margin, just because I like his product design.
So – buy my book on Kindle.
The structure of the print-on-demand publishers I work with is such that in the US you can get a physical copy of my book for $7.95. That’s pretty good, but it means you can only get it from Amazon – it’s too cheap for it to be sold anywhere else. In the UK if you want a paper copy then it’s going to cost you £8.95; which isn’t as good, and I don’t mind saying it, because the price and even the shape of the book are substantially dictated by economies of scale and I believe it’s the best I can do.
By comparison, the Kindle prices for Singular are a bargain. In the US - $2.99. In the UK - £1.90. Those kinds of discounts aren’t a-typical of the market, either. If you’re a voracious reader, a Kindle could pay for itself in a year.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go burn a copy of Being And Nothingness (in which my much younger self made copious, ill-advised margin notes in red pen).
10/4/2011 07:06:53 am
As a recent kindle purchaser although its a lovely gadget books are still better as they provide no source of frustration for ease of use. Keep your favourite books and use them as coasters to provide them with a dual purpose outside of clutter.
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