Tag Archives: e books

Is the Paperback Book nearly Extinct?

Is the paperback a dying breed? In twenty five years time will pristine copies of certain paperbacks be auctioned on the Antiques Road Show and will people be remarking,

‘I took one just like that to the Oxfam shop twenty years ago. I knew I should have kept it!’

I personally don’t think so. What will you take to read to the beach? Or will it be frowned upon by then to relax at the sea side, even with a sunshade? I certainly wouldn’t leave my latest e reader or Kindle hidden under my towel while I have a swim. Would you?

When on holiday, I love to browse in gift shops and book shops for a local flavour, both in fiction and non-fiction. A click of a few buttons on Kindle just doesn’t do anything for me to fill that gap. I know we’ve got at least ten walking books in Cornwall which we always forget to take with us but that’s not the point. What else would fill an inclement afternoon with the same amount of pleasure?

When there’s nothing on TV, and even with all these Freeview channels there’s still little to inspire me at times, and I’ve been staring at a computer screen all day, the last thing I want to do is curl up on the sofa with yet another screen.

I was talking to a fellow lover of real books in Horatio’s on Saturday, who was also devastated that the Ampthill bookshop is closing, and she said she’d always prefer to enjoy the feel and weight of a real book. It’s a pleasure turning the pages in anticipation of more delight or excitement, secure in the knowledge that you’re not even half way through and there’s so much more to enjoy. Then there’s the tension as you are nearing the last few pages. Should you save it for another day and switch off the light or snuggle further down under the covers until the last sentence is read? Will we have a voice a bit like a bored Sat Nav speaker saying in stilted English, ‘YOU NOW HAVE 27% REMAINING.’

I’ve read that there will be fewer paperbooks but, to satisfy our unquenchable thirst for tomes to fill our bookshelves, hardback books will return to popularity and you’ll only keep copies of those really precious reads you’re likely to revisit, or ones which remind you of a particular phase in your life. You see, a bookshelf is a bit like a record collection; it tells another story of your life and gives away some of your secrets.

‘I never in a million years thought you’d read ‘Chick Lit!’

‘Oh, you know how it is.’ I reply red-faced. ‘It’s sometimes good to relax with something light and humorous!’

So, I believe that the paperback book is still worth backing. I’ve decided that my next novel, which I hope to tell you a little more about shortly, will be published in both paperback and as an e book. It is also tempting to read the signs and plan for a limited Christmas edition in hardback too.

Watch this space!

If you would like a direct email about my next novel then please send me your email address by email or contact me via Twitter messages or Facebook.


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Look forward to hearing from you.

All the best


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Horatio’s Independent Bookshop, Ampthill, Closing at the End of March

Happy Memories at Horatio's Bookshop

Happy Memories at Horatio's Bookshop

When I heard the news that Horatio’s, Ampthill’s independent bookshop, was closing at the end of March I felt as if a friend had died. I have happy memories of my first ever book signing event when I was made so welcome by the proprietors, friends and strangers alike; a wonderfully protective environment for my initial meeting of the public.

I went in to talk to Rob this Saturday and the place was buzzing with people, a far cry from recent visits when we’d have a long natter about the publishing world, book selling, e books and e commerce. Rob explained that he’d given the place three years to prove that it could be viable, including evenings of book ordering, planning and family discussion of ideas to improve the store; every Saturday and for a while Sunday at the shop on top of a full time job elsewhere. You see it was very much a family venture and I admire each member for their enthusiasm to make the project work.

Is this a sign of the end of the independent bookshop?

Are we, the public to blame?

Do we treasure our local shops and facilities or do we take them for granted?

Is the end of the paperback book in sight as the e revolution grows and grows?

After posing these questions I thought of the significant events of the last three years which have a bearing on the argument.

• We have experienced a recession and yet Waitrose car park is still full to overflowing most Saturdays. How many of those shoppers think of the interesting and varied shops a few minutes from the car park, or do we all too often walk past quickly on our way to the bank machine, chemist or Post Office?

• Kindle has been launched on the world. I still have my gift of a Kindle sitting here unused. We have no Wi Fi you see, and so I cannot use it. Is it 20% of the book market now through e books? That still leaves a large market for the real thing doesn’t it? Would you like an ebook for a birthday present? Would you treasure those ebooks you love in the same way you see the books on your bookshelves – memories of a moment in your history?

• Was the demise of Borders a sign of things to come? I still believe that there is a place in the world for bookshops to browse and choose books with relish, savouring the moments of being surrounded by a world of literacy and information. Nevertheless the internet has certainly revolutionised the way we shop. It is excellent to browse what there is on offer; to make choices in the comfort of your own home. If you’ve read two books in a series and you want to start the next, it is certainly great to click a few buttons and it’s on your doorstep within a day or so, (or instantly as an e book for those of you already switched on) but can you make the same judgement about a book unknown to you or do you rely on reviews?

I would like to say a big thank  you to Rob and all his family for giving up their time for the people Ampthill, Maulden, Flitwick and surrounding villages and for adding such a special place to Amptill over the past few years. A bookshop is not just a business it is a service to the community.

My next blog will be about why I think real books will survive but the message to all of you in towns and villages around the country if you have a local store, bookshops or otherwise:


And I’m ashamed to say that, to our cost, we have!

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The Six Book Challenge 2012 – Challenging Ways to Encourage Young People to Read


Since I teach 16 to 19 year olds I believe that it’s so important to encourage young people to read more, but what can we do? Here are a few of my thought about it:

  • In this case recent technology has helped. It’s cool to read on an i reader or i pad! (or ‘sick’ one lad keeps saying at college and I have to think twice before I realise that he is being complementary) With the e book revolution  and so many free or very cheap books to download, reading has suddenly become a more attractive option for teenagers and however much I support real books, bookshops and libraries, it’s reading that’s the most important factor here. My only fear is the quality of what’s being read. I cannot judge since I still do not have my Kindle up and running due to not having Wi Fi, but I’ve heard many complaints from others about poor English and stories riddled with mistakes.  I’m sure there’s  a lot of excellent literature out there at 99p or even free but how can we guide teenagers to be discerning? Is it really important so long as they are enjoying reading?


  • The second factor increasing the popularity of reading for young people is the emergence of the Novella or short novels. These are stories of less than 50,000 words which you could read in one sitting, on a train journey for example; appealing in this world where everything has to be instant.


  • Collections of short stories are more in vogue! That’s great for a reluctant reader too.


  • With so many YA books now on the market this is the best time to encourage our youth to explore the amazing world of print, whether it be in ebook form or real books.


In my work with sixteen to nineteen year olds at college I come across young people who are so used to skimming the internet, only reading brief posts by family and friends on facebook and worse still in text form, so that they never sit down to read anything thoroughly, only gleaning the briefest idea of the meaning before moving on.

I think the ‘Six Book Challenge 2012’ is a fantastic idea, especially for young people who have never got into a regular habit of reading. I aim to work with our college library and have a competition for the first six students to meet the challenge by giving me their book reviews in any format, verbally if they like.

 I’ll let you know how it goes!

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