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The popularity of e-booksAs the first self-published author to sell one million e-books is named (American writer sells a million), we explore the popularity of these paperless documents.

The concept of e-books is not a recent phenomenon.  Indeed, in 1971 Michael S. Hart launched ‘Project Gutenberg’.  Its aim was to archive works digitally and therefore allow a wider-distribution of the books.  There are now over 34,000 items digitally stored by this project.

As the decades wore on, we saw the introduction of books on CD-ROM; available as full texts online; and eventually the download era woke up to the prospect that more than music and movies might be popular.

It is not only printed books which are available as e-books.  Authors are now starting to write specifically for the e-book market, bypassing the expense of hard-print publications.

In recent articles (Bloomsbury reports big rise in e-book sales, Digital book sales increase in UK ) we have already noticed the increasing desire to buy reading material in e-book format.

With the trend of modern life to be sat in front on a computer screen; carry smartphones and keep on the move with limited baggage, it really is no wonder that more and more people are turning to electronic reading.

E-readers are continually being developed and redeveloped to ensure maximum efficiency – larger screen sizes, lighter weight, strong textual colours; anti-glare systems, water/shock/dirt-proof: promotions pushing their suitability in different situations  ‘great for holiday travel’, ‘ideal for those intense commutes’…

Many campaigns are underway to introduce children to the love of reading (Duchess of Cornwall promotes reading, New reading project to help children in London) – what better way than to mix English Literature with the technological world they love to be part of?

E-books are more and more becoming the preferred choice of ‘book’.

Yet what are the arguments against them?

For those of use who are nostalgic, we miss the bulk of the book, the feel of paper between our fingers and the ability to see and indeed feel our progress through a book – a screen informing us we have completed 37% of the book is not the same as turning individual pages.

Paper books are also a way of slowing down the pace of life, allowing us to step away from the digital world in which we now live.

We stare at screens at work, why would we then want to stare up close at another screen?

Despite the increasing popularity of electronic readers, will hard-copy books ever be replaced?  The answer, for the present, is no.

Written word has been documented over the millenia on stone, wood, paper, ceramics – and many of their writings are still legible today.  Computer technology in comparison has been around for an insignificant amount of time.

We do not know how long this current phase will last.  I, for one, will continue to use both online and hard-based means of documentation.

According to the online Oxford Dictionary a book is ‘a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers’.

For how much longer will this definition stand?

Laura Scott

Denny Bradbury’s latest novel ‘Borvo‘ will be available in both print and as an e-book.

To purchase one of Denny’s books please click on the images below or contact Denny directly at email denisebradbury@btinternet.com.
The Reunion Denagerie of Poems by Denny Bradbury