Sunday, May 2, 2010
New trends for books
Copies of my latest novel, A Type of Beauty, the story of Kathleen Newton (1854-1882) have arrived from printers and are waiting to be launched first at Listowel Writers Week (www.writersweek.ie) on 4 June and secondly at the National Yacht Club, Dunlaoghaire (www.nyc.ie) on 18 June. The books look terrific – you don’t realise how wonderful a product a book is until you hold it.
Currently, I am particulalry interested in where the book publishing and book selling business is heading. The scenario has changed radically over the past very few years. And not only in Ireland – it’s a worldwide phenomenon.
Bryan Appleyard’s rivetting piece in The Sunday Times Culture section dated 25/4/2010 is about the advent of the iPad which has him wondering is the book made of paper and board dead? I hope not. I love the physicality of picking up a book, browsing its pages, running the tips of my fingers over its surface, smelling the gorgeousness of fresh paper and print – and all that before reading!
Obviously, enthusiasm for the iPad depends on who you ask. Apple who make iPad and the various digital officers attached to the larger publishing houses are ecstatic. So what precisely is this iPad? Basically it offers a way of reading books. You download them and they appear on virtual wooden shelves on your screen. You turn the pages by flicking the screen.
It looks as though the iPad is here to stay. After three weeks, sales in the States are approaching 1m, whereas the estimate for sales of Kindle over 30 months is 3m. The ‘agent model’ adopted Apple looks as though it could be good news for writers. Apple takes 30% of the sale of their books; the author 25% and the remainder goes to the publisher, making the retailer the publisher and Apple acting as agent.
Keep reading and keep writing, and do make contact.