As you might already know, yesterday our very own Sarah Odedina was featured in The Telegraph commenting on the Publishers Association’s news that sales of children’s e-books were nearly triple what they were this time last year. Sarah (and the rest of us) think this is “marvellous” and (as we’ve said before) it’s not HOW children read that’s important – just the fact that they’re reading is.
However, not everyone is so sure. In the same article, Joan Brady said that she felt: “There is a certain amount of gravitas to a page that you don’t get on a screen” and I stumbled upon this article yesterday too, in which author David Gaughran ponders whether e-books are killing the ‘literary’ novel.
David actually concludes that no, e-books are not doing literary titles any harm – their lack of popularity in the charts is mainly due to fans of literary books being a bit more reluctant to buy downloads (but they’re getting there), and that publishers are unsure about how to market literary e-book titles.
I can definitely see where he’s coming from – I was recently desperate to read Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue, but rather than simply download it and access it immediately, I waited to get hold of one of the new special-edition hardbacks Virago has just released. I suppose that was because I wanted to have the book on my shelf (it is exceptionally pretty) and I felt willing to wait – and pay more – for what I was fairly certain would be a classic book.
But that said, digital publishing is becoming more and more exciting, and recently I actually seriously considered buying an iPad just so I could download the multi-touch edition of Maggot Moon (if you have an iPad, DO IT, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED). I wish I was exaggerating. Sorry bank manager.
So maybe it is a case of how we publishers go about producing and marketing our more literary titles in digital format. Luckily here at Hot Key towers ALL of our books will be available in e-book format (this was one of David’s complaints – many publishers don’t convert titles into digital format, especially back-list ones) and our multi-touch editions are actually focusing on our more literary titles.
So, we hope as ever that we can be considered to be leading the way in how digital books are produced, marketed and consumed… but let us know!