I know the evidence suggests otherwise, the rapid uptake of Kindles in the UK has been nothing short of a phenomenon.
Downloaded books now sell more than printed books on Amazon & Waterstones.
And my own personal experience has shown that since owning one (From August this year) I have read seven books! Seven books in two months!! That’s six more books than I managed to read from Jan to July this year.
I’m reading loads! How on earth can this be a bad thing for people who write books??
But I don’t think there is a problem for big name authors, but I worry for new authors, the writers of break-out novels who spring from nowhere and are suddenly overnight in everyone’s hands.
Because the problem is not in the way I read books – Kindle is hands-down a better format for me and how I live my life. But in how I find out about what books to read.
On paper there are loads of ways I can find out what to read:
The Sunday Times has a top 10 and a comprehensive weekly review of the great and the good of the literary world. But can I be honest and say I’m lucky if I manage to read the front page headlines and the Mrs Mills column each week. Sunday newspapers are like my lettuce – bought with the greatest of intentions and chucked out 7 days later unused.
I subscribe to The Guardian Culture weekly e-mail; but my mailbox is so often over-capacity that it is the first thing to be sacrificed for the ability to check my blackberry.
And even Kindle itself has a Top 10 books list I could choose from. But driven by volume – what are most people reading. I don’t want what most people want. Most people want Jackie Collins or Jeffrey Archer.
They are all missing out on the biggest source of book recommendation I have ever used.
What are people on my tube reading?
It’s true! I occasionally have bouts of individualism; but for years, my shorthand on what to read next came from my fellow commuters.
It’s following the Herd, but a very specific herd.
I figure that people, who get on the same stop as me and travel the same route as me, can’t be that different from me. Of course I will make my own selective judgments on top of this, what are they wearing, what do they say to their partner on the tube, where they get off etc. But they all boil down to enabling me to make a very quick judgment on what to read next.
And the kindle cuts off my supply chain of recommendation! I can’t see what people are reading!
I’ve tried. Peering over people’s shoulders, but it’s not the same.
So I fear for the new author, the one without the big marketing budget behind them, without the paparazzi exciting name. Because how will they get me to read them? How will they get the Herd to stampede?
Posted By Jen Smith