…But we’re joining the party all the same. Breaking with our usual schedule this week we’ll bring you posts and be twittering at #notlbf and @i_ebookreview on all aspects of the digital revolution as it pertains to writers.
Today gives you a taster of what’s to come, allowing you to schedule us into your busy life over the next few days whether or not you are a participant, and where-ever in the world you happen to be.
Tomorrow, (Sunday) because most of us cannot afford the £400 to attend the DigiMinds Conference (seriously, £400?) to talk about the pertinent issues of ebook publishing, we’ll offer the first of our weekly reviews THE GOOGLE QUESTIONS by Alan Pearce.
This is a truly revolutionary ebook. It brings interactivity on a whole new level, segued in to the disturbing, but all too plausible, dystopian vision of our contemporary world. There’s a YouTube ending. (in fact a choice of endings) I’m not going to give you the links because I don’t want to spoil the adventure for you! But it’s a really interactive experience. ( I think they are calling this transmedia these days?) He’s indexed all the links, so if you DO have to read it without the interactivity you can still attach yourself to a computer and check them out. It’s interactivity on a whole new level.
In a vindication of the theory that you could give out the assignment ‘write a dystopic novel drawing on the spirit of George Orwell but relevant to our contemporary world’
BRAND LOYALTY by Cally Phillips sits on a virtual shelf beside THE GOOGLE QUESTIONS. The two novels offer two distinct views, two very different authorial voices, but both using the e-book medium to convey great stories about our interaction with the digital revolution we are living through. I wonder if things were this exciting in Caxton’s time? We are living in, and through, history and IEBR invites you to join that party this week.
On Monday we’ll be tweeting through the day, and in the afternoon will offer a blog post open for comments on issues concerning pricing, marketing and how to get people to sit up and take notice. We’ll draw on the experience of John A.A.Logan and his fantastic novel
THE SURVIVAL OF THOMAS FORD and how it climbed (or how he pushed it) up the Everest of the Amazon Book Charts. And the price he paid for his ‘success.’
On Tuesday we continue with the theme that ebooks can be successful. (as well as of good quality and an excellent read) Our review is THE EXPLODING BOY (and other tiny tales) by Nick Parker who found success for his volume of short stories and critical acclaim from none other than the Guardian.There’s plenty of other comments including ‘Astonishing. Proves that the short story is still a public good.’ Ian Sansom, The Guardian. ‘Short, clever, oblique; what the form is for.’ said QI’s John Mitchinson. These stories have appeared all over the place, including: BBC Radio 4, on McSweeneys.com, in Ambit, The Enthusiast Almanack and in various anthologies. And they are now available as an ebook. I rest my case that ebooks aren’t solely the province of second rate writing. The e-book offers a place for writing which has been published elsewhere, at different times and in different formats and there’s GOOD stuff out there too. If an ebook isn’t IN YOUR FACE it may just mean that the writer doesn’t have the kind of budget to put it IN YOUR FACE. If you like Parker’s stories you’ll also probably enjoy
THEY ALL DIE AT THE END by Peter Tarnofsky.His short story collection hasn’t achieved the same level of critical acclaim (yet) but it really should. The man is an excellent storyteller. And the literary conceit behind his work is both interesting and important. And very funny. He also writes stories for children.
On Wednesday we reveal yet another face to ebooks. LEARNING NOT TO BE FIRST.. is a biography of Christina Rossetti by Kathleen Jones. It is out of print… and possibly not easy to source second hand but here it is, available on your ebook, complete with illustrations. Maybe it’s not like holding a hardback but it IS available and you can download it and read it nonetheless. Another plus for ebooks.
In the UK unless you have an ipad you probably don’t realise the potential for pictures and colour in an ebook, any more than you might have thought of the interactivity they offer. But it’s time to start dreaming, not time to find faults!
On Thursday it’s open house again. Twitter away and blog to your hearts content. Here at IEBR we are trying to create a place where readers can find really good ebooks, across a variety of genres and outside traditional genres. They are often the kind of books that don’t leap out and hit you because the writers are not putting all their efforts into marketing. In the two months since IEBR started I’ve been surprised by how many really strong submissions we’ve had, and how, once you get into the pioneer spirit and start LOOKING for them, you can find some excellent work (all of it under priced IMHO). This week, if you take advantage of the reviews (The Google Questions and The Survival of Thomas Ford are free for the duration of the London Book Fair) and download some or all of our choices, you’ll see that there really is a whole new world of reading out there for you.
At IEBR we try to stay away from the constant vicious, circular arguments about quality,price, death of publishing etc preferring to focus on ‘what the ebook CAN do for you.’ Of course there are many serious issues to be ironed out, but here we just want to showcase what we think is good and help people make informed choices about things they might want to read – we’re here for a good time and hopefully for a long time.
We like to offer you work from the road less travelled. Unique works by people who either through choice or circumstance don’t ‘play by the rules’. Please browse our virtual bookshelf for reviews across a range of areas from contemporary fiction to non fiction, from childrens/Young adults to short stories. There really should be something for everyone on this site. And I wager that most of them are cheaper than a cup of coffee at the London Book Fair!
We hope you enjoy the mother of all 6 day virtual parties…. and at the end there’s no hangover, just a load of new books to read and new virtual ‘friend’s made.
Cally Phillips (editor)
PS: I love REAL books. But ebooks are here. They have their place. They have much to offer. They are a part of our future. Like all technology, they are a tool which you can harness to make more of your cultural experience, if you so choose. We hope through this coming week and on the site in general, to have shown you some ways in which ebooks might have something to offer you both as a reader, and possibly as a writer.