SEPARATE WAYS

There was a story run at the BBC yesterday about how... actually, I had best quote this:

"Self-publishing authors whose work is available from Kindle's library and membership platforms will only receive royalties for the pages of their books that are actually read, Amazon has announced."

Interesting proposal huh. When I first read it, I interpreted it as 'the reader will only pay for the amount of pages they have read', but I read it wrong. Regardless of what the reader has paid for it, it's the author that will not be paid the full amount if their book is found wanting. A part of me thinks this is a good thing but only because the optimist in me thinks it will keep a lid on the junk, but the reality of the situation is the cats are already out of the bag. So far as I can see from the (extremely) limited number (two) of obviously self published books I've read, this is nothing but a heralding of page one to be loaded with sex, page two with a fight, page three with a car chase and so on - do people write car chases? I'm not sure I've ever read one - if I did, I forgot about it, but you get the point.

There's a part of me thinks this will make writers write in a certain way in order to sell books. Take a novel like Catcher In The Rye - would many people get past the first three pages? That takes a while to pick up the pace. Mockingbird would be sunk without a trace... but maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this is what the world needs. A huge spike driven between real books and not so real books, but who decides what's good and what isn't anymore - and is it one step away from applying the same model to 'properly' published books? That would see the publishing companies building their own platforms and apps pretty damn fast if they're not already.

All any of us want is to escape into a good fucking story, surely?

Anyway, like I said a couple of days ago.. ebooks are a gateway drug to not reading at all, but possibly even more importantly, the whole ethos of the kindle (and other things that look like Fisher Price designed them) is killing things like this:

Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura. Rio De Janeiro. Photo: Os Rúpias

Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura. Rio De Janeiro. Photo: Os Rúpias

and this:

Strahov Theological Hall. Prague. Photo: Rafael Ferreira

Strahov Theological Hall. Prague. Photo: Rafael Ferreira

That's right. The people before us created the things you see above, but this is what we will be leaving behind as our legacy:

Stop it.