Downloading Christmas

Red-Christmas-decorations-christmas-22228015-1920-1200Christmas is just around the corner and as usual I have found myself jotting down a list of what to ask ‘Father Christmas’ for. But this year is different to previous ones as I can guess quite accurately what I’ll be receiving – vouchers. With each holiday that passes I find my pile of presents decrease and a small stack of envelopes in their place; gone is the excitement of tearing open the wrapper and finding the long awaited gift, and in are the paper cuts as I slide my fingers in to the pouch to reveal yet another Amazon or iTunes card. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate anything that isn’t a lump of coal, but it does take the excitement out of it when it is all you’re faced with.

In some ways vouchers are the perfect present, they require little thought, easy access and a content recipient, but there is a small sadness in instead of receiving a brand new book, you are given a Kindle voucher. Society seems to have changed so much that all our gifts to one another are digital; even the film industry has taken advantage of this as Lovefilm and Netflix have started to provide their own gift cards.

voucher_2monthsOf course there are differing opinions as to whether ‘digital presents’ are a good idea or not, for some they provide a range of choice, the receiver can choose whatever they like to be their gift and there’s a smaller chance of disappointment; for others they provide yet another decision to make in a day, sometimes it’s nice not to have to decide what to get, or to do, but to be provided with one option.

iTunes gift vouchers-580-90At the moment I am in the belief that the best option is that which allows you to enjoy Christmas, whether that be spending time choosing individual gifts, or taking the stress away with vouchers, after all presents are not what Christmas is truly about. Is it?

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Is it Farewell to our Beloved Paperback?

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Because of my love of books I had always been adamant that I would never succumb to the technological revolution that is the e-book, but after being given a Kindle last Christmas I found my resolve wavering. Throughout the day I examined my new toy and despite myself I was excited by what I found. As a fan of the classics I was pleased to discover that most of them came free, and I immediately found myself downloading several that caught my eye including ‘Les Miserables‘, ‘Northanger Abbey‘, and ‘A Tale of Two Cities‘. The more I looked the more I came to realise the Kindle isn’t the horror to literature as I thought. As a student I find it difficult to afford all the books I want to read but here was a cheaper way to expand my novel collection. Not too long afterwards I was downloading ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘ and more recently Veronica Roth‘s ‘Divergent‘ series. I find that it works well as a tester, if I fall in love with the story it will be then that I purchase the real book.

I can now also see how this technology can benefit the public, it makes people excited to read again; everyone wants to be up to date with latest gadgets and having this available makes it fashionable to have your nose stuck in a book. The possibilities of this revolution are endless.

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However just because I now know that there are benefits to the e-book doesn’t mean I’m a full convert. One of the joys of reading comes from purchasing a beautifully bound story where you can feel the roughness of the paper in your fingertips; the warm, musty, smell is such a pleasure to anyone who loves the written word. It is for this reason that I believe we will not be saying goodbye to the paperback any time soon. There is too much love for the literal book that it won’t be allowed to be lost to computers. It will forever be left to the public to save it.

Is Amazon Destroying our Writers?

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Until recently I have loved using the Amazon site, having it as my go to destination for new books and other products. Its low prices are enticing for anyone, and as a student I have found its convenience unparalleled. However recently, after listening to a lecture on the dynamic company, I have come to realise that it is not as great as we have all been led to believe. For the consumer it works wonders, giving such a wide choice of books, with different prices for varying qualities and cheap, if not free delivery. It also provides synopses and reviews so you can read up before you purchase.

So what’s the harm? To a lot of people there is none, but for writers, Amazon is helping destroy many careers. Because they are an international company they are easily able to send their books all over the globe, as well as providing online via Kindles, doing this takes away each territorial right. Usually a writer would get paid for each country their book is released in but this has now been revoked due this scheme. As an aspiring author this is not good news for me or anyone else in my situation. It means that unless your novel is a raging success, it would be very difficult to have a career through it. So though it may be easier to get published (as an e-book) the royalties are lost.

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Since learning the lack of income writers get from this system I have made an effort to buy more of my books from stores instead, usually Waterstones but when possible I get them from independent stores. Unfortunately Amazon is still my main provider, due to cost and convenience, and it worries me that this will continue to be the way in the future.

We have to start to wonder whether our good writers will suffer and survive through the ‘Amazon Revolution’.

One ‘pro’ of Amazon is their imagination and communication with the public, it can be very enticing