There’s Book Fairs and then there’s Book Fairs

Posted on 14 July 2010. Filed under: Buying Time | Tags: , , |

I have this love/hate relationship with book fairs. On the one hand they’re fantastic places to browse among books, get more stock and maybe meet some fellow book lovers. On the other hand they’re fabulous places to browse among books, pick up kilos of books, stretch my arms and spend too much money. I tend to go to these things with two thoughts in mind: the first is obvious, find more stock; but the second is to add to my already groaning bookshelves. I have far too many books, not all mine, but a fair few are and I don’t need to add to the weight.

I’ll digress for a moment and tell you the story about a library in America which was rebuilt at a massive cost. They put a lot of thought into it, it was a beautiful library and started sinking once they got all the books into it. They forgot to add the weight of the thousands of books in their collection to their calculations when working on their foundations so this fabulous library is sinking into the soil at a small rate each year. I’m not saying this will happen to my house, I’m just digressing and letting you come to your own conclusions.

Coming back to the book fairs, I’ll just get you to imagine a large room such as a church hall and fill it with tables upon tables which are filled to groaning with books, books and more books. Often the prices are very cheap and you can get decent books for a dollar or two, sometimes they’re sold by the inch and sometimes by the weight. At times you can get good bargains near the end and get books by the bag.

Here’s the other kind of book fair. It’s the one the publishing professionals attend and this year it’s in Hong Kong. They have all sorts of events happening there such as story-telling, author led-seminars, book sales and industry exhibits. It’s going to be massive, they’re talking about close to a million people in attendance and this year they’re going to be focussing on the digital market. As you probably know by now ebooks are the in-thing and it looks like they’re here to stay. Isaac Asimov was talking about them in his Foundation series which I read when I was in my teens so the idea has been around for at least 30 years (if you ask I’ll only admit to being 18). There has been a problem getting support for Chinese characters by certain ebook readers but I’m sure that’s just a matter of time before they realise that’s their biggest market and fix this issue.

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ebooks are becoming mainstream

Posted on 8 August 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

eBooks are become mainstream. They are something I’ve read about in science fiction and now they’re taking off. There’s a number of ways to read an eBook and some lovely person has created an entry in Wikipedia which includes the name of the device, who manufactured it and the date of manufacture. Linked from this page is this one which is a comparison of eBook formats.

I know some people are very upset about the loss of paper books, but there are some very good reasons we should stop printing them. They all have to do with the environment. Paper is made from trees and the more trees we cut down for paper the worse off the environment is. The more paper we use that gets thrown into the rubbish the worse things get. I’m not going to give a diatribe about this as there are plenty of people out there who are much more capable, but I will take a slight detour into the realms of science fiction and mention a book I have waiting for sale called Garbage World by Charles Platt. In this book there is a world which is just for rubbish. Every other world in the solar system brings their rubbish there and dumps it just like we dump our rubbish in the tip. I’m not saying that’s where we’re heading, but it certainly looks probable if we are not careful. So the fewer books we print then the less rubbish we’ll have. This does work for other items as well as books, but I don’t sell other items so I’ll just concentrate on books. Basically, I’m saying the eBooks are great as they greatly reduce the printing and therefore the rubbish.

When choosing your eBook reader think carefully about the types of books you read. If you read mostly modern books your choice will be different than if you mostly read books which are out of copyright. Any books which are out of copyright are being collated by Project Gutenberg and Google Books. Project Gutenberg are easily downloadable and free, Google Books are generally read in the browser but some titles are also available for mobile devices. Books written since 1955 are also easy to download, but do cost money to ensure the authors and publishers get paid. Google have been asked to stick to this ruling andthis article makes this quite clear.

I heard about a device to me the other day and when I looked it up just now I was blown away by it. One of the books I plan on listing is Walk With Me by Kevin Hitchcock. It’s an autobiography detailing the accident which made him quadraplegic and his subsequent recovery. It’s a very moving story and helps give some ideas of the problems quadraplegics have. One of the challenges that struck me was because they have no use their arms they are at the mercy of whoever is with them and they have absolutely no control of anything around them. I’m sure they can learn to work the remote for the TV if someone is able to rig it up in a suitable spot and they are able to poke it with something. It would take great control though. If they wanted to read they would have to wait for someone to read to them or to turn the page for them or even to turn the cassette over. The device mentioned to me was born of sheer laziness and combined with some form of eBook reader would free up a quadraplegic to read at their own pace and to be able to load a new book. If you look here you can see what I mean. Basically, he’s made a cradle for his Kindle so he can lie in bed and only move one finger to turn the page. I’m not impressed by the laziness angle, but I just love the other possible uses. They’re just way cool.

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