Singles are the new albums; short stories are the new novels.

Book lovers are polarised on the Kindle, ipad and e-readers generally. Some authors I know have taken a violent dislike to the concept. Partly because I think they have a love of the physicality of books which is a reason they started writing in the first place. Partly because of a fear of losing control of their content in an unprecedented way. (As if no one ever lent a book to anyone in the past.) In fact rather outrageously in retrospect, my boss once gave me one of my favourite ever marketing books to read as a photocopy rather than buy me a copy.  (I’ve bought all John’s books since then so I have made it up to him.)

 I love my Kindle. I have been recommending it madly to people ever since I got to grips with it (which took a few weeks to be fair). A brilliant Christmas present the year before last. (Thank you Mark). One reason I love it is that I can take all my favourite books with me on holiday. Another reason I love it is that if I run out of things to read at midnight I can order and get a book within 5 minutes. And in addition it is expanding my vocabulary. An inbuilt dictionary means you can look up any words you don’t know. (Latest word : Negus – see below for definition).

 It does mean that I spend even less time in real bookshops than I used to, other than to browse for books to get for the Kindle.

 As HMV agrees the sale of Waterstones to Russion billionaire Alexander Mamut, The Sunday Times have entered the story telling business with enthusiasm. In the magazine this Sunday there was short story by Hilary Mantel followed by an ad for their “fast fiction” offer. Download a short story within a minute for as little as 99p.  Are newspaper brands the new outlets for literacy once more as they were in the days of Dickens?  Will this be one of the revenue streams to help to save print ? 

 On the one hand this is a great opportunity for sampling untried authors and new fiction. On the other hand there is a possibility I suppose that it might have the same effect on the world of literature as itunes is said to have had on music – that no-one will write a whole book anymore ? 

 By the way a Negus is a 17th century name for a spicy Port and Lemon. Yum.

One Response to “Singles are the new albums; short stories are the new novels.”

  1. Jason says:

    Hi Sue,
    Hope you are well. Have enjoyed reading some of your posts (as in I have not read all of them rather than some weren’t enjoyable!).
    In reference to the ‘short story’ let’s hope it is a little like 20/20 cricket … and that it invites more non-readers to read something, hopefully enjoy it and be tempted by the longer novel, eventually.
    The market for the novel therefore will hopefully increase as a result of this shorter game.

    Fond memories