To be, or not to be, that is not the question. For bibliophiles today, Hamlet’s famous soliloquy has become:
To read or not to read, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of an ebook,
Or to take Arms in the comfort of a physical book.
For me, the issue has become deeply personal – and vexing. Although the Huffington Post recently offered 11 Simple Reasons The Print Book Naysayers Are Wrong, it’s a little more complicated than that for authors. You see, as someone who earns royalties on the sale of both versions, I get, on average, approximately 10 percent of the list price from online sales and a figure slightly higher from bookstore sales. With the Kindle version of A Father’s Son, I earn 70 percent of the list price. It logically follows that as a writer, you might reasonably expect me to be a champion of ebooks.
Oddly enough, I’m quite the opposite. I’m an ardent supporter of the physical book no matter how cumbersome it may be to lug around and despite the fact that it’s more expensive to purchase. A world without brick-and-mortar bookstores is like a world without laughter emanating from parks and playgrounds; blooming flowers devoid of any fragrance; Band of Brothers minus Damian Lewis, damn it!
In any event, the long of the bottom line of the short is that reading in any medium is a good thing. Period. Bar none. End of conversation. Book clubs are way sexy. A History of Reading is a fantastic book. Chewing the fat about one’s favourite novels and all-time best characters is a good, good time.
That being said, should you wish to buy the ebook version of my novel, I will NOT – in way, shape or form – hold it against you. Ever. Period.