Ask Australian science fiction and fantasy author Kim Falconer what she thinks of eBooks, and you get a pretty straight answer.
“I’m right on board with the growing eBook movement in Australia,” the author of the Quantum Enchantment series says. “Don’t get me wrong. I love ‘real’ books — the pages, the ink, the smell, the touch — but I’m also a fan of electronic delivery and all it has to offer.”
Falconer says she is “thrilled” about the fact that her publisher, HarperCollins Voyager, has asked her to participate in the initial release of eBooks to Amazon’s Kindle store, as it will allow her work to reach a wider audience, while giving readers more choice in how to consume it.
You get a similarly enthusiastic message when you speak to Australians who have already bought eBook readers. Sean Carmody, a Sydney-sider who works in the financial markets, bought an Amazon Kindle when the popular eBook reader was first released in Australia late last year. He says he liked the look of the ‘e-ink’ screen that the Kindle uses and gets about two weeks of battery life out of it. But the Kindle also offers him a high convenience factor.
“I tend to have 3, 4 or 5 books on the go at the once,” he says. “You don’t want to be carrying around several books.”
Sydney consultant and developer Roger Lawrence agrees, pointing out that his Kindle holds 1,500 books. “For about half the price of a netbook, the government could’ve given a device to every child in the country, which would hold all of their textbooks (in mint new condition) for their entire K-12 and university career,” he says.
For many authors, and for many readers, eBooks and the readers that allow access to them, just make sense. But as with the adoption of all new technologies, it’s not that simple. When you delve into the book publishing industry, it’s clear that there are many competing interests and platforms that make the adoption of eBooks in Australia an ongoing debate and struggle.