There are many ways to read books now. We’re not just limited to print any more, due to changes in technology. Moreover, there are always people who are quick to predict bad things happening to the publishing industry because of the changes.
Audio Books appeared in the 1930’s with theUSA’s “Books for the Adult Blind Project”. There were vinyl records with plays and stories on; I can remember sitting in school when I was a tot listening to Fairy Tales from a Record. In the 1980’s when Cassette Tapes were the main audio medium, I can remember listening to “Gobolino the Witch’s Cat” on tape from one of my comics.
I also remember that there was a headline in the paper – Audio books sound the death knell of the printed word. And the article was about how audio books were outselling print books.
*Laughs hysterically as she looks around the crammed bookcases around her.*
The Oral Tradition was around long before Print in the form of wandering Storytellers and Bards. Print came along and when it was finally available to everyone, it was only Grandmothers and Librarians that kept it alive. Audio Books brought it back, but added to the storytelling experience instead of wiping out print books.
Now with the advent of “Electronic Books”, all the publishers are worrying about the affect on sales and there are people (all saying much the same thing) who have determined that e-Books are going to wipe out printed books.
I say, why are we worrying about this? All it does is add another way of reading and enjoying stories to the system.
Soon, they’ll add interactivity to eBooks and Children’s e-Readers will appear on the market. However, it will be up to the parents and schools to teach children to read, and while many parents will view a Children’s e-Reader as yet another “Electronic Babysitter”, there will be others who prefer print and will fill the house with printed books.
E-Readers are expensive. Print Books are cheaper to replace when damaged. Yes, e-Books are cheaper to buy than print books, but they won’t replace them, it will just be another way to read stories.
Publishers who want to reach as many customers as possible will add it to the To-Do list of publishing. Those who don’t will struggle and possibly not survive, but they will be replaced by more forward thinking businesses.
Authors have to think about these things. We have to decide where we stand. As the Storytellers of our day, we are the ones with the product to send to the Publisher and I don’t think it will be long before the benchmark that decides who succeeds in the business will be the question, “Can we sell this in all formats?”
Happy Ever After by Matt Shaw
This is a chilling story of loneliness and love. Why is it chilling? Well, I won’t spoil the story line for you, so here’s the blurb:
If it’s just you and me, together, for the rest of our lives – no-one else to mess things up… could you ever love me?
Peter loves Vanessa. He loves her a lot and is looking forward to starting a nice life with her, and only her. No one else to get in the way and mess up their beautiful relationship. He’ll do anything for her. Absolutely anything to make her happy. Anything to see that beautiful smile of hers. Anything to live happily ever after with her.
The only problem is – Vanessa doesn’t know Peter and, more importantly, understand why she is cuffed to the dining room table.
There, does that make more sense? No? Only one thing for it then… you’ll have to go and get it! You can buy it here –
Why am I recommending this book? Okay, I’ll go into a bit more detail.
Peter is lonely for many reasons. The normal method of having a girlfriend who is independent, doesn’t work for him, so he feels forced into the course he has chosen.
Vanessa is a pretty girl with a happy family that is the latest in Peter’s line of Girlfriends. He is so certain that she is the one, that he decides all she needs to love him is time alone with him.
I had a couple of bad dreams after reading “Happy Ever After”. However, before you decide not to buy it, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a sign of how good the writing is. I don’t normally get dreams from books, my skin is thick enough for the scenarios to bounce off it. Matt Shaw however got under my skin with his.
Matt’s writing is wonderful; he draws you in and keeps you there. Told through the eyes of the characters, the chill comes from the brick wall Peter has built. He is determined to keep Vanessa to himself… forever. The descriptions of the environment are vivid and the switch between viewpoints handled neatly – no head hopping here!
The point of view adds an intimacy to their interactions and as Vanessa realises her situation, you get a panicky claustrophobic feeling from her.
There isn’t a happy ending and that may put some readers off.
However, the realism of the story makes up for that and by the end I had tears in my eyes for both the characters.
I feel that there is more to the story that could be told. While it is a short book, the intensity of the reading experience is superb and I can see this being a movie very easily.
If you like Stephen King, then you’ll like this book!