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Should we be in love with eBooks?

For me, it's a love/hate relationship with eBooks.

As a reader, my Amazon Kindle works well when I'm travelling - it's light, portable and I can take a small (actually not that small) library with me. Reading in bed is easy too - again the portability is a positive, the soft backlight, and the chance to increase the font size so I don't need to wear glasses is convenient. For all occasions, there's the opportunity for digital bookmarks, highlights and notes, and access to the last read page is immediate. So, as a reader, I should be happy, shouldn't I?

Actually, not completely so. The physicality is lost with an eBook - the affinity with the front cover then flicking over to read the back page blurb, the smell of opening a new book, the texture of the paper. It's so easy to grab an eBook, dump it onto a tablet and then forget about it - far less likely for me to forget I've got or have already read a real (interesting that this is the word that first comes to mind) book.

As a writer, I'm even more confused about the balance between love and hate. Having had wonderful comments but rejections from agents, I self-published The Engagement Party as an eBook. Without this opportunity, it would not have been read by several thousand and down the line, taken on by my publisher, Accent Press. There's no doubt that Amazon and Kindle have provided the opportunity for many new writers to showcase their work.

The exponential increase in the volume of books available has meant that competition is fierce. While I have no objection to competition, it does present two significant challenges for the author. Firstly, the need to be neck-high in marketing. This might not be a skill that comes easily to a writer, but even if it does, it takes up valuable writing time. Secondly, the author is engaged in a ruthless price war because price seems as important as quality in determining level of sales. So, after many months of graft to develop a work to reach publication standard, the poor author has to grapple with Monthly Deals, Daily Deals, Countdown Deals, Kindle Unlimited and KDP free books. I write romantic comedy and note at time of writing this blog that there are 1,060 free Romantic Comedy books available (though many that appear on this list are misplaced).

I'd rather not give many months' of effort and, I hope, expertise, away for nothing. Is that a reasonable stance?

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