Amazon weirdness…

For an organisation which built its empire on books, Amazon really doesn’t know much about those of us who consider ourselves avid readers.

For instance, they measure their Kindle battery life at half an hour’s reading a day. This enables them to claim absurdly, unrealistically, long battery life, which would be dishonest were it not for the fact Continue reading

On giving books for Christmas…

The BookRiot website offers advice on buying books for the readers in your life. I have good idea – don’t do it.

If, as suggested, you analyse what these people like to read (and good luck with my collection!), there is a very good chance you’ll wind up buying a book they already have. Hell, I’ve just bought myself a book that I already have** but, having several thousand of the things (not counting the hundreds in my various Kindles), I guess I can forgive myself for forgetting one, but it does illustrate the high probability of buying an already-owned book.

**Elizabeth David’s An omelette and a glass of wine.

Personally – and no, this is not Continue reading

If you have a Kindle, Amazon are NOT out to get you…

You could be forgiven, this morning, for thinking that Amazon are going to come for you in the night, strip your Kindle bare and terminate your account, with no redress, such is the high degree of panic-mongering going on in articles like this one.

The fact is that the foregoing has happened to one person, and no-one pontificating about it has the full facts of the matter.** Nor do I, but then, I’m not about to predict the end of the ebook world or brand Amazon as some sort of electronic stormtroopers. What I will say is this, a huge amount Continue reading

Want to be a writer? It helps to learn the trade…

Writing , at its best, is an art. Writing for money is a trade that needs to be learned. The two are not mutually exclusive, but only one is essential.

I read recently, that anybody reading an ebook and bitching about plot holes and typos is a pedant. Hell, I am a pedant, I don’t have a problem with that, but I have huge problems with people who think sloppy writing, especially if they expect to be paid, is acceptable. If you’re going to write for money – especially if it’s my money – then you’d better damn well learn how to do it properly before holding out your hand, or expect pedantry, big-time!

There is nothing wrong with being a pedant, by the way, if that means you actually get things right.

Let’s start with typos, because that’s something pretty much anyone who uses a keyboard is prone to from time to time, and for a variety of reasons, I’m probably more prone than many.

For example, I have a nasty habit of Continue reading

Kindle and the Death of Books…

Ever since the Kindle 3 appeared – I got mine in the first tranche, so I’ve been particularly sensitive to this – the Guardian has been running articles, of varying levels of sanity, speculating on whether the Kindle – ignoring all other similar devices (yes I know the Kindle is the biggie in this market, but it’s not alone) – is going to destroy the book-publishing industry, make books obsolete, diminish reading standards (most recently, and WTF?), or any other crackpot theme they can dream up. Mainly, though, they are obsessed with the Death of Books.

Obviously, I can’t speak for Continue reading

As with Mark Twain, reports of the death of books are greatly exaggerated…

For openers, this article is a pleasant change from the Guardian’s “death of books imminent” hysteria/paranoia. (A shortened version of this post appears in the Comments there.)


Since I bought my Kindle in the first tranche of releases last year, I’ve probably bought more print books, not fewer – quite the opposite of what I expected or wanted (I’m running out of book space).

Partly this is in rebellion against some of the Continue reading

Life with Kindle, two months on…

My Kindle, I think it’s fair to say, has inserted itself into my life as deeply and securely as, say, my PC.

Already, since I’ve owned the Kindle a mere 2 months, I feel as if I’ve had it forever, so familiar has it become. And as I think I’ve said elsewhere, it’s perfect for reading in bed. But, unlike books, just don’t drop the bugger! I haven’t, so far, but it is something of an Achilles heel.

Despite one of the posters in the Kindle’s reviews on Amazon claiming that’s it’s so complicated his review needs a video for clarity – which is Continue reading

The Campaign for Real Books…

There is now, almost inevitably, given the huge uptake of the Amazon Kindle, a Campaign for Real Books (Cambo).

The Cambo website says “The future is paper.” And that’s really the problem with books – paper.

As I’ve said before, books in bulk take up a hell of a lot of space, but apart from that, paper is just so ecologically unsound these days. I love the feel, and smell, of a new, unopened book, but I don’t think, in the long term, paper is sustainable. Ebooks are.

Cambo also says Continue reading

What I’m reading today – an occasional series…

These are the books, and ebooks, I currently have on the go, though Leiber and Lovecraft (really a short story but, in Kindle-land, that makes it a book!), are near the end.


Local Breads, by Daniel Leader (wholemeal and sourdough bread from around the world  – both areas in which my knowledge and expertise need a boost)

Continue reading