Decline of the ebook?

Wednesday night saw a good turnout for the One Tree Book club. We were discussing Life after Life by the wonderful Kate Atkinson.. Strong views were expressed both for and against but a strong majority relished its unique structure. My summary was “joyful, moving, perceptive, funny.”

Interesting figures out from the Publishers Association this week suggest that the public’s appetite for ebooks may be beginning to be sated. Between 2011 and 2012 sales rose by 220% but last year they rose by only 18%. Physical book sales are still chugging along but the “50 Shades of Grey effect” from 2012 rather distorts the figures downwards. Fingers crossed.

This week I finished Kadian Journal by Thomas Harding. It is the story of his son Kadian and the year Thomas spent grieving at his shocking accidental death. Brutally honest, it is also an incredibly beautiful book that balances the joy that he brought, and the sadness of his absence. Thomas wrote the excellent Hanns and Rudolph, one of our bestselling books of 2013.

Any book is going to struggle alongside that and I duly did with The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. He’s an author that plays with different genres ranging from Victorian drama (The Crimson Petal and the White) to crime but I wasn’t even aware of Christian Sci-fi. Despite a great prose style this failed to grip. I am not sure I will be returning to this genre any time soon.


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