Boulder Pavement interview - September 2010

16 September 2010 in The Mistress of Nothing | Comments (0)

In February 2010 I attended a digital media conference, Interventions, at the Banff Centre in the Rockies.  I had a fabulous week in Banff, although it was bizarrely, rather alarmingly warm - thick cardigan and scarf warm, no snow on the ground.  Although I grew up near Banff and have been there many times, I had never been to the Banff Centre and now I am twiddling my thumbs waiting for an opportunity to go back.

The Literary Arts team, lead by Steven Ross Smith, publish Boulder Pavement, an elegantly designed digital magazine of arts and ideas.  During the week Steven and I took some time out to record an audio interview for the magazine, and it is included in Issue 2.  It’s just over thirty minutes long.

Why I Still Don’t Have an E-Reader

6 September 2010 in Future of Publishing | Comments (4)

A confession:  despite the fact that I think of myself as an ‘early adopter’, a ‘digital native’, and even - god forbid - a bit of a webby geek, I do not have an e-reader nor do I use my fancy smartphone as an ereader.  The reasons for this are as follows:

1.  Ereaders are all so ugly, apart from the fancy expensive one.  I have enough white and grey plastic in my life already thank you.  And the fancy expensive one is way too fancy and expensive. 
2.  Why should I buy a piece of hardware that restricts where I can purchase content?  I do not want to buy all my books from that online bookseller.  I do not want to have to have a whole pile of different ereader apps on my fancy smartphone according to where I buy my content. 
3.  Why should I buy a thing that restricts what I can do with the books I buy, that won’t allow me to lend books to friends?  That’s just stupid. 
4.  Ereaders cost too much, even the cheaper ones cost too much, and I’m paranoid that an EVEN BETTER ONE will suddenly appear, and I’m tired of buying things that become obselete within months - days - of purchase.
5.  All the companies involved, especially the fruit one, and the one-breasted warrior woman one, are way too annoying with their attempts to rule the world. 
6.  I want to pay for content, i.e. STUFF TO READ, not the platform to read it on.  I know, I know, a book is a platform too, and, given that most writers get less than 10% per book sold, you could argue that I’m already paying more than 90% of a book’s price to get the gadget (in this case a book) that delivers the content (the words the writer wrote), and that, in the case of a book, it’s insanity to buy the same gadget over and over again, when you could buy just one gadget and get each new set of content delivered straight to that instead.  I’d be happy to do that, apart from numbers 1-5 above. 

The truth is I really do want an ereader.  I love the idea of a device for reading, a device that holds all my books in one slim well-designed piece of kit, a device that allows me to annotate and search and read, read, read.  But the device I want, that allows me to buy books from wherever I want, whenever I want, to share them with whoever I want, to read how/when/and why I want (whether that’s alone in a corner or social media’d up the hoo-hah), in whatever format I want (which, ahem, includes Flash) DOES NOT EXIST.

That’s my Monday beginning of September rant for the year.

September is here

1 September 2010 in | Comments (0)

I’ve been off on holidays and it was lovely and now comes the painful re-entry time.  When I go on holiday I have a policy of not doing any work.  This might sound odd but plenty of writers I know try to write when they are on holiday.  I always read a ton, but I never try to write anything - I figure it is good to have a complete break if you can.  This summer I read ‘Anna Karinina’, which I have never read before - in fact I have never read any Tolstoy, a terrible thing for a writer to admit, but there you go.  Now I have!

When I was a kid in BC the last week of summer holidays marked the time when I went off with my mum to buy school supplies.  School supplies are hugely satisfying to anyone with a stationery fetish, myself included.  Pens, binders, paper, notebooks, notepads, pencil cases, folders, rules, etc etc etc… delicious.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that kids in London don’t need to buy school supplies!  The annual September Stationery Festival (thanks to @trudymorgancole for that) doesn’t happen here.  You don’t really have to buy kids anything before they start school here, provided their shoes and clothes still fit them.  One of the many tiny yet odd differences between my childhood and that of my kids.