Mersey woman about town


Germaine Greer vs Kindle!

Pheobe from Friends (pictured here with the delicious Chris Isaac) sang about fir trees not achieving their Christmas destiny - but what about women writers whose manuscripts don't achieve their publishing potential?

I went to see Germaine Greer speak at the Floral Pavillion in New Brighton on Wirral last night, a venue which I must admit to my shame I haven’t been before.  (It was very nice, in case you’re not familiar with the place).

I saw Greer talk about 18 months ago in Liverpool. I didn’t agree with everything she said on that night although she provided much food for thought which had me discussing issues she raised with friends for a while afterwards, so I didn’t expect to stand shoulder to shoulder with her on each and every subject yesterday evening either.

Nevertheless, one thing she did raise which surprised me rather was her vehement opposition to the Kindle*.  (*aka my best friend)

She explained that if one knew anything about publishing then one would appreciate how awful the Kindle layout was, it didn’t guide the eye across the page and that the iPad – if you HAD to have a digital option – was far superior.

Always buy paper books, she said to nods of approval to the rows of women of a paper and hardback age in (very) sensible shoes. They’re far better, not like those nasty Kindles.
Now, I hate to be negative on this blog but I can’t help think Germaine is missing the point here. Women writers for one benefit extraordinarily well from epublishing on Kindle.

Given that it is more difficult than ever before to get a conventional publishing deal, epublishing can be very liberating – amazingly so. Women with children are often unable to get ‘out there’ to writing festivals, conventions, meet ups  and so find it difficult to network and meet people because they’re too busy changing nappies, getting their children’s school uniforms ready for the next day etc etc – the never ending graft that is motherhood!

That puts another barrier up to conventional publishing success.

Why should these women’s manuscripts lie on computers and lap tops, unread (and, taking a line from Pheobe from Friends) never achieving their (publishing) destiny?
Germaine Greer also has the perfect right to have a personal preference for the iPad and she may indeed be correct its ebook layout is better than my trusty Kindle but an iPad costs how much – £350? You can get your hands on a Kindle for little over eighty quid.

A bargain I’d say.

No one’s saying the Kindle is perfect but I love mine (a close friend told me recently the day she bought hers was the happiest day of her life – okay that might be a bit much but I empathise, totally) and I’m sure many people reading this have a similar emotional attachment to theirs!

So once again Germaine Greer has got me thinking and talking and analysing (and moaning – sorry) – making it a well worth a trip to New Brighton.
Many thanks to Elaine Owen from Designated Associates on Wirral for allowing me to be her guest on the night.

Broken, a collection of my short stories, is out on Amazon for Kindle now. It can be downloaded here

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4 comments on “Germaine Greer vs Kindle!

  1. Larelle
    April 14, 2012

    I seriously do not know what Greer’s gripe is about. I don’t understand her argument about the layout being ‘bad’. I love my Kindle precisely FOR the layout! The one thing that made books a bugbear for me was change on font styles, sizes and sometimes depth of colour (some print would appear VERY faint to me). I much prefer the unifomity of the Kindle layout and if a title I’m reading has a different font style or size, I can alter it. I can’t do that with a paperback!

    I also can’t make a comparison with an iPad (I’m saving up to buy one in July/August) but I have an iPod which gives me (on a very small scale) a vague idea of how they compare. As Greer is not a reader of novels, I’m sure the Kindle isn’t probably the best format for all her non-fiction reading. But for those of us that primarily like reading novels, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Kindle. In fact, I think it’s BETTER than print on paper (ooh, hark at me!).

    • cathbore
      April 14, 2012

      Me too! I find them very easy and zippy to read. It might be a generational thing, although speaking to readers a ‘few’ years older than myself just last month, some find them preferable as you can increase the font size – making Kindles great for those with poor eyesight. Me being a shallow article, I love the fact I can fit my Kindle into my handbag!

  2. DaPoet
    April 14, 2012

    Germaine Greer is well on the way to finding herself in the dustbin of herstory {history} along with books made of paper and the publishers who publish them that fail to keep up with technology.

    • cathbore
      April 14, 2012

      Germaine’s a top lady, and to me her views always welcome – but I just don’t agree with her on this particular point!

      I think there is a valid role for a physical product – non fiction works better for example. I don’t think hardbacks will ever die out as they just look marvellous on one’s bookshelf and people I reckon will still buy their fave books in that form. I’m still in two minds as to whether I think paperbacks will bite the dust – who knows?

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