Friday 15 June 2012

You Get What You Pay For

I'm slowly (and reluctantly) starting to explore the world of e-books.  I still prefer to have paper in hand when reading, but there's our trip coming up and it will be easier to carry digital books on a tablet than a lot of physical ones.

I'm trying out the different e-reader programs and right now, I'm using iBooks because they had free ebooks on offer.  (This is one of my major problems.  I've got over two thousand print volumes here at home and ordering them all as ebooks is prohibitively expensive.)

There seem to be three categories of free books available: classical literature whose copyright has long since expired, children's books and romance novels.  This works great for me since I want books for the boys and I like classic literature and romance novels.

Except that the books themselves so far are awful.  And I'm not just talking about predictable plots, uneven characterization and cliched descriptions.  I'm talking about basic spelling and formatting errors.  Stuff which even spellcheck would pick up like "tme" for "the" or the heroine jumping "into" her motorcycle.  Clearly either she drove a car in an early draft or the writer missed the obvious "onto" in the sentence.

This really bothers me.  Romance novels have a bad reputation in terms of the writing and I believe it's undeserved.  There's a lot of really great writing happening in the community.  Witty stories, sharp dialogue, realistic three-dimensional characters, intricate and well-woven plots, we really do have them all.  And the warm satisfaction of a happy ending, too.

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