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Government

Putting my Kindle where my mouth is

I hope Kim Carr's Book Industry Strategy Group gets a move on with its goal of dragging the Australian publishing industry into the 21st century, because today I decided I am never going to buy another printed book, which means I will buy very few Australian ones.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor

I hope Federal Innovation Minister Kim Carr's Book Industry Strategy Group gets a move on with its goal of dragging the $1.5 billion Australian publishing industry into the 21st century, because today I decided I am never going to buy another printed book, which means I will buy very few Australian ones.

I received delivery of an Amazon Kindle just before the weekend. It was a bit of an impulse buy based on the falling price of the device and a shocking experience I had when I realised exactly how many books I had in my cellar.

I am the ultimate book worm, devouring one to two books a week despite working hard, watching more television than I ought to and spending at least a modicum of time keeping my husband happy.

But when my pile of stored books grew so big that I was considering pouring my husband's cellared wine down the sink to make room for more, my thought was "this cannot go on".

I don't want to have to rent a bigger apartment to satisfy my book addiction. I also don't want to keep going to the second-hand book store with boxes of books that the shop assistant sorts through, eyeing me up and down like a criminal and telling me they couldn't possibly "buy" books in such bad condition. I certainly don't want to have to face the thought of having read my way through a small section of the Amazon rainforest.

So I decided I was going to buy an e-reader. I went upstairs and ordered one online.

Of course, I knew that the amount of content on any of the online bookstores for the Australian market is absolutely woeful. Particularly if you're looking for Australian authors. But thinking of the cellar, and of facing a search for a new apartment or another trip to the second-hand bookshop, I didn't care.

You Australian writers can make your stand as much as you want. Keep your books on dead trees so you get better royalties. I just won't buy your books.

I will miss you Kate Forsyth, Isabelle Carmody, Jennifer Fallon and Joel Shepherd. (Yes, you do have one book in the online store Jennifer, but it's the third in a series, and I'm not going to buy printed books to get that far. And yes, Joel, I realise you are putting your books out there, but the time delay between print and ebook is driving me mad.) It will make me very sad to give you all up.

But I will find new writers. Ones who do have ebooks for sale, and aren't playing silly bugger antics to whet interest then drive readers back to print.

I am willing to buy another e-reader if I need to get access to a better library: I may have made the wrong choice with Kindle. However, one thing is certain, I am no longer buying any more physical books.

If you don't like that, tough. The world changes, and you change with it.

The Book Industry Strategy Group is due to report on its progress to the government in June next year.

If anyone can recommend some Australian authors whose content is on Kindle, I'd love to hear about them. I prefer fantasy, but at this point my conviction is such I'm willing to go cross genre to support those who have made the digital leap.

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