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'Viva e-books'

18 April 2011

'I love the entire concept of e-books. As a child growing up in rural Ireland in the 1980s, I had very limited access to books. It was hard to know what was happening in the world of children's literature, and harder still to get access to new, exciting novels. The internet has changed all that. Now it's possible for readers anywhere in the world to have instant access to any book that grabs their interest...

From a writer's point of view, we all start out as readers. If we have access to more books when we're growing and maturing, we will be able to draw ideas from a broader palette, hopefully resulting in a fresh raft of genre-blending stories.

From a publisher's point of view, as e-books take over, they will be able to release books more swiftly - no more long waits while they typeset! Also, they can take more chances and publish less obviously mainstream novels. Since there won't be all the print costs involved, they can push out more books and promote novels that aren't just standard crowdpleasers.

We're at the start of a revolution, and over the coming years e-readers will evolve and technical wizardry will take e-books into every home in the world. It's going to make reading more popular than ever, placing books more firmly in the camp of mass entertainment, along with movies, music and video games, which is where they have always deserved to be.

A lot of so-called reluctant readers approach books with caution, because they mistakenly see them as primarily an educational tool. Now that books are available digitally, to be downloaded along with their favourite games, songs, comics and movie clips, people will realise that writers like me are, more than anything else, trying to excite, entertain and enthuse them. And I think that will bring droves of new readers flocking to our work...

We're in the early stages of a whole new era. The last time something this important happened was when Gutenberg introduced modern book printing to the world. That revolution helped books spread to more corners of the planet than ever before. This revolution will take them even further, faster, and I'm absolutely thrilled to climb on board and be a part of it. Viva e-books! Viva The Word!!'

Darren Shan, in Futurebook

Darren Shan's blog