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Tansy Rayner Roberts

E-books for Christmas

December 19th, 2012 at 10:21

Surely one of the benefits that the paper book has over its more economical & tree-friendly e-edition is the gifting possibilities. There’s nothing like a comforting, rectangular parcel at Christmas, right?

I’ve been giving books as presents my whole life: childhood classics to my much younger cousin and now to my daughters, my godson & his brothers; art books for my mother; medieval history with ladies in to one particular friend; graphic novels to another. When in doubt, books.

One of my favourite bookshop-at-Christmas memories is sitting in the Hobart Book City, a shop which sadly closed its doors this year. Exhausted from my shopping (Australian Christmas brings the joys of shopping in 30 degree heat) I sat on a random chair and found myself listening to the conversations around me. I learned that the bookshop was full of people who only go into bookshops at Christmas, and aren’t entirely clear how the process actually works. It was something of an eye-opener…

So yes, paper books. I’m fond of them. The Santa stash in the wardrobe currently contains 1 bag of presents for each daughter, and a third entirely peopled with books and DVDs, but mostly books. I parcel them up in batches because we would be there FOREVER if I wrapped each one individually.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the new Pratchett in hardcover, and a new release by another favourite author like Janet Evanovich is very convenient when my Dad ninjas me with the dread ‘what do you want for Christmas’ question that always leaves my mind blank.

On the other hand, I have been known to beg ‘no books please’ when people ask (unless they are OK with receiving a very specific title request) because I have been trying to reduce my ‘stress caused by unread volumes’ this year, and random paginated delights that I haven’t already psyched myself up to reading only add to that stress.

E-books, though. With e-books I would certainly feel some of that childhood joy of ‘random book I never thought of reading’ pleasure at receiving a rectangular gift, without the accompanying worry about whether I need another new bookcase. (the answer is always yes) Sadly, the embarrassing loss of our Kindle (seriously, we have NO idea where it is) means that this will probably not be an e-book Christmas for our household. Maybe next year.

So e-books. How do you gift them? You can’t wrap them in a satisfying square of paper, right?

Well, no. But more and more people are choosing to read e-books and you have to admit that this close to Christmas, the idea of a gift you can point and click at on a laptop (and then not have to agonise about whether it will be posted in time) is pretty appealing.

Anne Treasure wrote a post for the Momentum blog about gifting e-books: the Lazy Person’s Guide to Gift-Giving, and I was quite pleased to discover (I’ve been out of the loop) that ebook gifting is pretty advanced now – you can even schedule them to arrive at a particular time. My own e-purchasing experiments this year, with magazine subscriptions, was less than hopeful on those terms so the whole ebook thing sounds streamlined and awesome in comparison.

And there’s a big reason, by the way, that I wanted to discuss gifting e-books this year. No, it’s NOT that it’s the most cost-efficient way to give someone my entire Creature Court trilogy (though, that is a very good point). It’s not even that my friend Cheryl Morgan has a fabulous ebook store, Wizard’s Tower, packed with all manner of deeply interesting and/or previously hard to find SF and Fantasy books.

It’s not even Love and Romanpunk, though come on, who doesn’t want a manticore in their stocking?

No, it’s these:

Perfections, the long-awaited second novel by the awesome Kirstyn McDermott, released THIS MONTH as a digital only book from Xoum.

Blood and Dust, a brand-new Australian vampire novel by the most excellent Jason Nahrung, also released THIS MONTH as a digital only book from Xoum.

Havenstar, the long-out-of-print first standalone fantasy novel by the truly epic Glenda Larke (writing as Glenda Noramly), available now for the first time in many years from Smashwords.

This is only the tip of the iceberg but I did particularly want to promote all three books, none of which I have managed to read myself (did I mention, lost Kindle?).

Now it’s your turn! Recommend an e-book in the comments – preferably one where you’ve read it or know the author’s work well and can endorse it without hesitation. And please add a note about what kind of reader is most likely to be pleased if the book in question invades their e-reader at 6:05 AM on Christmas morning.

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7 Responses to “E-books for Christmas”

  1. Joris M Says:

    It is always difficult to recommend without reservation, because different books will suit different people. But I’ll make an attempt.

    Tobias Buckell has released his Kickstarter-financed fourth book in his previously Tor-published Xenoweakth series: The Apocalypse Ocean, while I have not read this one yet I do recommend the previous books in this series and this one by extension. Probably best suited for (SF) readers, who like some action and can appreciate the Caribbean cultural background Tobias managed to include in his books. (Available from the author’s store, and most major ebook channels).

    If I am allowed some more, novellas by the Chinese author Liu Cixin are available on Amazon (and perhaps other channels). Perfect little works of big idea SF. It is notable that many of the novellas have repeatedly been available as free offers, and a story by Liu Cixin (but none of the novellas) has been translated by Ken Liu.

    And I just have to say Love and Romanpunk by our gracious host is a set of good short stories, that somehow makes a collection that is even better than its parts.

  2. Sean the Blogonaut Says:

    I would recommend all three. Havenstar is also available through Kobo and Amazon in case anyone is fearful of smashwords basic site design.

  3. tansyrr Says:

    Great recs, thanks Joris! I was just reading Tobias’ adventures in Kickstarter which sound pretty epic and interesting http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2012/12/17/how-i-used-kickstarter-to-reboot-a-book-series-and-my-career-and-maybe-my-life/

    And I am very keen to check out those Liu Cixin stories – must get set up to read ebooks again! *eyes the iPad thoughtfully*

    I don’t believe in recommending anything without reservation (except maybe Joanna Russ’ How To Suppress Women’s Writing because GOOD FOR YOU) but love to hear about what everyone else is reading and enjoying.

  4. Sean the Blogonaut Says:

    Would be great is How to Supress… was available as ebook

  5. Sean the Blogonaut Says:

    if

  6. Perfections, or So It Appears I Have a New Book Out « Kirstyn McDermott Says:

    [...] thank you to Sean Wright and Tansy Rayner Roberts and Jason Nahrung and all the other people who have already blogged, tweeted and facebooked the [...]

  7. Glenda Larke Says:

    You can download Havenstar onto your kindle at Smashwords, but I am actually still working to get it up on Amazon. Not easy when you live in one of the not-the-usual-places…

    Try Australia’s Lee Battersby “Corpse Rat-King” for a book (and eBook) which is not in the usual run of fantasy-horror (put out by Angry Robot).

    Margo Lanagan’s Sea Heart. Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens.

    I love fantasy that’s a little bit unusual.

    Oh, and Rowena Cory Daniells is putting out her out of print backlist too!!

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