Just arrived in the very wild and wet Scottish Highlands, to be told by all and sundry that ‘this is nothing’ compared with the wetness and wildness of a couple of weeks ago. It is however beautiful as ever.
Meanwhile, in an act that even I consider to be a tad close to heathen-ness, I am mugging up on ebooks and preparing to do a bit of commercial tweeting tomorrow. I really feel I shouldn’t, but Dan the Man from the publishers says that truly I must.
Digital Dan as he is known is Random House’s ebook expert and, rather nervously, I am preparing for the launch of my first ebook next month. It is called The Happy Depressive, and takes a look at happiness both from the personal perspective – me being a depressive, but one who is actually fairly happy – and also from the political perspective, what with David Cameron, President Sarkozy and other world leaders focused on the rather big question of whether politics can deliver well-being and contentment.
I recorded the audiobook the other day, at the end of which one of the three people who listened to the recording said she was surprised how ‘calm and balanced’ I was about Cameron. So I hope I am not going soft in my old age. But it is true that I am prepared to take at face value his commitment to add happiness to the list of factors policymakers have to take into account. Particularly with mental health services under pressure, I will also do my bit to make sure he sticks to his word.
But more of that anon. More too of my assessment of my own happiness, and my various theories of happiness – like we can’t really assess whether we have lived happy lives till we near the end – a view reinforced by my witnessing of the death of my closest friend in politics, Philip Gould, last month.
Anyway, enough of all that, I can hear Digital Dan whispering in my ear ‘don’t tell them too much, just tell them they can pre-order from tomorrow.’ This is the heathen bit. Though I don’t do God, I still feel that Christmas Day should not be for selling, but DD is adamant that Christmas Day, after people have unwrapped their iPads, kindles and other assorted destroyers of the book trade, is THE big day for ebook sales. So despite my squeamishness, I will be tweeting links some time tomorrow afternoon.
The Happy Depressive is only 15000 words or so, and part of the Random House Brain Shots series, so perhaps the ebook format is the right one. But I still find it hard to imagine a book without paper. Dan tells me ebooks now account for 11 percent of Random House sales in the UK and in the States it is twice as much.There has been a 500 percent year on year increase in sales. It’s the future stupid.
Amazon has about 85 percent of the ebook market – which is why theirs will be one of the links up tomorrow – with Apple, Kobo, Google, Waterstones and a few smaller players competing for the rest. Most people consume ebooks on Kindles, iPads, iPhones or Kobo reader devices. And Dan says that for anyone like me, who doesn’t yet get this brave new world, the easiest thing is to download the Kindle PC desktop reader.
There, I have now used up all my ebook knowledge. But I must say I am very happy with my ebook on happiness, and hope that some of you will pre-order it tomorrow as part of your Happy, if too commercial, Christmas too.