Light My Fire: The E-reader Debate

Yes, I know that’s a heinous crime for an English Literature graduate. I’ve been told many times already that we discerning book lovers should stoically stick together and hate the e-book in the same way that we should all appreciate poems that don’t rhyme and drink too much cheap merlot. I’ve heard all the arguments before. ”It’s not the same”. Um, no, no it’s not the same. ”It doesn’t smell the same”. Strange, but okay, it does not smell the same as that book you found under you bed last month with an old sock for a book mark. And the third, favorite argument, ”[insert a disapproving facial expression]”. So here goes, the literary version of my much-aerated verbal argument for the Amazon Kindle (because let’s face it, there is as yet no real other contender for the e-book, fan or not).

Let me first address the health and safety issues brought up against the Kindle. Yes, LCD screens are bad for your eyes and cause eye strain if used for a prolonged period. The Kindle does not have an LCD screen. The text on a Kindle screen is in fact sharper than that of a book. This clearer text can also be magnified, handy if you struggle to read small lettering and a little easier to read for those who struggle with dyslexia.

Environmental issues? The standard Kindle needs charging about once a month, and the manufacturing process will have a ‘carbon footprint’. However, the Kindle holds thousands of books. How big a carbon footprint does a thousand books have? How many trees cut down and how much oil used for that cheap colorful front cover?

It doesn’t smell the same. Generally, I read with my eyes, not my nose. Besides, I think the likes of George Orwell would be a tad disappointed if, he realized that on finishing one of his masterpieces attempting to evoke social change your thoughts on closing the book were: ‘’Oh. YUM. Smells like my Gran’s kitchen!’’.

It’s not as romantic. I love my books, I really do. I have insulated the wall of my bedroom with them. On moving back home to my Mam’s house last summer, the two of us have created a bomb-shelter from the pages of Foucalt to Golden Eagle, capable of withstanding a nuclear holocaust.

And yet… do I really need all of those hard copies? I believe there is a large distinction between books you keep and treasure, and books you read and remember. An example? Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, a stunning picturebook which you need to hold and caress and swoon over each and every page. It is a piece of artwork that you must hold a copy of to truly appreciate. The same goes for my student copy of Shakespeare’s works. It’s a softened, battered, grubby copy filled with my notes from AS-Level (‘’What the hell??? NO IDEA what’s going on. ’’) to my degree (‘’Hamlet is SUCH a dandy- lolz’’). No-one else ever needs to see this copy of Shakespeare, it’s mine, it’s a part of my past and I keep it on the shelf with the photos of Sports Day ’96.

For everything else, there’s the Kindle.  There was a time when I felt the urge to carry a dictionary around for all those moments when I wanted to check the correct usage of a word, or to bring down a friend’s poor attempt at using a big word effectively. (Look, I TOLD you that’s not what Propinquity means!). I’m sure you know as well as I do, that mobile phone dictionaries are pathetic, incomplete, and American (i.e. the letter ‘z’ is everywhere that you’ve never seen it before. Very disconcerting.) Roll on the Kindle. You can have the complete, twenty-six volume full English Dictionary all in a rectangle the weight and size of T.S.Eliot’s The Wasteland.

There’s also those moments when you’re on the bus, in a tight space, trying to read Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. Your hand will split as you struggle to keep the page open at number two-hundred-and-thirty-six, while your other hand is clutching your week’s groceries. The Kindle is light, thin and very portable. Therefore: extra room for chewing gum, fags and tissues in your handbag. Perfect.

Finally, and for me, most importantly, is the sheer accessibility of e-book publishing. Almost anyone can do it, writers deemed unpublishable by traditional means have made big money through clever enterprising  and e-publishing. And the fact that anyone can do it, means that there’s more weird and wonderful things out there for us to read. Your taxi driver’s life story, or that what that old lady down the road got up to during WWII. Sure, it’s not all great quality, but it’s one heck of a treasure trove.

Self-published works aren’t all have-a-go types either. A lot of the work we receive in Alliterati Magazine is unpublished and unprinted elsewhere. We receive so much work from talented people, and we KNOW these guys can make a fortune from what they enjoy doing most. Creating. So why not, lovely readers, writers and artists, get all of your fantastic poems, short stories or artwork together and turn it into your own full-length piece? And instead of monotonously emailing publishers who are uninterested, or else out to rip you off…why not publish it yourself? I’d buy it.

-Bethany G Rogers

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Submissions Closed!

The A-Team is currently busy at work sorting through submissions and putting together Issue 7 (June 1st is creeping up!). 

We’re also temporarily closing submissions until after the issue is released. Keep an eye on this space, and don’t forget to check us out on <a href=”https://twitter.com/#!/AlliteratiMag”>Twitter</a&gt; and <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/alliterati”>Facebook</a&gt;!

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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

We now operate an ”open call” for submissions, but those wishing to be considered for ISSUE 7 must submit work by:

FRIDAY 11th MAY 2012, 17:00 GMT

As always, please follow our submission guidelines (see that lil’ tab at the top? That’s where they live). ANYTHING you consider to be appropriate for our online magazine will be considered: poetry to painting, fiction to film, we want it!

It’s free to submit, so you’d be a fool not to.

Issue 7 is scheduled for release on June 1st, 2012… keep an eye out here, on our facebook page and on twitter (@AlliteratiMag) for more information, or just to say ‘hello’.

 

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Aaaaaattention! Flash Fiction-ers.

Hey there flash fiction-ers! Once you’ve filled our inbox with your short-but-sweet work check out this UK-based event (accepting work internationally)…

“The first ever National Flash-Fiction Day will be happening on 16th May this year. Bringing together all the writers, readers, publishers and organisers of events, the day will see competitions, workshops, slams, readings, anthologies and more. Wherever you are in the UK there is a way for you to take part. A list of all the current events, competitions and calls for submissions is available on the website at http://www.nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/.”

As always, refer to Issue 6 as your ever-helpful muse.

Incidentally, no Flash Fiction made it into Issue 6, so if you’re a flash fiction-er to be awed, show us what we’re missing out on and send you stuff to: alliteratimagazine@gmail.com too.

Lots of love,

The A-Team

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Open Call!

We are now accepting submissions as and when you feel inspired to send us something! However, deadlines for individual issues will be posted on the Submissions page, submissions received after that will be considered for the following issue.

So. Don’t just SIT there… send us something for Issue 7!

Need inspiration?

Check out—> Issue 6

Lots of love,

The A Team.

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You’ve waited patiently and here it is! The sparkly new Alliterati Issue 6!

Hello Alliteratians!

Welcome to Issue 6 of Alliterati Magazine.

We bring you some of the best artwork and creative writing from across the globe: including the UK, US, New Zealand and Canada! It’s been a busy few months at Alliterati HQ as we’ve had the difficult task of choosing only a select few of the many wonderful submissions we received.

We are in the process of improving our website so watch this space and keep your eyes peeled as we will be uploading bios for all our fabulous contributors very soon!

Don’t forget to ‘Join the Alliterati’ on our new facebook page

Enjoy!

The ‘A’ Team

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ISSUE 6

The BRAND NEW issue will be HERE…

 

THURSDAY 1st MARCH 2012

 

(Join the Alliterati)

 

 

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