On Writing

The Human Race – now on Kindle!

3 Comments 23 September 2011

There has been a lot of excitement in the Heaton household this weekend: my publisher has just launched the Kindle edition of The Human Race! It’s been a while coming and, as you can see, this new edition also has a new cover. I like it a lot. I like the original cover too, but some readers found it off-putting. Since it was first published the book has found a wider audience, and the decision to review the artwork was taken.

It also seems fitting for an eco-thriller to be published online. So, as I’m sure you can tell, I’m very pleased. But I’m also a little sad.

You see, I love books: physical books that you can hold in your hands. I love their feel, texture, smell and memories. Many have travelled with me on my adventures over the years and I like what they bring to my sitting room where, either side of the fireplace, two huge floor-to-ceiling bookshelves groan under their weight. I love browsing through them, revisiting places that I last imagined as a kid. You just don’t get this kind of nostalgia reading a book on Kindle.

However, my green guilt has been chipping away at me for some time now, both as a reader and an author. The first reason for this is that books really aren’t great for the environment. In fact, they’re pretty terrible as they are costly to produce, ship and own.

What’s more, the publishing supply chain is phenomenally inefficient. Even when purchased through Amazon, books can whizz around the country several times before making their way to their delivery destinations. Elsewhere, publishers can be left with thousands of unsold copies of books that will end up being pulped.

But, what about eBook readers: aren’t they bad for the environment too?

Of course they are, particularly because an energy source is required to power them, and because of their cloud-based servers. But let’s not kid ourselves: eBook readers are much “greener” than physical copies of books. Of the many arguments I’ve read about the eBook reader v books debate, many fail to acknowledge that an eBook reader, such as my iPad, performs a multitude of tasks in addition to acting as a reading device. Even the dedicated ones allow you to download newspapers, which are even more environmentally costly than printed books. If you read a book on Kindle, you can also use that Kindle to access other online mediums.

And actually, I think we’re all missing the point.

You see, books represent the thin end of an extremely thick wedge. This wedge is the physical medium of paper and ink, which we are conditioned to read. That’s the real environmental problem, isn’t it? We write, read and edit everything, not just books, on paper. I noticed this when I was working as a real estate lawyer, practising commercial law in New York City. Some lease documents ran to several hundred pages and there would be multiple drafts of them before the final edit was signed. Each lease must have consumed an entire years’ worth of reading for me – and that’s just one example of many, no doubt.

So, the movement to eBook readers becomes significant for additional reasons. It’s the beginning of a move online for everything that is printed and which needs to be read and edited. I’m talking magazines, newspapers, brochures, legal documents and records. You name it: everything will end up online. It will be amazing for the environment as, in time, paper will become obsolete.

Perhaps I’m a reluctant convert to the Kindle edition of The Human Race. However much I love my first book, I know that in the long term, eBook readers are much better for the environment and, in turn, all of us.

Explore the new Kindle edition of The Human Race here.

This post was selected for Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #13, hosted by The Book Designer.

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3 Comments so far

  1. derek murphy says:

    Beautiful cover! I’ll definitely check it out. (Did you go with a different cover for the paperback? The red one is better…)

    • O.C. Heaton says:

      Thanks Derek. Yes we did. I have to say we’ve had very mixed reviews of the paperback cover – the bald man on blue. Readers seem to love or hate it which is no bad thing. The publisher wanted a softer look on the e-book and it has gone down much better. There’s talk of changing both moving forward. The second book is out in the fall and the publishers want a more themed approach now they have seen how the story is developing. Covers are certainly critical – even more so on e-books I think. OC


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Reviews of The Human Race

Unputdownable. Yes, I know it's not a word, but it definitely applies here, anyway. That's the word I'm going with, to describe The Human Race by O.C. Heaton. - Hira N. Hasnain

An outstanding first novel from O.C. Heaton that catapults him into the Best Seller league… - Justine Bond

"This is an exciting, fast-paced read. The Human Race is a book that is very easy to forget to put down. Bring on part two!" - L. H. Bowers

"If you are looking for a well-plotted and well-written thriller to while away the hours of a long flight, this offering might suit you very well." - David Bryson, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

For further reviews of The Human Race by O.C. Heaton click here.

Author Bio

Charles Heaton British thriller writer O.C. Heaton, author of The Human Race, is fascinated by the past, present and future of human evolution. (Image credit: Ross Parry Agency) Read More>>

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The BeachThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeLife of PiOuter DarkThe FirmAlexander 3: The Ends of the Earth: A Novel

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