Real books

There's a big shift going on in the publishing world at the moment - more of a landslide, really - with the advent and growth of ebooks.

You can read pages and pages of agonising from people who think they're armageddon for writers, and just as much from others who believe they're a boon.

My own view is that they're simply another advance, just a new trick of technology, because they don't change, at heart, what writing is all about.

In my humble thoughts, it's down to telling stories. We've been doing it since language evolved, sitting around the camp fire, listening to the tribal elders tell their tales. We learn and are entertained. And that remains the case to this day.

It's all about imagination and the way we, as writers, tell our stories. So I don't much mind whether my efforts are being enjoyed on a piece of paper, a screen, or if I'm reading them out loud to a group of youngsters.

So long as it's working, stimulating the imagination and being passably entertaining, that'll do for me. Because it all serves the same need - one which I believe is fundamental to us as a species, and which will never change.

We like to be entertained, and we need to learn.

That said, here's the confession - I do have a preference for old fashioned wedges of paper, all bound together, with a picture on the front (the technical term is a book, I believe). The reasons, I think, are a threefold -

Firstly, when you get published the thrill of seeing your work there, in an actual, proper, grown up bookstore, is something you never forget. It doesn't feel the same with ebooks.

(I took endless photos of mine when the joy of publication first came upon me and sent them to my friends and family (lucky them.))

Secondly, I just like the way books feel. I like the smell of the paper, the sound of the pages turning, the weight of the thing in your hand. The physical presence seems to bring it an authority.

And I like bookshelves, too - I think they're an important part of any home.

Finally - and here's a daft thought for you - when I do book signings, where am I supposed to scribble on an ebook?!