Do readers of electronic books desire a trashier reading experience than those who read in more traditional forms? That’s what international bestseller Fay Weldon (The Ted Dreams, Mischief) seeemed to suggest when the 83-year-old author spoke at The Independent Bath Literature Festival. From The Independent:
Authors should write a literary version for publication in print form, and a racier “good-bad” version for those who use e-readers such as the Kindle. Weldon revealed she had considered expanding a recent e-book novella for print.
“Writers have to write now for a world where readers are busy, on the move and have little time for contemplation and reflection,” she said. “The writer has to focus on writing better, cutting to the chase and doing more of the readers’ contemplative work for them.”Recent research would seem to back Wheldon’s theory:
A European research network studying the effects of digital text reading said “research shows that the amount of time spent reading long-form texts is in decline, and due to digitisation, reading is becoming more intermittent and fragmented”.
Alice Mangen, of Stavanger University in Norway, a lead on the study, said it “might make a difference if the novel is a page-turner or light read…compared to a 500 page, more complex literary novel.”
Weldon wrote on her blog that the works that sell best in e-book form were fast-moving event-driven stories “with no lingering on obscure complicated ideas,” and that authors should “abandon literary dignity” and write two versions of the same novel. She added: “Writers can’t expect the same version of their book to serve both markets.”