In a society where instant gratification is one of the essential components of everyday life, it is little wonder that eBooks successfully outsold traditional books for the first time last year. However, are we paying a price for this convenience?

A quick search on Amazon’s Kindle store will reveal hundreds of eBooks retailing for less than the price of a bus ticket. While this provides consumers with a nice change from the overpriced books more often available on the market, the books themselves are proof that quantity is not always an improvement on quality.

Grammar mistakes, poor characterisation, rambling plots and unprofessional layouts are all risks readers take when buying an eBook. Self-publication has allowed writers to bypass more traditional methods of publication and this is causing books go onto the market with no more revisions than a simple spell check from the writer’s word processor.

Fear not though, because not all is lost. For every ten shoddy Twilight knockoffs, there is one glorious hidden gem. These books have escaped the pretension of the more traditional publication routes and emerged unscathed by the amateurish taint that normally colours self-published works. For this reason, I plan to continue to take the chance on those eBooks that have only a handful of reviews because you never know when you are going to stumble across the next big thing.

Even JK Rowling had to start somewhere. Who knows? Maybe Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone could have ended up as a self – published, unknown eBook.

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