Tuesday, July 24, 2012

e-books versus tree books

I like to read novels every now and then and our bookshelves at home are a testament to that. However I have never been a fan of clutter which is strange as wargamers are possibly Kings (or Queens) of clutter when it comes to paints and miniatures etc and our books cases are starting to fill up. Reading is usually my inspiration for more wargames purchasing. On the net in blogs, wargames magazines, forums and also novels.

I have collected the Macro and Cato novels (The Eagle series) and will continue to do so but I didn't enjoy the last book (Praetorian) as much as previous ones. It was good but it was that sort of court intrigue that is interesting but not as interesting as being out in the frontiers on campaign that more appeals to me. These books are read by she who must be obeyed as well so I have read them in quick order as she can't cope with my 'Oh you are not going to believe what happens to such and such...".

I have also completely enjoyed Bernard Cornwells Saxon series. It's great for getting into a mood for Saga games and gives you great background material for England in the Viking ages. I highly recommend them. They are brutal and heroic and full of the sights and smells of an age of mud, wattle, axes, round shields and sh!t.

At the start of this year I got an Ipad 2 and figured out that it can also function as a reading device like a Kindle. I may be a little slow on the up take and many of you reading this may even be likely to have taken to e-books long ago. So this year I have purchased a few novels in the old 'made from trees' format and a very few in the 'does not take up any space on the bookshelf format'. I am even guilty of recently going in to a bookstore and having a look around then going home and buying the novel on iTunes. It works out around half price compared to the 'made from trees' product.
Recently I had a hankering to re-read 'The Hobbit' especially after looking at you tube blogs about the making of the 2 x 3D moves of the same name (the first one to be released in December). Really looking forward to it. So I picked up a copy while visiting family interstate. I like the book so much that I decided to make it a read out loud experience for my kid. It also helped fill in some of the day while it rained and rained outside. It is becoming an enjoyable shared experience for us both. This may be the downside to buying an e-book. Less sharing. It might be a little harder to share the novels around with friends and family than it is with a hard copy version. I don't really know.
For wargamers and wargames companies digital distribution may offer some interesting options. I recently acquired the Kings of War latest rules PDF for free. A great set of rules that has a simplicity that Saga seems to have captured. The rules also open up lots of cool modeling opportunity's with wound counters as casualty indicators. This means big block units stay on the table until destroyed. Very cool.
I figure on one hand a company like Mantic has just given you the best possible reason for you to buy an Army from them as you now have the game rules. On the other hand if the cost of these types of publications are not built into the miniatures price then it seems a possibility that the quality of rule books will diminish. How is the cost of rules development, graphic design, photography cool painted miniatures covered if we just get free rules? A balance of investment for a games compnay no doubt. Gamers are often collectors by nature though and I think an old school made from trees rule book will endure for some time though. Even if it is a lot quicker to search a digital document for a specific rule it is still probably more practical to take a rulebook down to your local club. $40 printed rulebook or $1000 digital device hmmmmm...I know what I would rather take.

Happy reading for now from Brendon (The Kiwi)


  1. I do like the Bernard Cornwell books.

  2. Im a big fan of the Eagle series but didnt realize there was TWO books I hadnt known existed until now! Cant wait to go get them both. Iam the same as you though, if Praetorian is all Rome politics and intrigue I wont enjoy it as much as the rest.

    Also currently reading the Pale Horseman. Enjoying the Saxon series so far but its no Eagle!

  3. The good news is 'SPOILER ALERT' is that at the end of Praetorian, Macro and Cato get orders to go back to Britannia. So the next book should be really good. The books with them in Britannia may be among my favourites in the series perhaps.