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If you have a Kindle (or a device you can read a Kindle book on like an iPad, or Android tablet, or smartphone or PC or Mac... you get the picture) today is a momentous day as between now and 21 May, to celebrate the Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Fest (I kid you not), my friend Henry Gee's dark and gothic crime mystery By the Sea is free! (Check it out at or

It's worth writing this post just to tell you this. I mean, it has a creepy museum with a preserved mermaid! However I did have a larger point. I will be rushing to download a copy to my iPad... and yet I have already bought the real, paper version. Why would I do this? I think it represents a fundamental shift. My life is getting cloudy.

It's not that I'm abandoning paper books, but if I can have a book available in e-format as well, I will - because then if I want to look at it and I'm not at home I can do it, just like that. My library is heading cloudward.

The same thing is happening with music - I still sometimes buy CDs, but immediately slam them into iTunes. It's the same with photos. Nowadays if I take a photo it will be native in electronic format, but I am also going through a lengthy programme of scanning my old hard copy pictures. In fact the scanner is getting quite a hammering, as any documents I get in physical format that may be useful go straight into the scanner and via a nifty little app are transferred to PDF and hoovered up by Evernote - which then means I can access them wherever I want, whenever I want.

So don't look at getting a Kindle version of a book as neglecting the old paper friends. You can still keep your hard copies - but consider it a widening of your horizons. How else could you decide at a moment's notice to read about a pickled mermaid for free?


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