Greetings everyone. I am writing this today because I need to bring to the surface a rather big concern that has echoed throughout the world for the last few decades or so, and as well as this a proposition which I hope will be one step on the way to solving it.
The truth is that literacy is facing a severe decline. Surveys suggest a good portion of the population of the United States and United Kingdom can't read English at a five year old's level without struggling. The reason I believe for this decline is because currently reading books isn't encouraged enough by parents, and its not seen as a worthwhile use of free time by many.
One could also blame talk show repeats on Freeview, but i'm leaving the implications of television out of this letter for various reasons.
What I believe should be done is that us as writers should be encouraging more people to read as an alternative to television. Not just our stories of various genres, but non-fiction books as well. Printed books are still rather expensive and hard to produce on a small scale, but there has been a new method of reading for a few years.
You may have seen people using e-reading devices (such as Kobo, Kindle, Sony Reader etc) or applications on their smartphones or tablets (iBooks, Aldiko, Stanza). What these do is read specially packaged document files (MOBI for Kindle, EPUB for everything else) and displays them on a distraction-free background in big, clear text thats nice on the eyes. I've owned a Sony Reader (PRS-505) for several years now, and its absolutely amazing for reading stories on the move.
Now the reason i'm bringing this up is because I believe E-Reading devices and Applications are the future of reading literature, and that making EPUB and MOBI files is incredibly simple. Using an ebook management application like Calibre, its possible to convert the text file to an ebook and package it with the cover, metadata, and other details. This makes it much nicer for people to read on their devices (try reading a story on FA on a smartphone screen, and you'll see what I mean).
Starting with Fucking Ponies 6: Hybrid Dashie released on 13th February 2013, i'll be supplying EPUB and MOBI versions of the story available for download as well. This includes every story released this year, and I may consider making compendiums of previous stories in these formats as well. I'm encouraging all writers out there to consider doing the same to their stories.
Before the release on the 13th February, i'll be releasing guides on how to Load EPUB/MOBI files on your device and How to use Calibre to convert documents to those formats. Stay tuned.
So yea, basically i'm asking all story writers to consider supplying their completed works in these formats as well so we can fight illiteracy and make the world a better place. Thanks to everyone for reading, and I hope you consider my proposition.