A Kindle (other ebook readers are available. Obviously you wouldn’t buy one) isn't just a device to hide the fact you're reading The Hunger Games or – cliché incoming – 50 Shades Of Grey. It’s also the source of numerous literary works that will never be printed, bound and shipped to Waterstones. These electronic-only books can often slip by unnoticed, not seen on the bestseller charts and only discoverable by typing their exact titles in the search box – it’s the digital equivalent of 16,000 copies of Alan Partridge’s Bouncing Back being sent to the pulpers. But they deserve better. Here are five ebook exclusives to download immediately.
Second Son by Lee Child
Jack Reacher strolls (or buses or hitchhikes) his way into a number of downloadable short stories, many taken from crime compilations or pieces Child originally wrote for magazines. But best of all is this – a novella written to promote last year’s The Affair. Set in the early Seventies, Reacher is just 13-years-old, but already solving crimes and busting heads. It’s a touch daft (you were expecting James Joyce, perhaps?) but it’s an interesting opportunity to experience Reacher at a stage of his life that had only previously been hinted at.
Pray by Nick Hornby
Brutal honesty: Nick Hornby isn’t as essential as he used to be. It’s not entirely his fault, but novels about teenage skaters don’t resonate as strongly as books discussing the male psyche and top five lists. Pray, however, is a return to the subject that all made us notice Hornby in the first place: football. An account of the 2011/12 Premier League season, it makes compelling reading, especially given the extraordinary finale. Unless, of course, you’re a Manchester United fan.
Cuba: Revolution In Retreat by Michael Reid
Exclusive ebooks aren’t just about vigilantes or extended columns for famous writers. In fact, the vast majority of them are terrible romances. But let’s ignore them because, occasionally, you get something more highbrow. Like? Well how about this dissertation on Cuba’s political status from The Economist? You’ll feel smart for reading it. Everyone else will still assume you’re reading EL James.
Six of the Best by Matt Hilton
Like Jack Reacher? Then you might like Joe Hunter. Not as much, but he’ll tide you over. If you’re unsure before about taking the leap into the first of the six novels (the recommendation from Richard Hammond on the cover probably won’t help), buying this collection of short stories instead will save you two pounds. A smart move all round.
My Dining Hell by Jay Rayner
Positive reviews of restaurants are useful things. They won’t, however, have you snorting gleefully at a well-timed putdown. That’s where negative reviews come in and this compilation is made up entirely of the best bad reviews by Britain’s finest restaurant critic (no arguments on this point, please), complete with updates on exactly what happened to the restaurants in question. For the most part, they closed down.