Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Four Railway Series eBooks

In 1943, the Reverend Wilbert Awdry created stories for his sick child to amuse him.  Two years later, these stories were published and released to the British public.  Nowadays his characters are a runaway success, but the original creations have, really, been left in the dust... until now!

In 2007, after a 10 year hiatus - and a failed restyling by new publishers Egmont - the Railway Series returned in its classic, small book glory.  To add to that, they released a special "complete collection" book for Christopher Awdry's works, as well as a brand new book, Thomas and Victoria.  Four years later, Thomas and his Friends was released to celebrate, what would've been, the Rev. W. Awdry's centenery.

However, while this was a great thing, I really didn't think it went far enough as, every time I searched for a Railway Series book, I rarely found any, even in book stores.  And that continues to be the case.  However, TV series tie-ins fly off the shelves and can be easily found.  The only real place you can find the Railway Series is online.  And while it's good, it's not really good enough.

A few weeks ago, the first four Railway Series books were released on Apple's iTunes.  But I didn't find this out in newspapers or on TV adverts.  No.  Again, it came down to the internet to discover the information.  I found all four (eventually), then discovered at the end of the book an advert for the other Railway Series books...  Really?!  That's it?!

How are you meant to sell something that you put online yet don't even advertise?!

And THAT is the problem with releasing these eBooks, and it's eerily similar to the problem that the printed books have: they're very difficult to find.  Only Thomas the Tank Engine is in the Children's Charts (outside the Top 50 on last check), and only if you search through EVERY children's eBook can you find them.

Even using the Search tool won't always work.  Searching for "Thomas the Tank Engine" will only bring up books two and four, while you'd have to put in the EXACT names of the other two books to get them.  ONLY by searching for the author's name ("Rev. W. Awdry") or "Hit Entertainment" will you get all four books up.  And while, yes, I applaud the advert at the end of each book, it really doesn't go far enough.  These adverts should be on other websites, book stores, even on the homepage of iTunes if necessary!

But Egmont and HiT aren't doing this, so the message of these books has to be spread by the mature fans like us.  We have to spread the word of these books as much as possible.  Buy them, and get them up the charts.  Rate them, and get parents of Thomas fans interested in buying them for their Kindles and mobile Apple products (iPhones, iPads, etc.).  Heck, even spread the word between friends who have these devices and get them (or their kids) interested in the ORIGINAL Thomas books.

The basic message of this blog post is thus: spread the word of these Railway Series eBooks, because God knows these big corporate businesses won't...

UK Prices:
£1.37 (Kindle)
£1.99 (iBook)

US Prices:
$2.15 (Kindle)
$2.10 (Thomas the Tank Engine, Kindle)
I don't know US iBook prices.  If any US fans DO know please feel free to post them as a comment.



Sadly, Apple won't allow links to their eBooks, but search for the Rev. W. Awdry or HiT Entertainment and you'll find them with no problem.