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Kindle edition of Herodotus- price scandalous
on 18 April 2012
First about the Kindle edition: It is absolutely scandalous that Penguin is selling this at £8.99, ie £9, which should be the cost of a paperback, and should not be acceptable price for an e-book.
As customers and readers, we should beware of such a trend; technology, which should be a boon to all, is retrogressive if used primarily to the seller's advantage. Kindle books started off being about £2, but we are being fobbed off by what will simply be a replacement of paperback markets, and a withdrawal of them, unless readers vote with their feet. I think Amazon should not be sponsoring any kindle book at this price. And I personally want a paperback: I don't want to read a prized book out of something like a large keyhole. And though the format has its conveniences, it should be an adjunct to the paperback market, not a replacement for it.
Re the book itself, Herodotus is a magic author, absolutely fascinating and one feels that he is on the side of his readers, a person of wide human sympathy, and his love of storytelling is combined seamlessly with his commitment to history and respect for facts. What is really attractive about him is his willingness to be interested in a wide range of cultures: the Greeks had repelled a major Persian invasion, and a major threat to their culture and self determination. Herodotus, like the later Polybius, belongs to the type of historian who looks outwards; the Greeks had repelled the Persian threat, but needed to understand the Middle Eastern powers. After the Greek world had been subjected by the Romans, Polybius takes a similar view towards them: "They are here to stay, and we need to know who they are, where they came from, and where they might be going."