Booksellers are tied to publishing - they need conventional publishing models to continue - but for those companies, that's not the case. Amazon is an infrastructure company; Apple sells hardware; Google is really an advertising company. You can't afford as a publisher to have those companies control your route to market.

Nick Harkaway

Nick Harkaway

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: British

Some suggestions for you :

We lose stories every day because they drift out of use and into the vast limbo of in-copyright, out-of-print books whose ownership is unclear.

We tend to assume that data is either private or public, either owned by one person or shared by many. In fact there's more to it than that, above and beyond the upsetting reality that private data is now anything but.

We simply cannot afford to allow our government to go unscrutinised, most of all in amid the bleak seeming imperatives of the 'war on terror'.

A lot of author events are basically hour-long classes in entropy perched on bad seating under bright, hard lights, with - if you're lucky - bad Chardonnay and cheese on a stick waiting for you at the end of the ride.

I'm an irredeemable urbanite. I can't imagine living more than a five-minute walk from my fellow human beings. Other people are vital to my peace of mind.

Cheese is good. And Britain, despite the grumblings of the French and the outrage of the Swiss, not to mention some plucky challenges from Italy, Austria, and Spain, has some of the best cheese in the world. We're world leaders in cheese.

Digitisation was supposed to lead to a great democratisation of access to creative work.

I'm not an absolutist about free speech. Intellectually, I believe that most of the time it's better to let things get said, argue them, and put lies and stupidities to rest. Practically, I know that newspapers rarely issue corrections with the same prominence they give to denouncements - and Twitter, by its nature, never does.

In both 'Tigerman' and my first book, 'The Gone-Away World,' there are characters who never really get names. They're too fundamentally who they are to be bound by a name, so I couldn't give them one.

The great thing is to have been surrounded by stories all my life.

With true free speech has to come an understanding of when and when not to use it. But you can't legislate that. It must be voluntary - especially in a world where a whisper can reach a million people in an eye blink.

Whether you're choosing for yourself or for a character - or for a child - names have baggage of their own.

There is not now, nor I suspect will there ever be, a le Carre novel with ninjas in it. Most serious novelists are wary of including ninjas in their writing. That's a shame, because many much-admired works of modern fiction could benefit from a few.

Throughout the '90s and early 2000s, our financial industry and governments leaned on a snake-oil mirage of wealth creation, a bubble predicated on the obvious falsehood that things could only get better.