Monday, July 19, 2010

The Sky Is Falling (No It Isn't)

No doubt you're hearing about this from all quarters.

Does that bring on any changes to your thoughts about ebooks? I'm sure hard covers haven't been a big seller for a long time now. This must be some kind of sign of sea change tho :)

Have you read a novel on an iphone yet? (I quite enjoy reading in bed w/iphone - great after my wife is asleep. Easy to hold, and no light required :)

I'm wondering if Agents will become Reviewers - if writers all become self publishers, Agents might be better at playing curator. And Amazon just rakes in the bucks.

(tho' they've recently become more generous if I hear that right - reduced their cut to 30%)

I'll answer your questions in order.

(1) Taking into account that Amazon is an internet (technology-based) bookstore with the largest share in the e-Book market, it's still slightly surprising. Not that surprising, though. Remember to take into account that most people who bothered to buy an expensive Kindle did so because they read a lot - more than the average person, and almost everyone with a Kindle I've spoken to has said the amount of books they buy has gone up considerably since buying the Kindle because it's so easy and cheap to buy. So that's skewing the statistics a little. But yeah, e-Books is a market growing by leaps and bounds while books ... are pretty much still books.

(2) I don't have an iPhone. I'm a writer. I'm poor. I have a much cheaper phone with a much smaller screen and I only read my email on it, and I totally hate reading my email on it. I also have a Sony e-Reader that I never use because I find the screen irritating.

(3) E-Book selling really well to everyone self-publishing is a huge leap. Huge. I'm going to guess that most e-Books sold are still published by traditional companies, even if they're small companies. Yes, a lot more people are self-publishing, but it's not necessarily good. Traditional publishing works hard to only publish good books, and if they're not good, to at least edit them well. With very, very few exceptions, almost all of the self-published books we receive as submissions at work or I buy online are terrible in some fashion. It's actually getting frustrating with Amazon, which makes it so easy to not only self-publish but also to hide that you're self-publishing, because I'm running into more and more books that have poor layouts and copy-editing and then I look the company up, find out it's owned by the author, and say, "Oh, it was self-published. That explains it."

(4) Amazon is probably trying to keep competitive with the other places to buy e-Books.


Mary McDonald said...

I use the Kindle app for PC and read on my little netbook. It's not quite as comfy as a book, but I read a novel the other night and at midnight when I finished it, I was excited to discover there was a sequel. I bought it right then and started reading it.

I downloaded the Kindle app for Blackberry, but haven't tried it yet. I don't think I can read on a phone either, but I've heard of people reading that way when they are on trains, or standing in lines places.

I can't wait to get a Kindle and if I sell a few more books, I can buy one. ;-) I can probably even write it off as a business expense because I really need one to check formatting.

If you see poor formatting in indie books, that's probably one of the reasons. It's like trying to work in the dark if you don't have a Kindle. The preview and samples aren't always the same as what comes up in the actual Kindle.

Annika said...

Thank you, in particular, for your personal response to item 3. Every time I read it, I feel better.

marctaro said...

re: 3) - It's probably true that most self published ebooks suck (to be indelicate). Many publishers books are fairly awful as well - (see endless glut of vampire/zombie/fantasy epics).

That's why I could see the role of critics or curators becoming more important.

Agents and publishers work to keep the quality of their lines high.

I could see a future where influential book critics play that role on the back end. Keeping the quality of their "recommended reads" high.

A reliable recommendation is the same thing to me as a stern editor. The editor quashes before print, the reviewer after.

Either way I get a good book from their efforts.

PamelaTracy said...

Marc said, "I could see a future where influential book critics play that role on the back end. Keeping the quality of their "recommended reads" high."

Interesting to think about. Newspapers are getting smaller, so the reviewers probably won't be there. The Internet isn't policed, so first you deal with reliability of the reviewer, and then when you find a trustworthy "recommended reads" reviewer, just think of how inundated they'll be. I occasionally look at Amazon reviews but have learned not to trust them.

error7zero said...

Question. How warm is an ebook? This is summer and I don't want a lil campfire in my lap.

Anonymous said...

A few days ago I downloaded a Kindle app onto my mini-computer. My mini, of course weighs a little more than a kindle, but I can still read in bed quite nicely with it. I can also watch movies on it, something I don't think you can yet do on a Kindle. Point is that you don't need to bear the expense of a Kindle to have access to the Kindle library and this makes newly released hardcover books very cheap indeed.

_*rachel*_ said...

I got the Kindle for PC and bought a $1 ebook of Robert E. Lee's son's memories of his father. The download was free, and at the time the subject fascinated me (still does, just not as immediately). Otherwise, I'm staying away from ebooks.

Unless, of course, I get too annoyed with hold lists for new releases at the library. (Gah, number 14!)

One thing to consider is that you can't get ebooks at brick and mortar stores. I'd bet that people who buy both still tend to head to the bookstore for their paper copies.