Ebooks: The Good, the Bad, The Ugly

All right, all right. Every discussion I get into turns into an ebook talk these days. Here are my thoughts on the rise of the book:


- People who buy ereaders are not reading LESS. All I hear from people is "I'm reading things I never would have before." Those big books seem less intimidating.

- No more cover anxiety. Many readers don't want to be seen reading a book with a bad cover, or a girly cover, or a YA-looking cover. This is not an issue with ebooks. A good cover is still important, though.

- Every book stays in print. People will probably never have as much trouble finding How To Get Suspended and Influence People as I did finding Bugs Potter Live at Nickaninny.

- If my textbooks were on ipad in high school, my backpack would have been a LOT less likely to cause back problem (those things were HEAVY) and the text books would have been more up to date.


- As it is, if a book isn't by a "name" author and doesn't have a lot of marketing money behind it, chain stores are very reluctant to carry it unless it sticks RIGIDLY to a proven formula (or can be made to look like it does). This is probably going to get worse. Eventually we're likely to see many book stores look like the CD department at Target - hot new sellers and a little bit of selected backlist only.

- The growing belief that books should cost no more than $2.99. I'm not immune to this myself. I paid 15 bucks for an ebook just yesterday, but don't think I didn't look for a cheaper copy first.

- When you self publish, you don't go through the same editorial process, the copyediting process, or any of that. You can pay a freelancer, but I don't see anyone adding "professionally copeydited" in their descriptions. "Self published" will likely continue to carry the same stigma it already has.

- Libraries can get left out of this - they have a hard enough time getting "boy books" for the YA section now. What'll happen if the only ones coming out are ebooks?


- Piracy. This is bigger than people realize. I'm pretty sure that illegal downloads of my last book outnumbered actual sales. Certainly there were more downloads than sales of the legal ebook edition.


E. Kristin Anderson said...

Yes to ALL of the above. Though I know libraries are working very hard to find a way to adjust to ebooks. It's actually pretty interesting.

I have a friend whose latest book was put out as an ebook by her agency. She's doing really well with it, and I'm starting to believe in this ebook thing. At the same time, the "self published" thing isn't going away. I'm starting to wonder where we're going to draw a line, marketingwise, for these "professionaly" done ebooks.

Karen said...

I have a kindle, I buy ebooks, so I'm not a total Luddite. But I still like to read most books in their paper incarnations. It's a tactile thing, I guess. Also, I can't help but worry about what the ebook revolution is going to do to midlist authors and new authors. How will people find out about their books?

Piracy is a problem, and not a little one. Even though you know there was a problem with stripped cover mass markets being floated around in the past, it was nothing like the potential for theft in the digital age. I don't know how the publishers are going to handle that, but I hope they come up with some way to police things before too many authors have to give up writing because they can't make money.

Adam's New Book: Sept 2013