Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WEDNESDAY'S BURNING QUESTION

Ellen Hart writes:

After returning from the SinC Summit trip to visit Apple, Amazon, Smashwords and Google, my ideas have changed enormously about ebooks.  We're hoping to make the Summit report available to the membership early in August, so stay tuned. 

My question for this week is:

How do you view ebooks?  Are they the Great Industry Satan?  Something you'll never use?  Something you already use and like?  Do you think ebooks are out to ruin the printed book?  Are we about to see the death of the paper book?  Are you anxious about this change in the industry?  Excited?  Wary?  Do you think ebooks will provide you, as an author or a reader, any benefit?  Are you sick of the subject and simply want to ignore it?

19 comments:

Janet McCord said...

I love the idea of ebooks because it means I can take as many books as I want with me wherever I go. Also, I now live in the UK (Scotland) and ordering and having books sent from the US is prohibitively expensive. With a device such as a Kindle I can order my favorite books and get them without shipping charges--at least that's the hope, I haven't gotten one yet but I desire one desperately. Also, when I was in the hospital briefly my husband brought me all the wrong books but with an ebook reader I wouldn't have needed to worry. I currently have an extensive library and would still buy actual books because there is a tactile pleasure in holding, smelling and turning the pages of a book. Still, you can't beat the convenience of an ebook reader.

Lorraine_Bartlett said...

FYI -- BookDepository.com will ship books anywhere for FREE.

That said, as an author with books available on Kindle, Sony ereaders and Nook, I'm very happy they are selling (and more every month) on these electronic outlets.

Joyce said...

I haven't purchased an e-reader or any ebooks yet. My sister, who travels a lot for business, says she doesn't know how she survived before she bought a Kindle. With the prices dropping, I'll probably put either a Kindle or Nook on my Christmas list this year.

Although I love print books, and don't believe they'll ever be completely gone, ebooks are definitely here to stay.

I think this is a great time to be a writer. With ebooks taking off, it can only mean more opportunity to reach readers, and maybe even generate more income.

Julie said...

I bought a Kindle earlier this year, and I love it. Free books, classics, samples sent to my Kindle--love it. Traveling, new books are always at my disposal. I am one of the people who has bought more books since buying my Kindle, but has bought my share of paper books as well.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

I just got a Kindle--I wasn't going to, but then the price went down and I couldn't resist. I'm reading my first book on it, and it's fun. And fine.
And a little weird. I can't get used to the pages clicking as I turn them. Somehow, that's distracting.
And I make the font nice and big, which is really lovely--but then I'm turning the pages all the time. Click click click click click.
But I suppose it took me a while to get used to the remote on our TV.
Being able to buy a book instantly--well, that's downright dangerous.

Ruth McCarty said...

My husband bought me a Kindle last Christmas, and I have to say he's been reading two or three books a week on it. I think it's great to find the backlist of a favorite author, and you can buy AHMM or EQMM too. I still buy books, because after all you can't get an e-book signed by the author. (Yet)

Sheila Connolly said...

If we're writers, they're still our words, right? We have to remember that there are lots of readers who don't live anywhere near a bricks-and-mortar bookstore, so they may buy more books if they can do it quickly and easily.

And if you're traveling, it must be wonderful. I know that I live in dread of running out of reading material (unless I'm at a mystery writers conference), and with airlines charging extra for luggage and excess weight, an e-reader would be a blessing.

But I'll admit I don't have one--yet.

Barbara said...

As a librarian, I have serious concerns about the way the market has so far handled ebooks - something I recently wrote about in Library Journal. But I think we need to remember that paperbacks were controversial, but turned out to be good for book culture; audiobooks are good; and e-books are another format that will be a good option for some people at least some of the time. There will still be an urge to share books (also good for book culture) and to have places where you can browse for books and get advice (which is what booksellers and public libraries do well), and there's still a lot of affection for owning printed books as a record of who you are, so I suspect rather than be an either/or, it's going to be merely another format. And compatibility issues and other concerns will eventually sort themselves out. Avid readers tend to eventually get their way, and it's a good thing, too.

Marcia Talley said...

I'm back from an eye-opening Summit Trip with a new understanding and respect for ebooks. As soon as I find the time, I'm going to get my out-of-print novel converted to digital format, my short stories too, and publish them up in ebook format. They certainly aren't generating any revenue for me by sitting in a drawer!

Meanwhile, I've got a novel to finish by deadline. What I really need is a personal assistant for all this other stuff. Sigh. Where's a six-figure advance when you really need one? [goofy grin]

Kaye George said...

I have a Sony e-reader, so I can read Amazon/Kindle books as well as lots of others. I love downloading to it and taking 30 books, as well as e-zines and articles, word doc, pdfs, whatever, with me when I travel.

Margaret Lucke said...

If ebooks bring us new readers and give us new opportunities to make our work available, then I'm all for them. I don't use an ebook reader myself -- yet -- but they're here to stay. That doesn't mean print books will disappear. It's like TV and movies. At first a lot of people thought the rise of TV would be the kiss of death for theatrical films, but that didn't happen. Print books and ebooks will eventually find a way to coexist.

RhondaL said...

I think people will want various ways to consume their entertainment (books, music, video) depending upon the venue of use.

Sometimes via phone, sometimes via dedicated playback machine (from phone to ereader to HD big screen TV.) I think that kind of flexibility will apply to books, too. Not sure how the big screen TV might come in, but you never know. Who ever thought people would be reading off the phone?

One non-negotiable ereader feature for me is a touch screen. I don't have wrist problems yet, but I don't need anything else where I'd be click-click-clicking with my right hand.

But like Ruth, I'm gathering ereader intel to pass onto Santa for later this year.

Trollbaby said...

I have to say that I love my Kindle. I lost everything a few years ago; home, treasures, money, books, etc., and I found that I cannot afford to replace many of the books I loved. That is, if I could even find them in print. With my Kindle, I was able to recreate much of my library; Complete works of Dickens, Poe, Oscar Wilde, Doyle, Twain even Shakespeare, most for under $5.00 for an authors complete collection.

And I have to say that I love the free Samples available through Amazon. Most are at least 3 full chapters so you have a chance to really get involved in the writing. I have to admit that I usually end up buying the book right then. Through Samples, I have discovered many new authors and read things I never would have thought of before.

The best part is, being handicapped I can't always get to the bookstore the day a book comes out, but it's on my Kindle first thing in the morning, ready to read.

I still love my 'real' books, but I also love my 'virtual' books on the Kindle. I hope to see more authors embrace it. It makes traveling a joy and even wait time at the Doctor's office doesn't bother me like it used to. Hope that helps for those making up their minds.

Aimee said...

I really don't have much of value to contribute after everyone made their wonderful points. I am thrilled to see Marcia say she wants to get her back catalog into e-format!

Many of the books on my Kindle are out-of-print books that authors and/or publishers were forward thinking enough to have e-pubbed or self-pubbed. I've found books from foreign authors who've never been published in hands-on books in the US.

I would never have been exposed to these books without this medium.

I still buy "real" books and I always will. My Kindle is just a tool to allow me greater access to works of the authors that I want to read.

Plus my Kindle on my iPhone saved lives right before the historic DC blizzards had my local grocery paralyzed. If I hadn't been able to lose myself in a very funny book I'd have likely committed homicide instead of just reading about it. ;)

Annette said...

I just got my iPad on Monday. I now have apps for iBook, Kindle, and eBook. I am reading my first book on Kindle and love it. I am excited to see so many out of print titles available. Will I stop buying print books? NO, absolutely not. I will continue to buy hardback and paperback books written by my favorite authors and books in my favorite series.

Kathy Ferguson said...

I have a Sony reader. I swore I would never use one until my daughter bought her reader and let me try it. I didn't realize how bumping up the font size would change my enjoyment of reading. I have the version where I can drag a finger across the screen to turn the page, or I can click the back/next buttons, which are positioned next to my left thumb. If ebooks make an author's work more easily accessible, and especially if they make older works that are out of print accessible again, I'm all for them. I'd rather stop killing trees to make books so long as I can keep reading.

Marcia Talley said...

Okay, I caved. My iPad has just been shipped and should arrive on Tuesday, just in time for me to take it with me to the St Hilda's Crime and Mystery weekend in Oxford, UK. Now to decide what books to download! The selection is enormous.

Lorraine_Bartlett said...

Marcia, feel free to download my books. Really, I don't mind. (Or maybe just make sure they're there! iPad could sell a lot of books for all our sisters.)

Msmstry said...

I'm sitting in my easy chair, laptop in lap, iPad on the table beside me, and open ARC at my elbow. Using gadgets is almost as big a part of me as reading.

We planned a two-week trip in a pickup truck. It's a big truck, but there just wasn't going to be enough room in the cab for my usual large tote of books (hardcovers, paperbacks, and ARCs). I've been busy downloading my TBR pile and saving room for clothes!

The touchscreen on the iPad is great (no buttons), I can change font size and brightness levels, and I can still receive email and post reviews to my blog site ("Meritorious Mysteries" is at mysteryheel.blogspot.com. The only disadvantage I've found so far is there's no connection for uploading photos. Steve Jobs, are you reading this?

I do have a small stack (nowhere near a TBR-sized pile!) of print copies that I'll take to the pool and bathtub while we're traveling.

Embrace the technology, folks. It's coming anyway.

Molly Weston, Editor, inSinC