Monday, July 19, 2010
You don't scare me, Kindle!
Kindle. eReader. EZReader. The Alex. The Que. The Nook, iRex, Plastic Logic.
Every time a new e-reader debuts, the book world hurls itself into a panic.“…[P]ublishers are distracting themselves by fretting over the price of eBooks, withholding eBook releases so as not to cannibalize hardcover book sales, and watching helplessly as their businesses erode,” Reuters quoted Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps. (RedOrbit.com).
So. Is this the end of the book? Am I about to be out of a job? Man, I was just getting started here.
I’m bucking the trend. I don’t think so.
Gen Xers were raised reading on screens, and that’s how many of them are now reading books. Further, the explosion of online social networking and personal and professional blogs is accustoming many in the baby boomer generation to the habit of reading onscreen. An e-format book is going to look more familiar and reassuring every time they log on to Facebook.
I myself recently downloaded a Great Books app to my iPhone, and guess what? If I were stuck in an airport waiting for a late plane and I’d accidentally packed my book in my checked baggage (it’s happened, and the horror), I could reread Pride and Prejudice on my iPhone just fine. It scrolls past at a speed I set in a font I choose and I’ve got over 150 public domain titles from which to pick, including all of Sherlock Holmes and The Three Musketeers plus both sequels. If I were toting all that around in book form my bag would never fit into the overhead bin. Not to mention what it would do to my back trying to get it there.
So I’m selling my Star Svensdotter and Liam Campbell novels, long out of print, on Kindle and iPhone, and as soon as I get five minutes I’m going to get tech-friendly with uploading all my out-of-print titles, including short stories, for sale on all the other e-devices as well.
As I was writing this post, I checked the iTunes App store book page. The number one free app? Kindle for iPhone. Number two? The B&N eReader. As it happens, I don’t need either one of them because my app has its own built-in reader. And it and all the books it comes with cost me the magnificent sum of $1.99. At that price, you think I won’t buy more?
Eric over at Pimp My Novel says, “These cheap books might be the death of publishing, book sharing might be the death of publishing, Stephen King is delaying his e-book because e-books are the death of publishing…is anyone else bored of this conversation?” and then links to Lit Drift’s 5 Reasons Why the Novel is Not a Dying Medium, where they channel Mark Twain in saying that the death of the novel is greatly exaggerated.
On his blog, literary agent Nathan Bransford says, “Things are changing, it’s going to be an interesting/challenging couple of years as we gradually succumb to our coming e-book overlords, but it doesn’t mean the novel is going to disappear or that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket. Things aren’t going to be worse (at least in the long term), they’re just going to be different…”
I can do different. My feeling is that the more ways you can read, the more you will read, which is only good news for me. I do not mean to make light of the real changes facing everyone at every level of the publishing industry. Change is always scary.
But change doesn’t have to be bad, and in this case, I don’t believe it is.
Dana Stabenow was born in Anchorage and raised on 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. She knew there was a warmer, drier job out there somewhere and found it in writing books. Her first science fiction novel, Second Star, sank without a trace, her first crime fiction novel, A Cold Day for Murder, won an Edgar award, her first thriller, Blindfold Game, hit the New York Times bestseller list, and her twenty-seventh novel and eighteenth Kate Shugak novel, Though Not Dead, comes out in February 2011. Visit her web site: http://www.stabenow.com/