10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

News, trends, and the future of publishing
User avatar
Ishta
Posts: 167
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 3:31 am
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by Ishta » August 25th, 2010, 7:05 pm

I'd give up my favorite author, no question. There will always be good books out there, but how I red them is a part of my lifestyle, and I'm way too attached to that.

User avatar
polymath
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by polymath » August 25th, 2010, 7:53 pm

Roguecyber wrote:Which would you give up, your favorite author or your preferred reading format? Consider this example, your favorite author, the one your truly love, will only publish in the format you don’t prefer. For ebook lovers that would be paper books, for Paper book lovers that would be ebooks. Would you either buy the books in your non-favorite format or would you give up on the author and get something in your favorite format. Interesting question and I’d love to hear answers from both sides.
Neither. If I wanted either I'd reformat to suit my desires. I have done both legitimately, for personal Fair Use consumption and also for legal reproduction. Once I've paid for a copy it's mine to own and use as I see fit, inlcuding print out or digitizing so long as I don't distribute it. Legal reproduction includes getting express permission to do so with copyrighted material or good faith verification of expired copyright. However, an author or publisher who dictates to me how to read is a lost cause.
Spread the love of written word.

wetair
Posts: 69
Joined: December 17th, 2009, 9:01 pm
Location: Inside Your Head
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by wetair » August 25th, 2010, 8:41 pm

I am not going to give up my favorite author (or series!). I have a few favorite authors (and series!) I would read it in whichever format is most affordable to be me. That leaves out hardcover. I prefer ebook, but if it only comes out in paperback, than that is what I will read it in. And if it only comes out in hardcover, well, I guess I will either not read it at all or get it from the library.

User avatar
steve
Posts: 203
Joined: June 26th, 2010, 12:09 am
Location: Web City
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by steve » August 25th, 2010, 8:51 pm

Roguecyber wrote: Which would you give up, your favorite author or your preferred reading format?
People have been giving up their favorite authors for decades. If your favorite writer didn't sell much, publishers stopped printing his books.

The promise that ebooks/kindle will bring back all the Peter De Vries, Margaret Drabble, Forrest Reid, etc. titles is terrific. And if I want Clarice Lispector in Portuguese I can get it just as quick.

People forget that up until 1992 Cormac McCarthy was out of print; none of his first 5 books were available.

That won't happen anymore.
Read one of the best stories by Borges.

User avatar
Lillian Grant
Posts: 20
Joined: August 24th, 2010, 2:23 am
Location: Adelaide South Australia
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by Lillian Grant » August 26th, 2010, 12:03 am

How about if you as a writer were offered a contract to publish your novel as an e-book and not a paper book? If that was the only offer on the table, would you refuse?

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by Margo » August 26th, 2010, 10:47 am

Lillian Grant wrote:How about if you as a writer were offered a contract to publish your novel as an e-book and not a paper book? If that was the only offer on the table, would you refuse?
I'm assuming you mean a publisher who does e-book only, not a publisher who can do both but doesn't want to? Yes, I already have turned down an offer like that. Then again, I never queried the publisher in the first place. They approached me because of a few short pieces of mine they'd seen (which is one of the reasons I'm a big believer in trying to place short stories even in this market, even when someone considers him/herself a natural novelist).
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

User avatar
J. T. SHEA
Moderator
Posts: 491
Joined: May 20th, 2010, 1:55 pm
Location: IRELAND
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by J. T. SHEA » August 26th, 2010, 12:24 pm

Mira wrote:Nice post, Roguecyber. :) I agree with the 'buying benefits'. I bought TWO books this weekend in less than 30 seconds. My book buying is increasing exponentially and is going to bankrupt me.
Another good argument against E-books! Oh, wait...

Roguecyber
Posts: 4
Joined: August 20th, 2010, 5:50 pm
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by Roguecyber » August 26th, 2010, 3:21 pm

steve wrote:
Roguecyber wrote: Which would you give up, your favorite author or your preferred reading format?
People have been giving up their favorite authors for decades. If your favorite writer didn't sell much, publishers stopped printing his books.

The promise that ebooks/kindle will bring back all the Peter De Vries, Margaret Drabble, Forrest Reid, etc. titles is terrific. And if I want Clarice Lispector in Portuguese I can get it just as quick.

People forget that up until 1992 Cormac McCarthy was out of print; none of his first 5 books were available.

That won't happen anymore.
While that is a great point, it misses the point I was trying to make. Ebooks are alreading showing the "long tail" effect to a greater extent than paper books. You can really see this in the romance and gay fiction genres.

My question was actually more about which is "more sticky" the format or the content? By the limited number of answers so far I would say it is the format not content, which is very interesting. I see this in myself... there are two authors I like a lot, I have been meaning to reread their work but it's packed away in some boxes somewhere. I haven't found them or even bothered to look that hard. Yet I find myself looking once a week or so to see if they are available as ebooks.

User avatar
Bryan Russell/Ink
Posts: 430
Joined: December 20th, 2009, 10:44 pm
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » August 26th, 2010, 10:11 pm

Roguecyber wrote:Ebook buyers spend 20% more then paper books buyers(which is interesting considering the price difference).
This is a rather misleading statistic. Or, rather, there are other interpretations of the data. For one, bviously ebook readers will buy more books on average than paper book readers as only die-hard, full-time readers would spend hundreds of dollars on an ebook reader like the Kindle or Nook. Casual readers won't. But the majority of books sold are to casual readers, to people who pick up a few books a year and won't have much need for an ereader (unless they're gadget folk with lots of disposable money).

I think the data speaks more to the nature of the readers selecting the different formats than anything else. Though, I should note, that this doesn't mean that people won't buy more if they switch to ebooks... they might. Which would be nice. I'm just saying the data shows a correlation, not cause and effect.
The Alchemy of Writing at www.alchemyofwriting.blogspot.com

Sommer Leigh
Moderator
Posts: 1624
Joined: April 2nd, 2010, 11:07 pm
Location: Omaha, NE
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by Sommer Leigh » August 27th, 2010, 8:11 am

This morning I checked my email and found this Wall Street Journal article waiting for me: http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/ar ... love_money

It's an interesting article against e-books for the casual reader, but it mimics a lot of news reports I've seen popping up recently that argue that e-books should be cheaper because there's no printing/distributing costs and that somehow publishers are robbing e-book buyers. It surprises me how many of these articles don't address the cost of creating the book and distributing it digitally, as if that's the cheap part.

I did think it was interesting that the article points out how people will likely (and are already) buying more books on impulse because it is easier and more fun to do it through your e-book. But just because they are buying the books on impulse doesn't mean they are reading them. An important distinction.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by Margo » August 27th, 2010, 12:02 pm

Sommer, you bring up a couple of really good points for me.

I noticed that the writer of the Wall Street Journal article doesn't seem to be aware that ebooks still require the costs of (various types of) editors, the art department, the marketing department, etc. The only costs differences are printing, storage, and transportation. Even ebooks have a distribution cost. I think for Amazon it's something like 9 cents per download.

I also wondered about the behavior of ebook readers before and after ereader purchases. For instance, I am a resource analyst who specializes in transportation. Transit Oriented Design (TOD) has been a hot topic for a few years now. TOD designers like to say that the way they build their projects and the project location right next to a major transit line (bus, light rail, etc) encourages people to ride transit. It makes new riders. For a couple years now, however, the actual behavior of people living in TODs has told a slightly different story. One of the things experts noticed was that a large portion of the people who were actually living in the TOD project and using transit are people who used transit before they moved there. These weren't new riders. They had simply been moved from one location to another, causing a jump in ridership along one line and a decrease on the previous line.

So now I'm wondering, how many of the people who buy a lot of ebooks are people who bought a lot of paperbacks? The fact that romance is very hot with ebook readers really makes me wonder, as these are customers who generally buy a LOT of books anyway. Are we overestimating the 'but it's getting people to READ' effect of ereaders? Are these the people who were already reading 3-5 books a week? And does the conversion to ebooks hold up for heavy readers in other genres? For instance, I read a lot of fantasy, but don't feel drawn to an ereader at all. Thinking back, my friends who are also heavy fantasy consumers are also unimpressed by ebooks.

Overall, I'm starting to think of the ebook revolution the way I think of the smart growth revolution. People make their book purchasing choices and their transportation choices based on an awful LOT of variables. It doesn't always boil down to how convenient it might be to download a book or how close a bus line might be to your front door. I think both 'revolutions' are based on a model that fails to take into account the complex psychology that goes into human choice: culture, symbolism, social values, time constraints, personal bias, spiritual needs, physical needs, emotional needs, etc etc etc. I don't use the closest dry cleaner, even though smart growth predicts I will. I don't take the bus despite having a bus stop one door down from me and working across the street from my city's main transit hub, even though TOD theory says I will. I don't want to read an ebook even though I buy a lot of books, and I won't want to publish on Amazon even with a 70% (max, minus distribution) royalty rate, because those choices don't fit my lifestyle or my values. They DO fit some people, and people should have the choice. Choice is good.

That being said, I don't think we're going to see either TOD or ebooks disappear at any point. I just don't see a 'revolution'. Perhaps I've just been invited to too many revolution no-shows.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

wetair
Posts: 69
Joined: December 17th, 2009, 9:01 pm
Location: Inside Your Head
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by wetair » August 27th, 2010, 2:50 pm

You know, habit is a part of it. If you grow up reading ebooks (or riding the subway!) you are going to be annoyed if you can't.

God knows I am annoyed every time I am forced to go somewhere without easy subway access. And my relatives in the suburbs think a car is freedom and for me a car is a hassle (an expensive hassle at that!) and is really only used to visit said relatives. But at the same time, my relatives have no subway and they are forced to use a car. They also don't like to use the subway and look for ways to avoid it, even though most of them work in the city. Probably because they live in the suburbs and it is a different lifestyle.

Oh, in case it wasn't obvious by now, I grew up using the subway. I also grew up with ebooks. ;)

Roguecyber
Posts: 4
Joined: August 20th, 2010, 5:50 pm
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by Roguecyber » August 27th, 2010, 2:57 pm

Sommer Leigh wrote:This morning I checked my email and found this Wall Street Journal article waiting for me: http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/ar ... love_money

I did think it was interesting that the article points out how people will likely (and are already) buying more books on impulse because it is easier and more fun to do it through your e-book. But just because they are buying the books on impulse doesn't mean they are reading them. An important distinction.
I saw that article as well. One point that doesn't get dicussed much and also was not in that article is amazon's backup service. Every book I have purchased from amazon is backed up on their servers. Those books will last as long as amazon does. I think this is an important consideration when discussing price. Not only are you paying for almost instant access to the book, but you are also paying for "life time" backup and storage. Also I never have to dig through dusty boxes hunting for books I have stored away.
Bryan Russell/Ink wrote:
This is a rather misleading statistic. Or, rather, there are other interpretations of the data. For one, bviously ebook readers will buy more books on average than paper book readers as only die-hard, full-time readers would spend hundreds of dollars on an ebook reader like the Kindle or Nook. Casual readers won't. But the majority of books sold are to casual readers, to people who pick up a few books a year and won't have much need for an ereader (unless they're gadget folk with lots of disposable money).

I think the data speaks more to the nature of the readers selecting the different formats than anything else. Though, I should note, that this doesn't mean that people won't buy more if they switch to ebooks... they might. Which would be nice. I'm just saying the data shows a correlation, not cause and effect.

I completely agree. The increase in spending could also be considered "low" if you look at other format conversions. VHS to DVD or CD to MP3. Looking at my own behavior I would say it's part convenience (I don't have to head to a store, fond the book and remember to buy the next installment of a series, I can buy it in my PJs at 2 in the morning), part format shift (buying books I already own) and part the type of reader I am (when I am reading, I read A LOT and I read fast, most novels in the 350 page range take me an evening or two at most).

Ebooks still need to figure out the "casual reader" issue. I don't know if that's the kindle/nook software for the pc, Mac, iPhone, and android. Or if they will come up with something new.

If you are not an ebook person, would you consider reading a best seller on your cell phone or laptop, if paper books weren't an option?

User avatar
hulbertsfriend
Posts: 69
Joined: July 13th, 2010, 6:44 pm
Location: New Mexico
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by hulbertsfriend » September 4th, 2010, 8:14 pm

In a perfect world, there would be an amalgam of paper and e-book. The problem lies in the thinning of paper book publishers due to small bottom lines on their spredsheets. I have no doubt that quite a few small publishing houses will fail during this paper vs. e-book showdown.

When this happens, and it will, I look for increased competition for major authors/titles, as well as a secondary E-book only tier in publishing. I saw one not long ago, where a publishing house had formed an e-book only publishing unit. No doubt with the idea of it being a test ground for novels that are on the bubble as to potential.

The amount of novels being published will go up, as well as genres being split more readily. I have read numerous accounts by agents, that state one of the problem in marketing a book is shelf space. The Web offers an unlimited potential shelf.

The problem with it all is one of esthetics. I personally like a book that doesn't need batteries. That I can put on my shelves. I can walk by and see the book spines as they remind me of great stories. I have had conversations with kids about reading, gotten out of my chair and walked to my library shelves, to pull works by Twain, OBrien and H.G.Wells. The look on a kid's face, when you hand them a novel to read (and hopefully inspire) means more because it is a moment to remember. I can't imagine how an E-Reader can replicate those moments.

I beleive, to often, we remove to much of the setting, in our lives as well as our novels. The narrative is getting closer, too close. We are replacing the forest with expedience, the tree with gadgets.

In all of this there is a theme that keeps going through my mind, if the authors don't let the novels become available online, then it wouldn't happen. But money will tell, won't it.

http://devinbriar.blogspot.com/
"All it takes to fly is to hurl yourself at the ground... and miss." Douglas Adams

amyashley
Posts: 83
Joined: August 19th, 2010, 3:02 pm
Contact:

Re: 10 reasons e-books might not eat the world

Post by amyashley » September 5th, 2010, 8:52 pm

I wonder if bookstores will become like video rental stores. You can go in and look at shelves of empty cases with a pretty pictures on the front and descriptions on the back. Then you can take tabs or whatnot for books you like and load your own e-reader up at the checkout counter. THAT would be cool.


I still feel that there is a place for standard books. For instance, if they ever make cookbooks e-book only, I will become VERY unhappy.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest