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I'm out to produce an ebook and need some feedback. Would anyone like to read yet another book on writing, Amy-style? (I think anyone who's gone from housecleaning to professional writing has a story to tell) ... or, a fun book about Idaho and my Idaho experience..born very much an Easterner, then winding up writing for the rodeo and interviewing completely interesting Westerners...and doing Western stuff. That one would include Idaho recipes from VIPs, restaurant and lodging reviews, plus first hand accounts of adventures.
writes Amy Larson, a freelancer based in Nampa, Idaho.

While it is always interesting for me to guide authors to the best outlets, has the e-book bubble burst, as this article suggests? asks Harold Underdown, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Children's Books.

The LA Times article, which attempts to balance the idea with some creative counterpoints, is actually a response to Nicholas Carr piece in the Wall Street Journal arguing the e-book bubble may have burst.

“Half a decade into the e-book revolution …,” he writes, “the prognosis for traditional books is suddenly looking brighter. Hardcover books are displaying surprising resiliency. The growth in e-book sales is slowing markedly. And purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt instead for multipurpose tablets. It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.”
And David L. Ulin of the Times makes it clear that Carr's core argument cannot be ignored:
“From the start,” he observes, “e-book purchases have skewed disproportionately toward fiction, with novels representing close to two-thirds of sales. Digital best-seller lists are dominated in particular by genre novels, like thrillers and romances. Screen reading seems particularly well-suited to the kind of light entertainments that have traditionally been sold in supermarkets and airports as mass-market paperbacks.”
Effectively, "e-books have filled a niche in the publishing landscape, rather than eating it alive." This echoes reported experience of active readers who download what might be called secondary titles — in other words, books we don't necessarily intend to keep.

Where do we go from here?

While speaking to one of my college classes, author Michaelbrent Collings compared the trend of e-books to Speakers Corner of Hyde Park in London. In other words, e-books help create something close to the ultimate free market. Anyone can speak, or in this case, publish. Good ideas win. Bad ones lose.

But within this seemingly Darwinian milieu, there is great reason for hope among writers. While sales may have slowed, there will always be room for high quality works. The field is still wide open. This Ebook trend is akin the the internet bubble burst in the early 90s. It just meant that investors and consumers stopped throwing money after everything with dotcom after their name. But truly useful products have made the internet thrive and become a solid part of our society. Ebooks will simply evolve.

Write! Just write. And keep writing.

One poem can be split into three poems, based on an idea that grabs its author, from the second stanza. Then that idea can lead to, for example, some historical research. This can then be posted on a university or library website. Later, the information and experience a writer gathers can be great for a historical novel.

The most important for writers thing is simply to keep developing voice. Just keep writing.

As a writer or presenter, the best thing that you have to offer the world is ... yourself. Keep honing your unique writing voice, and outlets (print books, ebooks, magazines, websites, mobile, digital, etc.) will take care of themselves.

Originally posted to The Book Bear on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 09:53 AM PST.

Also republished by Readers and Book Lovers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    Get Published (Free Tips And Resources) https://www.facebook.com/publishwithus And here is this discussion on Twitter https://twitter.com/MichaelStrickla

    by The Book Bear on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 09:53:17 AM PST

  •  interesting the dismissive statement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    old wobbly, mdmslle

    about genre fiction as if that's "only" what people are reading on ebooks.

    Genre fiction is the majority of the fiction market, in print or otherwise. That the majority of fiction ebooks are genre is meaningless.

    That nonfiction is less popular in ebook form may have more to do with the fact that only apple's iBooks has created a decent platform for multimedia books. If Amazon every buys a clue on that, you'll see a big increase in nonfiction on the kindle store.

    •  Not necessarily dismissive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      old wobbly

      I read genre fiction--mysteries--and I also read fiction for English lit classes.

      I have found that I can read the work much more closely when I have a printed book than when I'm using an e-book. Maybe my brain processes it differently. Maybe it is just a simple thing, that I can flip back and forth between sections more easily with a printed book.

      I'm not reading mysteries for the experience of close reading and analysis. I thoroughly enjoy mysteries, but for different reasons than literary fiction.

      So, yes, for me, e-books are fine for some kinds of fiction and not as good for others.

  •  Part of what has slowed e-book sales (10+ / 0-)

    have been the price issues. When e-books started they were significantly cheaper than traditional books. Publishers weren't happy with that however and conspired to raise prices, so that an e-book that used to be 7.99 are now 11.99 and up. In some cases you can get a hard copy for much cheaper, even with new releases, when you take in discounts and sales. For me, the ease of use with an e-book is worth it, for some, not so much.
    However, without printing and paper costs, e-books should be cheaper than paper books, not equal cost or in some cases more expensive.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 10:35:35 AM PST

    •  Now that books are manufactured in China (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM

      the printing and paper costs are dirt cheap - so that's not a factor anymore I suspect.

      •  Still should be cheaper (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greengemini, Roadbed Guy, spacejam

        to leave that part, plus storage, transportation, etc out of it. Even if it isn't a huge percentage, there's no reason for e-books to be the same price or more expensive then printed books. Even if it's cheap, it still costs something.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:25:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The reason is that the largest (0+ / 0-)

          cost in producing a book is paying the author(s), editor(s), galley production people, and that type of thing - not the physical production of the book.

          Thus, whether the cost to produce a book is $1.07 (a "real" book) or $0.00 (for a e-book) that doesn't really factor into the final pricing decisions - which have to account for paying the personnel mentioned in the first paragraph of this post, as well as providing for the all-important profit margins . .. . .

        •  You need to include returns (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM

          Since the 1930s, publishers ship books to stores under consignment terms: if they don't sell after so many months, the bookstores either ship their covers back (if they're magazines or paperbacks) or the entire book (if they're hardback). This can effectively double the cost bore by every book sold.

          What hurt publishers the most about Border's going under wasn't the loss of its stores, but the credits they had to give against the huge volumes of returns; if I heard the story right, some publishers came close to bankruptcy themselves.

          This only emphasizes your point that eBooks cost far less than print, & they should be priced for less than they are now.

  •  We have given our local library over 2000 books (8+ / 0-)

    to try to whittle down our collection of over 135 book boxes. We have donated to good will, hospitals, and anyone who wants them 19 boxes. We have sold them on Amazon to the tune of 17 boxes. Why boxes? Because every room in our house had its walls lined with books and we wanted some art and to just see the walls.

    After working for the last three years to reduce the volume of hefty boxes that are beginning to be a burden for someone who wants to be free to go wherever we can, it's a relief to carry hundreds of books in a lightweight device. We still buy books...Geesh I cannot break the habit but I think that ebooks have a place. And my sweet buys dozens of scifi ebooks each month by authors that traditional publishers wouldn't bother with. He never bought that many in traditional formats because the Sci fi published was so limited and even I find it disgusting how much of it was called sci fi and was about vampires, wizards and sex ... yuck. I tease him that he married me for my Sci Fi.  I still have an extensive collection of sci fi that I have collected since I was 14 and books cost $.25 in used bins. The new books I bought then usually cost $.75.  Some Gag me now like Rand. I will lug around the remaining 3893 books I cannot give up. Paul O Williams, Karen Travis, McDevitt.... and the mystery writers like Robinson who have caught me over the last 30 years.  We are both obsessive readers.

    I am sure I will never stop buying books no matter what thier format... We  had a Nook (sold)...we have 2 Kindles, an Ipad and computer programs to read books (actually my sweet prefers reading on the 30" monitor. We will eventually move completely to the ipad because it can be used for so many things when my Kindles burn out.  

    So next week I start the donations for 2013 which will start with 1463 books. They asked me last year if I could include some paperbacks (not that they didn't like my first edition brodart covered hardbounds)...so this year we are giving them 1000 paperbacks and only 463 hardbounds. I am sitting here laughing because we are reading addicts who even read cereal boxes and soap bottles when nothing else available.........Its all good but we are not up on the current popular culture. Though I think it has a lot to do with romaticizing vampires. lol

    Fear is the Mind Killer...

    by boophus on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 10:59:22 AM PST

  •  I hear you, boophus (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carol in San Antonio

    For 28 years I housed my father's marvelous collection of books--they lined the bookshelves from floor to ceiling.

    Eventually, like you, I decided I'd like to hang some art and see some walls.

    I sold the entire collection and haven't regretted it yet.  That was five years ago.

    I'm still an inveterate book-buyer and reader, but I borrow what I can from the library, buy used books from AbeBooks, and download the latest bestsellers from Kindle to my iPad.  I like the iPad--there are a lot of situations where it fills the bill perfectly.  I can read it in the dark so there's no light or noise of page-turning to keep Dearly Beloved awake!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:59:18 AM PST

  •  Slush piles (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    old wobbly, FloridaSNMOM

    I've read classic works on my Sony Reader, and I've read contemporary works that are also published as book-books by publishers.

    What I don't do is to wander to sites that offer e-books that are basically self-published. Looking through the lists of self-published e-books is like looking through the slush piles of every publisher in the world.

    Yes, some POD books make the transition from self-published e-books to trade publishers. I'll let the people who get paid to do the work suss out which are gems that deserve publication and which aren't. I've got enough on my to-be-read shelf already.

    That said, I admire the author (girlondemand) who ran PODdy Mouth for a couple of years. She invited writers to send her their self-published novels and reviewed the best of them.

    We're going to have gatekeepers like real publishers, reviewers, and booksellers for many more years to come, because many--probably most--readers don't have enough time available to both search through slush piles and to read enough good books. I know I don't.

    Should Amy of Idaho self-publish her e-book? I have no idea, since I don't know her. My guess is that if she doesn't already have a platform as, say, a blogger or writing teacher, then she will need to do a lot of work to point people in the direction of her book, there in the mountains of self-published e-books.

  •  Boomers and aging (3+ / 0-)

    Some readers are switching, however reluctantly, to e-books: older people who need larger print.

    Most real books don't have a large print edition. If there is an LP edition, it is a lot more expensive than the regular book.

    E-books provide access to a much wider selection and give the reader control over how large to make the print.

    •  The text to speech function (0+ / 0-)

      of some e-readers is a help there also. My daughter, who's 9 and low vision uses both the enlarging of text and the text to speech function on our Kindles to her advantage. Finding large print books for 4th graders is also difficult/nigh impossible. And Dad being legally blind he uses his the same way. It has allowed him to read many books that I read that he could not before, having to rely on my faulty breathing to read them to him, or for me to laboriously type them in for him so he could plug them into his text to speech software.  Yes, he could get them through books for the Blind, but then he was tied to a tape deck, that had to be plugged into an outlet. Now he can take his Kindle and go sit outside in the sun and read, or read when the power is out due to a storm.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 02:41:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What type of book I read depends on what I am (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM

    doing, not the genre.

    Flying means paperbacks - because since 1999 I have known electronics are not worth the hassle  (yes, there were airport security and terrorism scares before 9/11).  This doesn't mean easy books - I read Origin of Species on a plane, in paperback - damn tiny print.

    My prolonged road trips mean a Kindle.  Easy to pack, easy to carry, easy to read in bed while everyone else sleeps.

    Being at home in a nice comfy chair with a cup of tea and a fire, has to be a hardcover.  Nothing else will do.  It might be an Agatha Christie, but it has to be hardcover.

    Should Amy publish her e-book?  Why not?  If she really wants to write, go for it.  I also think she should try to sell it in a conventional venue; but if that doesn't happen, who are we to say she shouldn't publish?

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 01:36:43 PM PST

  •  Can I cut to the chase? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch

    My book, Tulum, is out in eBook (all formats) and paper. I think most people buy the e version because it's cheaper.  If the e and the soft were the same price, it might be a horse race. I don't have exact figures, however, but I suspect that if the reader has a kindle or a nook, the ebook is going to be purchased first. And then others will be given as gifts....

    Hint hint hint hint hint.

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