Ex-agent Nathan Bransford wrote a nice piece on his blog entitled Why I’m Still Optimistic about the Future of Books. That headline caught my attention because, viscerally, my reaction was, “Still?!” His post goes deeper than that, but what I noticed first was my own urge to chuckle.
No, I’m not predicting the death of books. My view is more nuanced than that. I think paper books will be published 100 years from now (assuming we aren’t all killed by nukes, bioweapons, supergerms, climate catastrophe or armies of the undead) but in small numbers and as a premium item.
Early this summer I attended a writers’ conference in which I saw the e-book future laid out. Many of the publishers and writers I met at the Canadian Authors Association conference in Victoria were already on board the train to the future. I met my first person there who doesn’t buy paper books anymore, for instance. Her bookshelves grow no heavier because her reading is now exclusively electronic.
When I came back, I shared that worldview with everyone I knew. I encountered resistance, incredulity and resignation. Personally, I’m excited about the DIY opportunities ahead of us. We still need writers and those writers still need editors. Publishers and agents are becoming optional. For some authors—especially if they already have an audience—publishers are in their rearview mirrors.
Where are you on this issue now? Has your opinion changed in the last year? Do you see e-books as another expression of rage and frustration by the talentless hacks rightly trapped in the slush pile? Or are e-books a way for independent authors to steer their own course to larger percentages and greater control of their books?
If you’re an independent writer, here’s a link to a comparison of self-publishing services you definitely need to consider:
If you’re a traditional publisher or are monogamous about the Gutenberg press, here’s an article about how e-books might be integrated tree book marketing:
Please let me know your thoughts.
I’m staring at my comment box,
quivering in anticipation.
- Christian Self Publishing Association Launched to Serve Authors and Raise the Quality of Self-Published Books (prweb.com)
- An E-Book Bonanza: 12 Saramago Novels (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Bloomsbury USA Selects RoyaltyShare for eBook Sales Management (prweb.com)
- Digital publishing about economics, Forrester analyst James McQuivey says (teleread.com)
- Discoverability: “Metadata Really Matters for eBooks” (lib.uiowa.edu)
- Lulu.com Adds Big Options for Creators this Holiday (prnewswire.com)
- The Felicities of New Publishing (or Why Traditional Publishers May Someday Die) (seedlingsinstone.blogspot.com)
- All About eBooks Symposium: Friday, November 12th in San Francisco (prnewswire.com)
- Lightning Source expands POD to Australia (teleread.com)
- Self-Publishing Expo: Panel, “Flying Solo” (teleread.com)