Every so often a little news article gets passed to me and I shrug my shoulders and go on with my life but this one stumped me.
Exactly what are the big brick-n-mortar publishers thinking? Well, obviously they are attempting to shutdown Amazon and all the indie authors. They can't. It's already too late and just like the financial loan disaster, this, too, is going to be a fiasco to watch. You don't shut the barn doors after the horses have gotten out!
Indie authors are here to stay. Sure there are good books, fantabulous books, mediocre books and unfortunately, those of miserable consideration. BUT, in their defense, 'real' books also fall into those categories. Just because some celebrity or well-known person writes a book, whether it be a tell-all or some made-up memoir, it doesn't guarantee that it will be a best seller. Sure Stephen King, Nora Robers, Ian Fleming, Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and John Grisham will sell millions of books but really, are we going to wait with baited breath for the memoirs of Kim Kardashian? Sure, there are those who follow every move of the woman but, in 5 years, when she is a has-been, will her book still be a popular read? CARRIE was released in 1974 and is still being read today... over 35 years later; not to mention the movies and musicals from it.
But I digress.
For the unknown author, the indie who has sent out hundreds of queries and submissions, only to be rejected - there is hope. Amazon.com, Smashwords.com and several other locations on the Internet have become a boon to them as a place to get noticed and published. Sure, some of the stuff is a little rough, a hack, needs serious editing, etc etc etc; but the bottom line is, there are great stories hidden within this great mound of ... dare I say it? Self publishing.
Sure there are many vanity publishers who will, for the small (ha, ha, ha) to substantial amount of funds, publish your book so you, too, can have a garage full of books in boxes to hustle. The new upstarts, such as Amazon, allow the author to get the book to the reader without the huge up-front expense or questionable storage facilities.
As I have rambled, you are probably asking "What the hell is he trying to say?"
IF the big publishers are going to push, we, the readers and writers, need to push back. As writers, we have done so with Amazon and other places. As readers? Not too much. We embraced the Kindle, Nook, iTune, etc technology and now download ebooks to read.
BUT, if big publishers are going to up the ante on the cost of an ebook, it is time for us, the reader, to look at the future. SO, I can buy Stephen King's newest book for $19.95 (paperback) or the ebook version for $24.95. Hmm? Debating this for a moment. NOPE! For $19.95 I can go to my favorite ebook store and purchase TWENTY (20) ebooks at $.99 -- and for $24.95 for ONE ebook, I can get TWENTY FIVE (25) ebooks! Sure, not Stephen King but ...
Trust me. Somewhere in that cluster of generic chocolate of $.99 ebooks I will find a gem of Godiva chocolate to satisfy my reading fix. I might even find 2, 3, or more gems. Sure, there may be some 'dreck' to deal with, but for $.99, I can easily press 'Delete' and it is gone. Imagine paying $24.95 and suddenly realizing you don't like it. Can you return it? I don't think so. Can you sell it to someone else? I don't think so. And do you really want to 'delete' a $25 book? I don't think so.
And why would you pay $24.95 for an ebook when you can get the paperback edition for $19.95? Convenience of having it on your $200 ebook reader -- hmm? Think about that a little more. You got that reader so you could get the less expensive (God forbid I would say 'cheaper') versions of the paperback. Now the publisher is charging you extra for that convenience. Of course they are; they want you to buy the dead tree version -- their source of milk-and-honey.
Big brick-and-mortar publishers are in need of a reality check. They think they can stop technology. Just because they curmudgeoned themselves into this situation doesn't mean WE have to deal with it.
I will always have a soft spot for the touchy-feely books -- and will continue to buy them but I am also moving forward with technology and embracing the ebook format. Some books I want to curl up in a chair with a fireplace crackling, a hot cup of coffee or chocolate and read a book, turning the paper pages as I go. Other times I just want to sit on a bus, plane, train, or mall (waiting for my wife to finish shopping) and read my ebook version.
So, if the big book publishers want to play hard ball, remember, the indie is there. Support your local authors.
If you need a suggestion for an ebook ... maybe I suggest Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold or 2012: Timeline Apocalypse? BTW, Three Steps is now on sale $.99 -- a savings of over FOUR dollars.
Until next I blog... I wish you a Happy New Year; see you in 2012...