Do you want the good news, or the bad news?
So tell me – do you want the good news or the bad news first?
I think I will give you the good news first because the world is full of too much negativity as it is. 🙂
I have been reading a lot of articles and blog posts lately regarding the publishing industry and came across some interesting news…
First on the Bestseller Labs blog, I found this post about how kids hold the future of publishing in their little hands, and this is awesome news for every writer, not just those of us who write for kids. Remember kids who read usually grow into adults who read. So people writing mainstream fiction and westerns and romance and so on should rejoice at this news as well. The post stated that 85% of young readers are using ereaders and the future of publishing is in ebooks. I think this is difficult for a lot of us adults to believe since the technology is so different from what we grew up with, but look around. Kids today are very tech savvy. I think most 8 year olds can probably work our iPhones better than we can! Where we grew up only knowing books as a combination of ink, paper and glue, kids today understand electronic devices and the internet. It makes sense that they would embrace the format they are used to and ebooks are the wave of the future!
The next article I found was by Mark Coker on HuffPost Books. I can honestly say it warmed my heart to read this after all the negative comments and dire predictions I have seen regarding self-publishing. The stigma of self-publishing has been part of this industry since its inception. Some self-published books may warrant the negative press, but others have been written and packaged professionally and have brought excellent stories to the masses. It is nice to know that retailers are starting to embrace self-published ebooks as much as the indie authors. 🙂 (There is hope for me yet!)
The bit of bad news, may not actually be bad. Maybe confusing news is a better way to phrase it.
I saw this article on Motherboard and this post on Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terribleminds about how e-retailers (Amazon specifically) are going to start supporting the sale of used ebooks. Yes, you read that correctly. Now I love a good deal on a used book just as much as the next bookaholic. I can even get behind the concept of used audio-books. But used ebooks have me stumped.
In the first article, the author points out “the elephant-sized absurdity in the room: a “used ebook” is identical to a new one.” That was my first thought. A used paperback book can get a worn cover, torn pages, highlighting. The story is still in tact but the container is used (as Chuck Wendig explained so nicely.) With ebooks, there is no tangible container for the story to get used and worn out. And since they are identical, the only thing that could possibly entice a shopper to choose a used ebook over a new one would be cost. As a book buyer, I can see the beauty of buying the identical electronically formatted book for less through the same vender and for absolutely no extra inconvenience of having to deal with some unknown third party since Amazon will be processing the sale. BUT from an author perspective, I cannot wrap my mind around why a retailer that has gone such a long way toward making it easier for indie authors to self-publish would then go the opposite direction and make it so easy for readers to steal from them.
I realize that people borrow “real” books from each other all the time. I know that Amazon Prime members can borrow ebooks from Amazon, and loan them to friends. But if someone wants to own their very own copy of that ebook they have to buy it and the author gets part of the proceeds. To allow a third party to step in and undercut the author by even a dollar is a travesty. It costs money to publish books -even ebooks. The Indie author has most likely had to pay someone for illustrations, cover design, editing, formatting, distribution, and so on, not to mention all of the marketing and promotion work that went in to the release of that book. Under this new plan, within a day or two of going live with a new book for sale, someone else can come along and sell it to a new reader for less than the author, completely cutting the author out of making any profit on the second sale. And let’s face it, most Indie authors starting out are already selling their books for under $5 so they are not making much in the first place. I just don’t think this is fair for the author.
Now that I write that, I may have to rethink my love for used books altogether…
What do you think? Is the future of ebook publishing bright and limitless or are there troubling times ahead?