Tuesday, May 11, 2010

i couldn't ignore them any longer

so, after my somewhat non-cheerful post yesterday, probably the last thing you need now is a post about...e-books. *cue wild cheers*. however, i feel that i should FINALLY address the polls i had a couple weeks ago...(sorry for the delay, btw). and THANK YOU if you voted!!

since clearly my reader(s) enjoy fantasy, i've started fantasy friday (which, incidentally, i probably would have started anyway since fantasy is the awesomest genre...) but, i also had a poll asking for opinions about e-books.

this is a subject i've been doing a lot of research on lately. and something i've noticed is how divided the writing community seems over the whole subject.

first, there are those who think the e-readers like the Kindle are the greatest inventions ever. this group includes elderly people who have immense difficulty (ie, cannot) read unless they have very large print. e-readers like the Kindle have a large print option and therefore allow a large number of people to read when, for the most part, they could not before.

then, many people are indifferent or undecided. sure, it would be great to have books at your fingertips within seconds after you buy them. sure, having a lightweight, portable reader is highly convenient (plus, i hear that they are even easier on the eyes than traditional print). but is it really worth the cost, and, ultimately, the limited selection of books? not to mention, in many cases you can get the physical books for the same price anyway...you don't really come out ahead in costs.

finally, there are the book patrons. this group seems to include the most dedicated readers (and writers) who know a little more about how the book industry works than, say, the Indifferents. these Patrons realize that a shift from physical books to e-books has much greater consequences than one might first realize. not only might we lose the glossy-covered books, but you could also lose that magical moment when a first-time author sees his/her name and story in print on the shelves of a bookstore. furthermore, the whole network of agents and publishers would be at risk of losing their jobs--after all, pretty much anyone can get their e-book self-published and start selling it on Amazon. why would you need agents? why would you need publishers? rejections--a thing of the past. i have heard predictions that the agents' infamous slush piles would start becoming the customers' slush piles. how would you know if a book is good if it doesn't have to go through any kind of professional scrutiny?

there is no easy answer. this issue has many more sides and points and problems, and this is only the quick summary of opinions. as a writer, this is an issue that i, and probably you, cannot ignore. we have to keep up to date on the happenings in our literary world, and, whether we like it or not, e-books certainly seem to be happening.

so where do you fit? are you an e-Book Proponent? an Indifferent or Undecided? or a steadfast Book Patron?

what do you think about all this?


  1. this is definitely a toughie. i think ignoring e-books in the future is unwise, but the thought of losing real-paper-books breaks my heart.

    but things are always changing, and this won't be the first time.

    i guess we just have to take it as it goes.

    great post -- and thanks for bringing it up. this is definitely something all writers should be aware of, and prepared for.


  2. thanks Tahereh!! my mom has perhaps the most reassuring words regarding all this: "these things have a way of working themselves out."

    aren't moms great?

    i guess all we can do is stay informed--and keep supporting paperbacks! in the meantime, happy writing!! (and blogging--i Loved your post last night. i made my mom read it)

  3. I will always buy paper novels because I love the smell and the feel of them in your hand.

    However, I think e-books are awesome. Hopefully they will pull in readers that weren't as interested in old fashioned books before.

    I also hope that the publishing industry doesn't collapse on itself. I have a feeling it's strong enough to reorganize and improve as e-books become a more substantial part of the business.

    Great insights.

    ALSO...Where is Fantasy Friday??????????

  4. i just hope that paperbacks will always be available...it's my life-long goal to build my own little library in my future house... you can't really do that with e-books.

    i do think e-books could provide great opportunities for the publishing industry--as long as we still keep paperbacks. But oh well, i guess we'll just have to watch and see what happens--no one can predict or control the future...

    and i was probably writing fantasy friday when you post this, : )


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