Sunday, July 25, 2010

eBooks... Fad, or here to stay?

Reality differs from the dream. I think I like it that keeps both interesting.

I was reluctant to publish my novels as ebooks because, well... I wanted hardcover, baby! The king of the book is the hardcover. It has a feeling of permanence. People who spend twenty bucks on a hardcover book are going to keep it, or at least keep track of it. Borrow one from a friend, and the friend wants it back.


I was thinking--yes, smartass, I do that from time to time--about the emergence of a "new", "cheap" form of publishing that writers hesitated to embrace not all that long ago. I'm talking about paperback books. Back in the day, writers looked on paperbacks  with mild contempt. The royalties were higher, but the cover price was significantly lower. How could a guy afford patches for the elbows of his sports coat if he didn't make at least a couple of bucks on a book?

Now...enter the ebook. Higher royalties, but nothing to pluck from the shelves at the bookstore. No sneak attack autographs while lurking in the bookstore waiting for someone to pick up the book.

Don't get me wrong, I think physical books are here to stay. I won't lie to you--someday I hope to sneak attack autograph some unsuspecting browser in a bookstore.

Until then (and I'm not holding my breath because I'm too busy writing), I'll sell electronic books.

Between you and me, as long as I'm making predictions, I think the internet is here to stay. There! I finally weighed in in the guessing game of the 1990's.


Jeffrey Miller said...

Dave, you hit the proverbial literary nail on the head with this post. But seriously Dave, leather patches on the elbows? I also took you for a flannel/denim shirt kind of guy.

David J. Steele said...

Fear not, Jeffrey! No elbow patches for me. No jacket either, for that matter. I'll confess that until recently, I owned 1 pair of jeans and had them for 15 years without wearing them out.

Now I have 3 pairs of jeans. I'm more of a button down and trouser kind o' guy. Creased and pressed...

I own one, uno, sing-u-lar, flannel shirt. I don't like it. Damn thing wrinkles.

Jeffrey Miller said...

One thing I am glad about is that many magazines and publishers are accepting electronic submissions. That's great for me living overseas. Twenty years ago, when I first came to Korea, it was all snail mail and I never got around to sending off some of the stuff I wrote back then. That has all changed now.