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« Final Part of My TOC Frankfurt "Ignite" Session | Main | Extending an eReader with a Smartphone »

November 01, 2010

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Carolyn Jewel

I love some of these suggestions. The current ebook model is really broken right now, particularly from the point of view of the reader. (See this post at Dear Author: http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2010/10/31/how-do-we-solve-a-problem-like-geographic-restrictions/ )

I do have to disagree with your statement "Publishers and authors hate the idea because they're cut out of the loop in the resale of used print books." I can't speak for publishers and certainly can't speak for all authors, but as an author myself I know that a lot of readers find me through a used book -- they're cheaper and it's a good way to find out if you like an author without blowing too much money. I get emails from readers all the time telling me they are now going off to buy my frontlist after reading my books used. Many many authors that I know are well aware that they gain readers through used book sales.

In the meantime, I am hoping that some of your ideas about sharing of eBooks and even resale of them come to pass.


Bob Dunn

The publishers/booksellers are sadly following the path newspaper executives trod, to their own misfortune. In both cases, those who are used to absolutely ruling the analog versions of their industry still think they can force whatever pricing or conditions they choose upon the potential reading public.

In the case of the newspapers, the readers got up and left - a long time ago.

In the case of the big book publishers, the same thing is about to happen as we complete the shift to digital.

What ever happened to the idea that the customer is king? The advantages of the ebook should be able to usher in a golden age of literature, attracting members of the public who've been priced out under the old system, or turned off by the puny number of "best-seller" novelists shoved down our throats year after year without any new faces or new ideas.

I'm going out on a limb here and declaring that the reading public has no interest in "licensing" an author's ebook. Their expectation (and it's a reasonable one) is that if they pay their money for that computer file, they should be able to do with it as they would a paper book. A "premium" ebook could provide vocabulary links to online dictionaries and references, at the least.

Instead, Amazon and the old-school publishers are going the other way, forcing readers to pay a price equivalent to hard-back books - because they think they can. But in the bargain, the expensive ebook we wind up with is less useful than even the paperback version.

And that's OK.

What it means is, like a stream flowing around a rock, the reading public will eventually seek out and find a willing digital publishing system that operates outside the institutional impediments.

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