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Thread: E-books versus Paperbacks
August 2nd, 2012, 01:35 PM #16
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A Writers Reaction
Most of those reactions were personal preferences. Reactions from us as READERS.
Understandable, since they were posted 10 years ago. But I'd guess that if posted today the responses would be pretty much the same.
But it's 2012 as I write this. Electronic publishing is much more mature, and a good chunk of readers routinely read ebooks and eshorts and emagazines - and pay for them. Self-publishing is maturing and becoming easier, and print publishers are working hard to adjust to the changes. They are also trying to be ready for those next 10 years of change.
I more interested in your reactions if you are seriously thinking of being a WRITER? Or have become one? Spending a good chunk of every week creating stories, sending out stories or queries to agents and publishers, managing your career? Taking baby steps, or giant steps?
My perspective? All channels to my prospective readers are good, self-published or more traditionally published, electronic or print. Each channel has pluses and minuses. Things to watch out for, things to be grateful for.
So far I've personally experienced only the pluses and minuses of self-publishing of four ebooks and their print-on-demand versions. I am prepping #5 this week to go live, and well into writing #6. When all are available I'll switch to the traditional route (about January 2013, I believe).
Any serious writers in this thread? What're your reactions?
August 2nd, 2012, 01:45 PM #17
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Let me throw up a prediction that I have on this subject.
Within 5 years (probably more like 3) the "low end" format for books that has been served by mass market paperbacks will be ebooks and mass market paperbacks will cease to exist.
The publishing landscape will be something like this:
- Big sellers - Hardcover followed a year later by a trade paperback release
- Mid list - trade paperback release
- New authors - ebook only releases - if they sell well then a future book might move them up to the Mid-list.
August 2nd, 2012, 03:48 PM #18
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I do not agree with your prediction, but only because of what history has shown us with other media.
The newspaper? Radio didn't put it out of business as predicted.
The Magazine? Still going strong. E-zines?
The Book? I see the hard cover going away before mass market.
The only things I see that digital media has truly been the death nail of has been newsletters and junk mail...even publishers clearinghouse went digital!
People, myself included, simple dont like reading PDF files on a computer screen. Other people, myself excluded, who have been sitting in an office staring at a computer (and thats a huge amount these days) aren't warm to the idea of spending even more time sitting around and staring at a computer.
For my part, while I respect your opinion on the matter, I hope very much that you are wrong.
August 2nd, 2012, 04:24 PM #19
If we look at schools, at least in Australia, iPads and the like are being introduced to children from the age of 6 - year/grade one to learn from. Why: there is no carrying around a bag full of books, information is at your fingertips, you can have a thousand books or more loaded onto the device and they can interact with the information.
Gone are the days of thinking people don't like reading off screens. Look at phones, tablets, more compact computers, Kindles, wireless Internet...
You might not like reading off a screen, but the next generation of kids, including the current ones don't have a qualm doing it. My sister, who's only sixteen doesn't read paperback novels. She reads from her iPad because she can delve into an imaginary world for ten minutes and then check her Facebook (sad I know) and this is what all of her friends are doing.
This thread and some of it's original posters proved that the whole 'read from a screen' thing is not the case. Tablets/computers/the internet/books have become cheaper over time and that trend will continue as the technology becomes less expensive to produce.
I feel like this trend is set to continue, which is why I'm choosing to self publish my own novels rather than wait for an acceptance. Print books/newspapers/magazines are on the decline - take a look at the statistics.
Hardbacks are continuing to sell well because of people like you who want the true 'reading' experience, once again, check the statistics. Technology is a wave, sweeping traditional methods of thinking into an abyss of unknown proportion.
I foresee in the near future, publishing information via paper will find itself extinct. Why do something that costs money when people can access the information the same way for an almost zilch production cost. Times are changing and the only paper novels that might survive (IMO) are the hardbacks.
Last edited by Cononomous; August 2nd, 2012 at 04:27 PM.
August 2nd, 2012, 04:37 PM #20
I don't think MMPB books will cease to exist any time soon, certainly not within the next 3-5 years. Hardcovers are still around despite MMPBs and TPBs (and eBooks), so to think one of the biggest-selling formats will die within five years is, um, highly unlikely.
What I think will happen is we'll reach a sort of balance for the time being. This has happened with all other competing physical and digital media - music, video, gaming - and it'll be years before we see one replace the other - and I mean *years*.
August 2nd, 2012, 05:05 PM #21
"In a dramatic acceleration of the seven-year sales decline that has battered the music industry, compact-disc sales for the first three months of this year plunged 20% from a year earlier, the latest sign of the seismic shift in the way consumers acquire music."
Look at DVD rental stores like Blockbuster going bankrupt.
As for gaming: http://www.develop-online.net/blog/3...become-extinct
"The May 2012 figures given out by NPD (for the US) and Chart-track (for the UK) show an industry which is falling off a cliff. In May 2012 UK sales were down 38% year-on-year and US sales down 28%. This, despite the fact that we had Diablo 3, Max Payne 3 and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier all released in that month."
August 2nd, 2012, 05:24 PM #22
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yes, of course sales of those items will decrease, because each person that does buy a download of X media, is one that the traditional item did NOT sell. However, as many online news outlets as there are, and the wall street journal marches on. Not only the WSJ, but all the local media outlets..and that battle has been waged since the invention of Radio.
I dont disagree that many people will start getting thier media digitally..but the old forms aren't going anywhere, as evidenced by history. I dont need your statistics, they tell me little, especially in todays economy (who wants to spend 80 bucks on a game when they are unemployed?), and when there are new outlets for media like redbox and gamefly in the mix. (who are both growing exponentially btw)
By your logic, we should all stop visiting art museums and email eachother MS Paint renditions of the Mona Lisa because it will save us the cost of the canvas. ;-)
Yes, digital media will subtract the number of sales with its mere presence, but mass market paperbacks are here to stay.
Last edited by chinookpilot77; August 2nd, 2012 at 05:34 PM.
August 2nd, 2012, 05:44 PM #23
History can't show us anything, because technology and the Internet is young and nothing like it has ever been invented. Look at the printing-press and many other inventions that changed the world.
I was responding to, Loerwyn in any case. Research your facts and you'd find that many traditional media outlets, including newspapers and radio stations are shutting down in favour of online forms.
August 2nd, 2012, 05:46 PM #24
August 2nd, 2012, 06:55 PM #25
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The history of technology is a long-established branch of history. It shows that all areas of tech act similar to evolutionary processes.
Species come into existence, their members compete with those of other species, and species die out - but very rarely. More usually they adapt and expand into unfilled or sparsely filled niches. Dinosaurs, for instance, are no longer around. Many of their successors are.
Take a look at land vehicles. Today you can see them in skates (some motorized) all the way up to huge mining earth-haulers. Even horses and such have thrived, not just as pets or entertainment devices, but also as working equipment.
Ditto sea vehicles. Even sailed craft have not gone out of existence - but they have changed enormously, using modern materials and aerodynamic techniques and electronic communication and navigation equipment. The larger ones also may have an engine for emergencies, or for convenience.
TV didn't wipe out radio, though radio did have to change a lot to stay alive. Nor did it wipe out movies. Movies didn't wipe out plays; more plays are being put on and seen than ever before.
In the same way electronic publications haven't wiped out print publications. But traditional publishers will have to change a lot to survive. Those which have brittle structures will die. But those able to change will. (The larger and older the publisher is the more likely it is to be brittle, but this isn't an iron-clad rule.)
I've emphasized competition. But evolutionary biology and tech history also shows that species also cooperate. So we hear ads on radios for movies and TV shows, for instance. Movies go to DVD after a while, and to downloadable modules. And so on.
Self-published authors often have versions of our books in both electronic and print-on-demand formats. I certainly do, all four of them and soon a fifth and toward Christmas a sixth book.
And it's not just a matter of having two separate channels to readers. The two WORK TOGETHER. I gave a printed book to an acquaintance recently. She liked it and bought the other three books as ebooks. People often sample ebooks on ereaders - and then go out and buy the printed books.
Na´ve observers of every tech development immediately prophesize the death of its precursors. But tech history shows that almost never happens. The precursor adapts. It becomes a better competitor, and also makes alliances and cooperates with its successor.
Last edited by Laer Carroll; August 2nd, 2012 at 06:59 PM.
August 2nd, 2012, 07:03 PM #26
The printing press allowed books to be mass produced. How many handwritten books still exist today?
No one is saying that books will disappear or become extinct, but the mode in which the information is produced may change.
Of course, we're all only guessing. As seen in the earlier posts in this thread - a lot can change.
August 2nd, 2012, 07:48 PM #27
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I know what I can do, I can find some growth data from Netflix from the last year and quote it on an unrelated forum that their fall in share price is due to the rise in movie downloads! (or it could be that they doubled their price right when redbox came into full play)
bleh, there is just no talking to some people....I'm quite sure I could find some stats to throw at you to back up my "sweeping generalizations" , like the growth of redbox for instance, but I dont care enough to. I throw in the towel!
Last edited by chinookpilot77; August 2nd, 2012 at 08:07 PM.
August 2nd, 2012, 10:24 PM #28
a very expensive hand lettered edition of Poe's The Telltale Heart on etsy. I searched for a certain amount of time to get an edition of Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Finnish author/artist Tove Jansson. As a writer, I am more concerned with whether to use "snivel" or "whine" than what font my text is in. But I also dabble in graphic design, so there are occasions when the appearance of text matters a great deal to me, and occasions when my graphic design soul dies a snobbish little death when I see an e-book cover (or poster or business signage) with a particularly overused and despised font. My hope is that artistic editions of books will be a part of publishing in the future. From another thread I recently learned about the existence of numbered and lettered book editions. That's not quite the same as handwritten, but it is a high end publication option that seems unlikely to disappear because there are always people who like to collect things.
However, to move away from my reader response, and reply to Laer's query for a writer response, I'm not terribly concerned with predicting where the state of publishing will be in ten years. Before you all jump on me, let me clarify. I'm interested in where the readers will be in the next few years as I finish my first novel and push it out there in the world. E-pub vs. trad pub has been hashed and rehashed in several threads already with passion on both sides. My takeaway from the discussions on a) royalties and b) timelines is that with e-publishing I will possibly make a few dollars (though not more than a few and possibly none) on my first several novels, while getting my writing in front of readers and observing their reactions. If I turn out to be especially good, then I will accrue a large number of readers over time. Then perhaps I will have the leisure and wherewithal to collaborate with visual artists for printed art editions of my wordwork.
With traditional publishing, I can expect to write several rejected novels before a publisher might take me on and push my name out to a large number of readers. They will probably produce both print and electronic editions. The main feedback on my early works is likely to be "this isn't for us" from the publisher and "when are you going to go back to doing real work?" from my beloved taller half.
I am planning to go for e-publishing, because I want to feel like I'm getting somewhere and to start with readers before the next decade's technological wonders. If my early work happens to be especially well-received, I'll be excited and gratified. If my early work shows me how far I have to go, I'm hoping to be humble and able to learn. I'm also planning to start under a pseudonym.
P.S. I am waiting for someone to jump in and make some of the arguments for social purposes: you might be getting ipads for schoolkids in Australia, but is that happening in American schools? How many American schools? What about the people who can't afford the technology?
Last edited by NicoleDreadful; August 2nd, 2012 at 10:26 PM.
August 2nd, 2012, 11:36 PM #29Originally Posted by Cononomous
Also, you're ignoring education and professional training. Video, music and games are not particularly useful for transferring large blocks of knowledge data to others. That requires print. Electronic print can certainly be very useful but only if those who need to have the electronic print have access to it. But students and trainees are not all upper middle class or higher. To transfer knowledge data, you have to use print, which can be supplemented by in class and on the job electronic print data and audio-visual aids. Unless you A) ban poorer children and trainees from receiving education (as some would like to do,) or B) pull all the poor children and their families out of poverty (which very few societies seem interested in doing,) then paper, which is cheaper, will remain. The vendors of electronic books have no interest in these problems. Amazon is already moving on to concentrate on video and music sales and streaming for a multitude of electronic devices to challenge Apple's market and to firm up their filmmaking, data and multimedia plans. So e-books continues to serve a niche market, reaching only a segment of the audience, one that spends much more on other products. People tend to concentrate on the retail market when the educational market is more lucrative and bigger.
Originally Posted by sullivan
August 3rd, 2012, 02:55 AM #30
If we look at all technologies: mobile/cell phones, computers, televisions, Internet, etc.
Those technologies at first were also very expensive and only saved for the 'high class'. Now look at how readily available all those things are to the western 'lower class'. Also, if you took into account the actual cost of eBooks compared to the cost of buying paperbacks, it doesn't take long to make the money back on the original investment of the technology - an avid reader can make the money back in a couple of months.
Maybe all this is a young persons perspective, but I know how the young generation access information. Add to that the decline in the print information forms already, aka newspapers and I think we're in the midst of a global change. A change towards digatalism, not just in the eBook markets, a tiny portion of the whole, but in almost everything.