The topic that keeps popping up among my writerly friends is “E-Books” I will admit to being less-than-enamored of e-books (read as, “I hate them”) but I have bowed before reality.
Ebooks are here.
They are here to stay.
Get over it.
Happily, I have to say that two of my greatest fears about e-books—piracy and death of the hardcopy—have not come true.
We just do not have rampant piracy of ebooks. This is in part due to the proprietary lockdown of various e-readers and tablets, but even outside of that, we just don’t see pirated versions of the latest e-bestseller going viral. This bolsters my long-held opinion that, if you make electronic versions of your creation affordable enough and accessible enough, most people will just pay the price and enjoy the product. Piracy is still a problem in those areas that are overpriced and proprietary: movies, software, and video games. Hacking a $50 movie or a $200 software package and selling a couple thousand copies half-price makes total business sense, but hacking a $5 book? Where’s the profit?
As to the death of hardcopy versions (and the loss of the legacy they provide), my fears about this were swept away just a couple of days ago. A Faithful Reader emailed me, asking if the Fallen Cloud books were available in e-versions (like all my other titles). I had to inform her that, sadly, no, the Fallen Cloud books I-IV were not currently available in e-format, but that when FC:V came out, I fully intended to have all five books available in e-format.
Faithful Reader replied that this was great news. Naturally (she said), she would be buying the hardcopy version, but she wanted to have them in electronic format, too.
This was astounding to me; someone liked my work enough not only to get an e-version for her tablet, but she also was willing to shell out money for a legacy hardcopy. It was humbling, and it also pointed out where books win out over music and movies: People just are not going to buy an album or movie on iTunes and then buy a physical CD or DVD. There’s no advantage to that second copy, and there’s no cachet to a physical disk like there is with a physical book. The closest music can come to that is the old albums that covered LP vinyl, and vinyl is a seriously niche market. So, books have a potential second market, whereas music, movies, etc., have only one.
Add to this the increasing ease of bringing an e-book to market for the small publisher or independently-published author, and the question of “going e” becomes moot. With increased profit margins and decreased costs, it’s a no-brainer; you will go “e”. You’d be stupid not to.
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