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Monday, April 4, 2011

What do Readers get from E-books versus Print books? Hmmm.

As the controversy over e-pub sensation Amanda Hocking and her decision to go Print within (breathless?) moments of author Barry Eisler quitting the Land of Tradition for the new territory called Electronic Publishing, I thought I would put up a list of the good stuff about the growth of e-books.
Not from the Author's Perspective.
But from the Reader's.
Here are mine--and I hope you come back and put up yours. (And Yes, the pix at the left is shameless self promotion of my latest Regency E-book over at www.resplendencepublishing.com.)
And with all that disclaimed, here I go!
Positives of E-book reading:
1. Affordable: books cost less. Great in an economy struggling to get back up after the Wall Street Smackdown. (sorry. could not resist that crack at the Boys who Brought Us Low.)
2. Variety of reading material: True the e-publishers who have made a huge splash at the electronic side of publishing tended to open with erotica, the material few would publish. But now that opening affords other publishers with similar non-traditional tastes/views/ topics, the ability to publish. And they are making a great go of it. To the readers' benefit.
3. Increasing and encouraging literacy: By the abundant nature of the material available for a reasonable price, books--both fiction and non--are now published which Traditional Print Houses [TPH] would not handle. Sensitive political subjects and viewpoints come to mind. (T this moment, I write a non-fiction book of that nature myself.) But others which TPH did not consider worth handling included GLBT and graphic interactive novels. I'm certain you out there can think of more.
4. Portability: Being able to read any number of books, any place, any time certainly means less wear and tear on the arms, the luggage (wow, am I happy for this one!), and the problem of what to do when you've just finished your latest and you are 35,000 feet over the Atlantic with hours more to go and nothing to do but watch the movie you saw at home last week!
5. Versatility of works available in terms of length, type and price: Okay, so this is sort of relative to some of the points above but I thought I would list it separately. WHY? Because I am FED UP with established authors who write 60-70-80,000 word novels and either repeat the same old plot I've read years ago, or who come up with a really stupid one, or who have NONE at all and still the editor lets it pass.... Why? Oh, various reasons not pertinent to this blog.
E-publishing houses have learned that works of all lengths can sell. Readers have flocked to these different lengths. (And authors? Well, I will joyfully exclaim for myself that some books are meant to be shorter. Some are more dynamic in the shorter versions. Traditional Publishing Houses found that their distribution systems demanded a conformity in size and type, ergo price as well. Ah, I am off topic here.)
6. Privacy: YES! As new e-readers hit the market and tablets abound, readers can sit comfortably ANYwhere and not proclaim to the world what the heck they wish to devour as intellectual fare. In a society that sadly sees some of its citizens more interested in condemning others for their lifestyles and their choices, than applauding our freedoms to choose the life we want, privacy of reading material is vital to preserving our democratic underpinnings. If many criticized the "bodice rippers" of old, imagine what they would say about the new-new covers and packaging of some works!
I know you must have more ideas about the benefits of electronic publishing to readers.
Come on and list them for us!

15 comments:

  1. Excellent blog Cerise! I agree with all of it and would like to add a cultural footnote. I've noticed my ebooks are pirated like mad in very sexually repressive countries where the women (I'm assuming women are the readers) would not be allowed to possess such a book. I've seen my ebooks featured in blogs about sex without shame and I hope from the bottom of my heart that I am opening a mental window for some young woman somewhere. I hope my freedom to be ridiculous and dream big rubs off on her.
    XXOO Kat

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  2. I love the variety of plots out there. The publishing houses all want to push their flavor of the month of their idea of what sells, leaving the rest of us out. Don't get me wrong, I love a wide variety of genres (Hey, I started buying E-books when I discovered the wide variety of BDSM titles), but when I'm wandering in a book store looking for something to read and all I see are vampires (which are okay) and angels and demons (I can't do the Biblical based paranormals...just too uncomfortable) and I want a good old medieval romance...or a pirate romance...or the steampunk romances....

    Well, let me assure you Bing and I became great friends last month when I typed in steampunk ebooks (my wallet...meh...not so much). Such a variety out there, perfect for this reader who grows way too bored reading the same thing back to back...

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  3. This will sound absolutely nuts, but I like not having my thumb aching where it's holding open a print book. LOL!

    :O)

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  4. TEE-Hee, Miz Love!!!!! SO true! Ye old thumb gets a damn work-out, especially when lying in an odd position, like at the beach or stuck in bed!

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  5. I have to agree with everything said here. I love being able to read what I want wherever I am, and to be able to find the stories the print houses won't handle any more. I have found backlists of genres I missed and now love. And all the stories that don't quite fit anywhere else...love the access to those too!

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  6. CinLee, I do so agree. The Powers That Think They Be have thought that more and more and More of the same is precisely what readers want. When what we really need is VARIETY, intelligent, fulfilling variety!
    Bravo!

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  7. Roxy, you are so right: The backlists are wonderful. Refreshing to see them out there again.

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  8. I will always love books, but e-books are equally valid. Media has changed over the centuries, I don't expect the publishing world as it's currently constructed to be any exception.

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  9. Julia, Yes, indeed, media is constantly changing. Someone said to me the other day, imagine if you could put on your glasses, press a button and read or watch whatever you wanted. Hmmm. I wondered if that is not already out there in some form....

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  10. And this rubbish about canceling contracts because Wal-Mart didn't place an order for their last book...in case the publishers (known ongoing as TIIC) haven't noticed, Wal-Mart's book department keeps getting smaller because all they want to sell is televisions. More on more on Facebook I'm hearing authors announcing they'll be self-publishing in E-book form because the publishers won't let them write the stories they want. Makes me sick. I'm also a bit upset because I bought a Kobo and they're all going Kindle and Nook. What about us Kobo users? But then, that's why I usually buy straight from the pubs if I can (Ellora's Cave, Samhain, yep, Resplendence) because I can get any format I want and pop it on to my Kobo. Ironically I bought a Kobo because it has SD storage. Ironically...my media card reader/writer in the laptop won't work.

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  11. CinLee, Yes, And WalMart is not alone in the smaller and smaller department! Borders and B&N suffer from the distribution system that has gotten all out of whack: Buyers ordering things that did not sell, then the publishers failing to see that the other authors whose works did sell OUT completely, could have and should have been offered. But everyone was working on premiums and big print runs that only bankrupted everyone.
    The reason there are so many varieties of things in the grocery stores is because people cannot and should not eat Steak and Cheese every night. BAH!!!!!

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  12. BIG fonts... for those of us who are OLDER!

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  13. I LOVE being able to buy a book, upload it, and within seconds have it available to read. I don't even have to leave the house. This is also quite dangerous! LOL

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  14. I have this one...just started reading. YUM!!!

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  15. FRAN! I am honored! Wow, (biting nails), I hope you love it, babe. You do such a fantabulous job with your books. One of my ALL TIME FAVES is yours, NOTHING BUT SEX, a book which should win every award ever known to womankind!

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