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Viva la E-books

When I first started out as a writer, there was no such thing as E-readers and E-books. I’m going to date myself horribly here, but there was no such thing as the internet, either. Well, it existed, and has, much longer than we realize, but it wasn’t in widespread use in homes and wouldn’t be until the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Likewise, though they existed, laptops were not a “thing.” I started out on a typewriter, then a word processor, then finally a computer.

When E-books first started increasing in popularity and availability, they were also met with a lot of horror and condemnation. Ray Bradbury famously insisted that E-books were not real books (so, sorry, if you’ve ever had a book published in E-format, Ray Bradbury says you’re not a real writer) and in his later years he had to be coerced by his publishers to allow his work to be offered in E-book format. Other people were utterly convinced E-books meant that paper books were going to go away forever. As we can see all these years later, print books are still around. Humorously, when the printing press was first invented people insisted the ability to reproduce and widely distribute text would destroy books. So take heed, writers. According to the old school, none of you are real writers unless you’ve published a hand-written, hand-bound book and personally sold it yourself on a street corner!

I watched E-books completely change the face of publishing, and I’m always in awe that I was part of that transition. When people start naysaying, I remind them that books survived the greatest and swiftest technological revolution the world has ever seen by adapting to it, and that means something about books, and reading in general.

I watched E-books completely change the face of publishing, and I’m always in awe that I was part of that transition.

Here’s how Ebooks have changed publishing, for the good and bad.

The pros of E-books:

  • For avid readers, they’re a blessing. They make books much cheaper and more widely available.They also make obscure subject matter more mainstream and abundant–so if you like to read about something off the beaten path, you’re able to find many more titles available to you.
  • They let you take reading anywhere. You can take a lot of books with you everywhere you go, and read them much more conveniently. Six paperback books in your suitcase take up a lot more room than six books on your E-reader.
  • They make it less embarrassing to read certain subject matter. Like to read racy romances with a passionate, sexy couple on the cover? Don’t want to sit on the bus reading your book while everyone stares at it and silently judges you? E-readers to the rescue!
  • They open up new royalty rates for authors. Go ahead and ask your editor for 60% royalties on every paperback sold. I hope you’re on the ground floor, because they’re going to throw you out the window.

The cons of E-books:

  • Self publishing. Don’t get me wrong, self publishing is great. It’s also terrible. E-books, along with Amazon, have made it so anyone can self publish easily and anyone does. That not only means there’s a lot of terrible self published stuff out there, but it means that you’re trying to get noticed in a sea of literally hundreds of thousands of self published books. Maybe millions. It can be really, really discouraging.
  • Technological glitches. Losing your entire E-library can suck, if something happens to your E-reader or you lose it. Thankfully there’s ways to back things up, but E-books are more ephemeral than print, in many ways.
  • The print purists. See above. Suck it, Ray Bradbury.

I’m a big fan of E-books. I’m a big fan of print books. I’m a big fan of books. And I’m so happy that we’re still taking books along for the ride, no matter our evolving technology.

Viva la E-books! #books #publishing @morgan_romance

Megan Morgan View All

Urban fantasy and paranormal romance author.

9 thoughts on “Viva la E-books Leave a comment

  1. Ray Bradbury, why??

    I love the convenience of e-readers! Not all books are small paperbacks, so being able to stick to one book, if I want to, while reading on break at work or in the bath is great. Or using a night reading mode in bed!

    I’ve read all kinds of stuff that I doubt I would have found without digital distribution. Some of my favourite books are from less well known writers whose works, if they had gotten print copies, is certainly unlikely to have made it to my remote area.

    While I can understand having a preference (since I got an e-reader I’ve barely read any print) the idea that ebooks are somehow not “real” books is almost laughably foolish to me.

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    • I feel like the ‘fear of e-books,’ as it is, is finally starting to fade. Probably in large part because people more widely accept technology now and it’s so integrated into most people’s lives that having electronic books just feels natural. Certainly, there’s still a few people around who swear e-readers are ABOMINATIONS, but that’s so silly, because the words of the story don’t change whether you read them on a page or a screen.

      Long live e-books!

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  2. Both e-books and traditional books have their place, both are important. I used to hate e-books, but I have since come around to seeing the advantages of them. That said, I still greatly prefer print books. There is something about the textile sensation and the smell of pages in a book that an e-book can’t duplicate. Also, I don’t think e-books will totally kill print books in the long run either, not like I used to. I look at vinyl records. In the 90s hardly anyone I knew listened to vinyl. CDs were the rage. Vinyl was dead for the most part. In the early 2000s Ipods came out. But in the last six years or so, I’ve seen vinyl return with a vengeance, to the point I am seeing vinyl records and records players for sale in both independent and chain stores. I think the same thing might happen to the traditional book. It will die for a while, but then it will make a comeback. In other words, paper and hardback books will be the vinyl records later on. In fact, I tend to think that hardback books will really be the survivors among E-books. In other words, I think both the traditional book an E-book will be sold side by side.

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    • I totally agree. Print will never die, no matter how many ‘industry insiders’ cry about it going away. Print books will always have a place, no matter our technology. I’m just glad we have the option now to also take our favorite stories with us wherever we go.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I go back and forth. I love holding a book in my hand, but at the same time, I love holding HUNDREDS of books in my hand in even less space. And I like that I can prop my Kindle on my knees/pillow/bed/table and only touch it to turn the pages, rather than cramping my hands by having to hold a hard copy open for hours if I’m on a reading binge.

    And I agree with you on Bradbury. If you can’t adapt, you don’t survive. You’ll alienate half your audience if you don’t offer as many options as possible.

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    • I feel you–I like both! One of the things I LOVE about my Kindle is that if I encounter a word in the text I don’t know, I can literally highlight it and get the definition. I also love the extra interactive things that can be added to e-books. But I definitely still love paper books, too.

      With Bradbury it was really just so absurd how he insisted for a long time that e-books weren’t ‘real’ and that if you’d had an e-book published it wasn’t a ‘real’ publication. Preposterous!

      Like

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