Thursday, February 2, 2012


Yes, my Titanic-based love story is available at no cost. But only for five days beginning February 1st. My publisher asked if its authors were willing to post their books on Amazon’s Kindle Select and I signed on. The program lasts for ninety days, after which the books go back on other venues. But, while it’s free, I wanted followers of my blog to know about it.

And I’m not posting this to tout my own book, but to comment on e-books in general and self-published e-books in particular. Savvy authors, or readers of writers’ blogs, know that e-books are outselling hardcover books, that sales of e-reading devices have skyrocketed, and, at least according to one survey, fifty percent of avid readers who were questioned either already had an e-reader or planned to get one.

Many publishers have been selling e-books for a few years now, but suddenly “traditional” publishers--sometimes known as the Big Six plus Harlequin--are jumping into the digital waters seriously. And no wonder: that’s where the money is. It costs very little to produce and deliver an e-book. If a writer self-publishes his book with Amazon, he can pocket up to seventy percent of the retail price, compared to about seventeen percent of “Net” offered by traditional publishers. Rather than lose those authors to Amazon, publishers are scrambling to keep them and sign up more. At least three I know of have started “digital only” imprints and are even willing to look at work by unagented authors for the first time.

An interesting blog I read recently compared the “perfect storm” of e-books on the market to the “bubbles” of the past: such as the stock market crash, the housing bubble, and other similar sad stories of boom and bust. Could this happen to e-books as well?

My personal feeling is that it won’t, at least not totally. E-books are here to stay--until technology finds an even better way to put book content into our eyes and minds--but if the thousands of people who have penned a book recently, thinking they’re going to get rich, drop out in dismay at the reality of poor sales, that’s a good thing. Let’s face it: there’s a ton of “C---“ out there: illiterate, unedited brain droppings that gatekeepers called editors used to reject. I think, and hope, that the cream will rise to the top. Good best-selling and midlist authors will make more money than they did before, and new authors who were once considered “too different,” will finally have a chance to show their talent to readers.

What do you think? Will e-books continue their climb or is it a bubble that will burst?

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