I don't often blog about industry related things. Sure I listen to what's abound in the industry when gossip arises, and I read all the what's hot, what's not lists and such... Some of it is helpful, some you have to take with a grain of salt and keep on writing.
Yesterday while the house was quiet, I logged on and went bookshopping. One of my favorite sites had a survey up, and you could take it to get a discount coupon for your purchase. Hey, hey, hey... I'm just the kinda girl they're looking for! I took the really short survey, but before I ever started, I was anticipating the questions about ebooks. Sure enough, they were on there. I answered them. If there were ebooks available by my favorite (print) authors, would I likely buy the ebooks. Truthfully, I probably wouldn't. I prefer my Christine Feehan, Sephira Giron, Stephen King, and JK Rowling in print.
A lot of people have claimed over the past few years, that ebooks have not hurt NY sales at all, and that it's a fad that will die out. If you've ever blog hopped authors, or editors, or industry pros, etc. you've probably come across this debate from time to time. However, yesterday, while doing this survey, I got to really thinking about it, and my last book purchases have all been online.
Come on, folks. If I bought 12 ebooks, that's 12 print books I didn't buy. Despite the sunny projections, some print publisher somewhere has got to be feeling the pinch in the wallet! And if not, why the hell would more and more mainstream publishers be considering launching ebooks? Don't tell me it's about keeping up with the times either, because ebooks have been around for 10 years or more now. If it was purely for the sake of being modern, I'm sure lots of companies would have jumped in on it years ago.
The thing is, it's not really about a print vs. ebook thing with me. I love books, and I love to read, so being a true reader - I like both. If I happen to come across a story I want to read and it's only in one format - okay. What am I gonna do? Not read the story?
Format has never played much of a role in my book choices. There are some books by my favorite authors, that I have waited for them to run to print before buying them, because I am notorious for going through computers - at least one every two years. It kills me when I lose downloads, whether they are music, pictures, whatever. These print purchased ebooks are stories I want to keep. Some of them I bought first in ebook format, and when they came out in print, I bought that too so I could put it on my keeper shelf.
I have to admit, 90% of books I buy come from companies that primarily epublish. There is a small section on my bedroom shelf that is dedicated to my favorite print paranormals - ones that have come out through NY based publishers alone. Beside that, there is a still smaller section for print horror novels. In the curio are my son's Harry Potter books. None of these books were chosen due to their format, and that's certainly not why they made it to my keeper shelf.
It's about the story elements. What am I looking for in a story, and where can I get that in a book? I prefer my books fast paced, a bit on the smutty side, and with either enough dark atmosphere to draw me in, or enough kick ass action to keep me glued. For a long time I only read futuristics, and the only place to get them was online. The genre is still primarily an ebook thing, and I admit not all of the ones I've purchased have the same quality as a mass market book, but the truth is I'm okay with that. As long as the grammar isn't too far out of whack, and the book isn't filled with typos, I feel I can get what I paid for out of that book.
I guess what I'm really leading up to is this: Enough about format. And surveys about format. Print publishers are clearly missing the point. Those surveys never have the questions that really should be on there: Why have you stopped reading our books? Is it because the stories are dry, recycled, and boring? Is it because you prefer something we don't publish? Do you not buy because our books are only available in print? If so, should we start selling ebooks of the same dry, recycled, boring stories that you don't want to buy in print?
A publisher can't sell me on format. Someone needs to add that to a survey, because clearly the marketing interest isn't about the books themselves, or about variety found among books these days - it's about how they're packaged. Someone needs to tell the higher ups that we readers consume the meat of the story, not what they're wrapped in!
If only they'd had a section on that survey where I could've jotted that down!