Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday Pondering

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!


  1. I've not bought an ebook in quite a while. Right now I've got like 7 books to read. All of them print format.

  2. I'm in Mexico so I buy most of my books in ebook form. I only get to an English bookstore maybe twice a year. (And it's epic)

    Note: word verification is Eheucil. Is this Elven metamucil?

  3. I play around with this topic often. I want/like the diversity that comes from publishing online. I like holding a printed book too. There's the great feeling of lying in the tub reading that you can't get with a computer. The flip side is that if the power goes out I'm out of reading material. That alone keeps me from leaning further into the ebook field.

  4. My thing with format really comes down to comfort. I like print books because I can cuddle with one in bed, while with ebooks, I have to sit at my computer (don't have a reader yet, but am saving to get one!).

    Other than that, they hold no difference. I feel the same way. It's about the story. If it's a good story, it doesn't matter to me whether its ebook or print. I'll get it cause I want to read it. So maybe the companies are focusing on the wrong thing.

    But it definitely hurts their pockets. It has to. There's just no way. Not with epubs doing as well as they are.

  5. Great post Cora!

    And I agree, it's all about the quality of the story. I don't understand why there's this big debate about ebooks versus print books. If the story's great, who cares about the format?

    I personally love print books, but that doesn't stop me from reading ebooks. If the story grabs me, it grabs me in any format.


  6. This was great Cora and I so agree with you. I have to say I like having most of my books in the computer now. I was clearly running out of bookshelf room, but at the same time, it's not as much fun to curl up with a laptop. I'm seriously looking into one of those e-reader things.

    All that aside, I switched to mostly reading e-books for the same reason I write them. E-publishers have taken down all the walls. If it's a good story well written they'll publish it, end of story.

    I'm finally getting to read stories about characters and locations that feel real. Heartbreak over an affair, the story about the rock star that falls for the girl in the stands...I mean come on, I always wanted to be that girl. :)

    I find e-books to be more real, I find the fantasy and paranormal lines to go places print books don't and I especially love the honest language used and not the frilly, flowery stuff as if I can't handle the word cock.

    It sort of offends me that NY thinks every woman out there is the same and can't handle the honesty of sex and relationships.

    Sorry I ranted, it's a passionate subject for me. lol :)

  7. Tempest: I've got a stack of print books I need to read, too. You got me started hunting for Nocturne's. ^_^ I have noticed though, I always seem to hit the ebook stack and devour it first even when I have print books around. I'm not sure why that is!

    Annie: An epic book buying adventure. Hehe! Sounds like fun. ^_^ My hubby would likely be in fits, but I'd probably have a written list a mile long if I only went twice a year.

  8. Scooper: I do like the diversity of it too. That's what got me interested in the first place. I could find online what I couldn't find in the print bookstore. The argument still holds water. I do like both books, but when I know what I'm looking for, I have certain places I like to get it.

  9. Yolanda, that's exactly how I feel. If the story is great and I want to read it, format doesn't matter in the least. Sometimes I even choose the format I can get the fastest. It really depends. I do feel some publishers are completely missing the point behind ebooks.

  10. Samantha: ^_^ I don't own an ereader either (yet), and there are times I wish I had one. It would be nice to be able to take my ebooks into the den while the kids are lounging around in there.


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