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Old 07-14-2010, 02:38 PM   #1
Scott Nicholson
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Four ways ebooks are changing the world

People on this forum already pretty much have made their minds up, but my guest post at Writer's Digest looks at some of the ways paper and plastic will coincide.

http://blog.writersdigest.com/norule...YourWorld.aspx

Do you foresee any new ways ebooks will change our experience? The blogger, Jane Friedman, pointed out that ebooks also stimulate the reader-to-reader connection.

Scott Nicholson
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:10 PM   #2
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For me, the biggest change will be to reduce weight and space now taken up by paper books. At home, comfort is a factor. Instead of physically hanging on to a book while reading, I can view them on my computer or TV screens. All I need is a wireless mouse within easy reach to scroll the pages. When away from the house, a reader or even a netbook are a lot easier to lug around than a bunch of books.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:14 PM   #3
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For me, the biggest change will be to reduce weight and space now taken up by paper books. At home, comfort is a factor. Instead of physically hanging on to a book while reading, I can view them on my computer or TV screens. All I need is a wireless mouse within easy reach to scroll the pages. When away from the house, a reader or even a netbook are a lot easier to lug around than a bunch of books.
Exactly! Right now my K2 is soaking up electrons, but it's got 184 titles stashed on it - 27 of them are 'in my queue' new titles and the rest are titles I insist upon having at hand if I just want to re-read my 'faves'. I could not possibly carry that many titles around comfortably if I had to relapse to dead-tree versions.

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Old 07-14-2010, 06:48 PM   #4
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For me the biggest change is that I am reading books that are free on the internet. I have downloaded many from Munsey's that I suspect are not available in hard copy.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:37 PM   #5
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Space was a big issue for me as well. The logistics of buying p-books was a barrier for me so this downloading option has greatly expanded my choices. Now that you mention it, it was rare that I would encounter book lovers before. E-books led to mobileread and all you great people!
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:55 PM   #6
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Scott wrote on his blog:

1. You will be able to get millions of titles instantly. Well, probably not at the same time, but you will have easy access to almost every worthwhile book ever printed. No trips to the store, no waiting for UPS, no special orders. Of course, you’ll still be able to browse the dusty shelves of used bookstores if that’s your thrill, because those books will be around a few hundred years.

See, that's what lending libraries are for. It might not be "millions of titles instantly" but most of us can't read more than a few at a time, spread over a week or two. And, it's "free" -- paid for in taxes. Incremental cost: just transit fare to borrow and return. And, the net -- amazon.com or gutenberg.com or my public library and overdrive any combination of sources -- offers a much larger collection of "circulating" books (paid or free) than most local libraries, except for large cities.

2. You will be able to carry a couple of thousand books on your e-reader at any given time. I made a deliberate decision to pass up a paper book on my recent vacation simply because it would be one extra item to carry and keep up with. I had books on my computer, which was going with me no matter what. Yet I still keep a hardcover by my bedside for those cozy moments of leisure.

On vacation, I used to lug around a half dozen books. Now, with a Kindle 2i, I can bring a few dozen -- enough to suit any mood. And, on a single charge for a two week holiday. (I tried that and it works.) I have no need for a hard cover edition to feel cozy (I have a husband for that!). Too many books is too many choices: but one e-reader beats a suitcase full of paperbacks ... just in case the mood strikes (not to mention customs officers' dirty looks!)

3. You will be able to interact with the content in ways impossible with a fixed-type paper book. Because users can control the text size and other features, those with vision problems can finally optimize the type size. The ability to adapt, bookmark, highlight, and even alter the text will rapidly become an adventurous part of the reader experience. Yet the traditional paper version will still be around, because most books are quality products and paper has a long lifespan.

One of the best things about e-readers is the ability to vary the font size depending on lighting and how tired I am. Plus, my Kobo is lighter / easier to hold than most books. I can't highlight, but then, I am old school and never write in a book. But I am considering that endeavour with the Kindle 2i -- sharing favourite passages that make me laugh out loud, for instance. And, with 3G, I can share on the beach!

4. The prices will fall dramatically once the various market sectors settle down. Judging by the cost of music and movie downloads, your favorite new titles should probably cost no more than a few bucks. That development is still a few years away, but paying only for content means you have less infrastructure to support and fund. But just as you can choose the $25 hardcover instead of waiting for the used 25-cent paperback, you can wait until the e-book hits your favored price point.

I'm not convinced prices will "fall dramatically". The only thing that seems to go down is my annual disposible income, thanks to every increasing taxes and inflation. I have lots of paperbacks on my shelves marked 65¢ ... and more recent ones at $19.95. I'm not convinced books, or e-books, are going to suddenly get cheaper. I do think it is idiotic to price e-books relative to hard covers but I guess that's why I am not a publisher. I do look forward to the day where I can buy Erle Stanley Gardner Perry Mason novels for a fee somewhere in line with the price points Gardner (who died in 1971) was familiar with ....
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:56 PM   #7
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Personally, I think that the biggest change is going to be the access to publishing for a wider range of authors. With no need for the huge resources of a print publishing company, there's no need for them to act as gatekeepers to access to publishing.

I think we'll see an order of magnitude growth in the number of authors with books for sale. Of course there'll be an order of magnitude growth in the amount of rubbish for sale too. Sites like Goodreads.com are going to become even more valuable.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:17 PM   #8
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Sensual Poet, because of hampsterrage's point, publishers will soon lose control of pricing--I know plenty of bestselling authors who are already moving their own backlist to ebooks--on their own. As more and more of the content price is set by the authors, they HAVE to listen to consumers, because the law of supply and demand is inescapable. Right now publisher control supply. That's why so many writers get rejected (well, a significant reason, because there are a lot of quality books that don't fit a slot or the slot is already full).

As authors enter into direct competition with one another, it's inevitable that some will go lower. Readers may decide a particularly price point, and authors will have to go meet it or lose those readers. Most indies I know are happy to get a few bucks per sale, and that includes those published in NY like me.

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Old 07-14-2010, 11:26 PM   #9
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For better or worse, ebooks are easier to change en masse. This can be a useful tool for correcting typos data errors and such. The potential for more nefarious Orwellian changes is much greater than with ebooks & ezines than with traditionally printed literature, especially as more readers have some sort of wireless connection.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamsterRage View Post
Personally, I think that the biggest change is going to be the access to publishing for a wider range of authors. With no need for the huge resources of a print publishing company, there's no need for them to act as gatekeepers to access to publishing.

I think we'll see an order of magnitude growth in the number of authors with books for sale. Of course there'll be an order of magnitude growth in the amount of rubbish for sale too. Sites like Goodreads.com are going to become even more valuable.
This is 100% my favorite thing about having an ebook reader and participating in the ebook community. I now feel sorry for people who only read what they find on the shelves at Wal-Mart. Besides my school textbooks and two novels for a book club, I haven't read a "bestseller" or a book that cost more than $3 in months but I've taken in dozens of awesome stories I wouldn't have heard about otherwise.
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Nicholson View Post
publishers will soon lose control of pricing--I know plenty of bestselling authors who are already moving their own backlist to ebooks--on their own. As more and more of the content price is set by the authors, they HAVE to listen to consumers, because the law of supply and demand is inescapable. Right now publisher control supply. That's why so many writers get rejected (well, a significant reason, because there are a lot of quality books that don't fit a slot or the slot is already full).
I'm not opposed to publishers on principle -- they are an important part of the ecosystem. Publishers, and the infrastructure they bring, imposes a certain set of standards -- which is a good thing. It may be exciting to live in the wild west but ordered markets have their place.

What's missing is a healthy dose of "enlightened self-interest" among most publishers in the coming age of e-books, where the publisher will need to adapt, instead of trying to control, in order to prosper. Not every writer is a self-promo wiz ... in fact, most writers have a talent for writing, not getting on talk shows or booking events or even editing their own stuff. And, I dare say, most writer's comply with a publisher's deadline more easily than one they make up.
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Old 07-15-2010, 08:54 AM   #12
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One change not mentioned in those 4 above.

I could buy a paper book from anywhere and pay p&p for delivery.

Cannot say the same for the electronic versions .....
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:49 AM   #13
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As mentioned above one of the biggest effects for me the exposure to authors I'd never have read previously. Granted some of them I'll never read again , but the majority of them have been quite worthwhile experiences.

The other thing I get out of it the thought that I'm making a positive difference by saving all the paper and associated carbon footprint involved in the pBooks by getting eBooks. Even if that's not true, let's not start the debate again and let me live in my happy little world.
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