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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Where have all the paper books gone?

I recieved the following email regarding my novel, A Policeman's Lot from Mr Raymond Foster, a man responsible for a number of excellent Black Horse Westerns written under the pen-name, Jack Giles:

Hi Gary,
            Almost from your day one announcement I have wanted to read this book.
            To be honest I do not care for ereaders - sure I downloaded the six Edge books but I found it a long and tedious process to read them. Usually an Edge book would take a day or so to read - scrolling down etc and it took longer. However, I must admit, I'm not as anti as I was in the beginning - there is a future there - and as Chris Scott Wilson said it is unlikely that an author's work will ever be out of 'print'.
            To me these are still early days and readers should have a choice of whether they download or buy a print book version. It seems a bit dictatorial for anyone to say that the only way that I can read Gary Dobbs or Chuck Tyrell is to download. I am pretty certain I am not alone in that view - I know that you are very pro ebooks and I respect that but there has to be a balance.
           All the best,

Now I agree with Mr Foster but there is no escaping that fact that eBooks are the direction in which the book industry is heading. However if anyone wants a print copy of A Policeman's Lot then please contact Solstice Publishing and they will be able to arrange for a handsome POD paperback to be sent out. You'll find a CONTACT US link on their website.

I thank Ray for his email and have just emailed him a PDF of A Policeman's Lot. I would like to point out though that after the first few hours of using an eReader it becomes second nature and the reading experience is equal to that of a dead tree book. What does everyone else think on this subject? Are eBooks a good or bad thing for the publishing industry and more importantly for the reading public?



Couldnt agree with you more
We are in the business of art and story telling.
As long as it gets out there
These same people would have been against Caxtons printing press if they were around in the 15th century
The new format allows us to go direct to our market.
At the same time, there has to be still that alternative to the E Book.
For if the system falls down, our work is lost. Better to go for a Kindle and a self publishing process like Lulu or Magic Cloud. Its pricey, but you can deliver a more 'exclusive' presentation of ones work. Kind of like the single / Album process

Davieboy said...

The new e-book format is definitely the way to go - I love my new Kindle and will read a lot more novels etc. as a result. For example, the newly published "Edge" ebook will be the first of that series I will have read. It was cool that Amazon allowed me to download & read a sample, to confirm that the book lived up to the hype you'd given it!
I will however continue to collect hardbacks by my favourite authors (fantasy, westerns etc.) but anyway prefer to leave those in pristine condition and actually read an e-book version. I do think that people who buy a newly published hardback should have the opportunity to buy an e-book version at the same time, at a much-reduced rate compared to those who buy the e-book only.

Ray said...

Thanks, Gary.

Jimmy Vargas - The only people who would have objected to Caxton's press was the Church. The very idea that people (most of whom could not read) could have access to the written word just did not go down well.
So - I would be all in favour of the printing press.

Second point - 'The new format allows us to go direct to our market'. No it doesn't. There are many people who do not have a computer let alone any other electronic devices and some of those people belong to your market.
What you may gain one way you lose another.
So you do need some kind of balance to maintain and increase your market.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

It's an interesting debate but as I've said I do think the conventional book's days are numbered. I'm not saying this is a good thing but it's the way things will go. Of course real books will always be here but I feel that mass market fiction will be mostly available as eBooks in only a short time from now. One very big plus of the eBook revolution is how easy it is now to get westerns, war novels, horror thrillers, romances and any of the genres the shops mostly didn't stock. I can see Ray's point too and there is something sad about all those paperbacks vanishing but that trend started long before eBooks started to dominate. Can't remember the last time my local stocked westerns.

Davieboy - Believe the hype - Edge is excellent.

Ray said...

Our local Waterstone's has been carrying paperback westerns for quite some time and selling. The original aim of Wild West Monday was to get westerns back on the shelves. If Waterstone's are putting them on the sheleves then the initiative has begun to work.
They don't have a section for them but they are there.
Though I agree that some things are inevitable I think most folk will have to wait until my generation has passed away.
There is a lovely quote from 'Requiem For A Wren' by Nevil Shute that says about the older you get the more you listen to the music and read the books of one's youth.
Mind you if ebooks can get rid of the useless bricks that dominate the bestseller lists then it has to be a good thing.