First, watch my video. I worked hard on it and I want everyone to see. =) Also, we’re having lots of trouble getting videos to embed here at the Storybroads, so this is a public service experiment. I’m going to try to load this in various ways so you might see this post popping up and vanishing again a few times this morning until I get it to work. I managed to embed a video two weeks ago, (that amazing piece about the Neuroscientist who had a stroke and experienced some amazing insights and revelations) but I don’t remember how I did it. I just tried this and that, and then it worked. I should have taken notes. This time, I am. LOL.
And here’s the link in case it doesn’t work.
Nope, the embed didn’t work, and I tried it six ways to Sunday. Oh, well. Moving on.
Now my topic is loosely related to the stuff I talk about in that video, and here’s why. All those campy old covers you just saw from the early to mid 90s, graced books that are extremely hard to find here in 2010. The publisher reissues the more recent ones but rarely, the very early ones. They come out in different countries at different times in different order with new cover art and two or three to a volume with a new title for the entire volume, and it’s just darn confusing.
Australia is currently reissuing them two or three to a volume under titles like THE CHOSEN, THE FORGOTTEN and THE PROMISED. But there, too, the books are out of order and the new art and new titles have my readers’ heads spinning.
I do have help available–I keep a file handy with all the titles in the correct reading order, and I’ll send it to anyone who emails me to ask. It’s also up at my website and on my Facebook page. And I’m in the process of adding further information to that file, with info on the reissued volumes and various e-bundles and what they contain.
But the real point of this piece is that for a long time, that file was the only help I could provide. But now, suddenly, every single reader has access to the older titles, because every last one of them, even all the way back to 1993, are available online in electronic formats at Eharlequin.com, at BN.com for the Nook, at Amazon.com for the Kindle, and are beginning to show up at the Apple iBookstore as well.
To me, this is sheerly delightful. First, because I’m going to be getting paid in upcoming royalty periods for books that I haven’t been paid for in years. Not because they’ve already reached their entire potential audience, but just because they were not available for anyone to buy even if they wanted to. This is going to pad my income very nicely and it feels like found money. I’ve been wanting those older titles more readily available for years, and now they are. So many more readers have read my recent twilight books than my first few–that a lot of potential sales. And a lot of people who had no idea I was around for years before the current vampire craze hit, will now be able to time travel and see for themselves. Yay1
Secondly, I think I’m gaining new readers that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Here’s my logic. Some people who already read print books, will also read Ebooks. Some will try them and love them, and read both formats. Some will try them and hate them and stick with print only. I doubt many will love them so much they give up their print books. But here’s the thing–People who don’t already read print books will try reading Ebooks because it’s new and fun and high tech and interesting and they want to see what they’re missing. Some will stay with it, some won’t, but either way, this is a new readership we are reaching through this new format.
Thirdly–this is something I heard online, but it was about a group planning to give 100 E-readers, made for a cost of about $100 each, to the children of a third world village. Each reader holds 100 books. They plan to fill each of the E-readers with 100 different books. Which means this village will get 10,000 different stories, for a cost of about $10,000 dollars. Translate that same 10 grand to a 7.99 paperbacks, you’d get around 1,250. (I rounded it to 8 bucks for easier math.) Translate it to hardcover books, at 20 bucks a pop, and you’d get 500 books. But instead of 500, or 1250, this is going to provide 10,000–ten thousand different stories for this little village. And we all know what reading does for people. It opens our minds, broadens our understanding, enlightens, educates, gives us new and different perspectives to consider, entertains us, makes us feel happy, makes our brains work.
Seems to me this is the true meaning of “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Only it’s an E-pen, so to speak.
I’m not worried, either, about the gloom and doom predictions of publishing as we know it dying a brutal death. Publishers will find a way to ride this wave all the way to increased profits. The technology is just in its infancy. It’s growing by leaps and bounds, and unless we authors want to undertake second careers as computer savvy software designers, graphic artists and programmers, we’re going to need people implement this new technology for us. There’s going to be a lot happening. New, exciting, interactive features will be added to books, a lot of extra content, maps of story locations where you can touch a point and get a closer look, and descriptions of the places in the town. There will illustrations, maybe animated ones, links to bonus bits online, maybe secret back story pieces the reader can “unlock” like in a video game, perhaps even a whole new level of “choose your own” adventures. A button to hit to get the entire list of books in a given series, along with the correct reading order, author tidbits, original cover art, listings of reissued volumes with their new cover art, and links to buy in every format. And I’m barely scratching the surface of what’s possible here. How about a live streaming feed from the books’ own Twitter page, where all those reading it are commenting as they go along? Like a real time book club.
All of that and more, is coming. And I know that I, personally, am not going to want to spend all my time designing and writing code for all those new cool features. That will be part of the new job of publishers. It’s one of the new ways they’ll keep their edge, and keep themselves relevant, and maybe become more profitable than ever. I foresee kiosks in Bookstores, where the “excerpts” one gets to experience are multi-media in nature, with more than words, but with sounds and images, and who knows what else?
This is all good, folks. I’m watching with awe and excitement, and not one hint of fear. It’s all good. Everything’s expanding, always.
So that’s my take of the e-revolution. I don’t think it’ll ever replace print. In fact, I think it’s going to evolve into a new media, something beyond print, rather than a replacement for it. It’s going to be its own thing.
What are your predictions, thoughts, and hopes about this stuff? Let’s discuss. What can you think of that might make a good bonus in an E-book?