Ebooks have become an emotional issue for many writers. Why? Most people have a bad habit of blindly embracing change or fearing it to the point of phobia. For any writer wishing to continue their career, there is only one chance for survival: Find the happy medium before it’s too late. Every time
Of course, that medium is hard to pinpoint. Certain writers are making money hand over fist going the ebook route. Others can’t figure out why no one is buying theirs and conclude that ebooks are a fad. (You mean like television and the Internet?) Everytime I post on the subject, I get an email from someone upset I stomped on their belief about ebooks, as though I pissed in the holy water.
But the fact is there is a lot of hyperbole, both pro and con, about ebooks. Let’s debunk some of the myths, some even touted by notable writers.
- The iPad is not a magic piracy device. It doesn’t really do anything your smartphone, laptop, or desktop doesn’t already do. It’s just a better platform for certain functions. No one will write a novel on a Droid, and not that many people make phone calls on their tower device. (Yes, I’m aware of Skype. I also notice most users still have phones they use.)
- Publishing will not go away. Someone will have to edit, format, and market a book. Just sticking it up on Amazon for a cheap price will not sell the book. How do I know? I’m a consumer.
- I keep hearing ebooks are not selling. Usually, I hear it from someone whom I didn’t know had an ebook out. Hey, guess who fell down on that one. Wasn’t me. I’m the consumer. You have to come find me.
- The Kindle, iPad, Nook, etc. are not replacements for print. Sorry, but they’re not. If they were, the generation of teenagers today would be looking at the rest of us going “Dear old person, why are you reading ink pressed into the flesh of dead trees? You silly, silly old person.” Except that they don’t say that. Where are they reading Twilight? On paper. My stepson, who spends huge amounts of time on his Xbox and Wii and in the World of Warcraft, doesn’t like reading on a computer screen. Most of his friends don’t, either. But they are reading. They read books.
- “Ebooks are not selling.” Um… Look again. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Apple are selling a lot of devices. Why? Somebody’s buying them. And no, it’s not the manufacturers buying them back. If it were, all four lines would have disappeared. It’s consumers. And consumers want them for one reason: To read. Hmm… What are they reading? Well, I’m reading Ken Bruen’s Calibre.
- Ebooks do provide an enormous opportunity to reinvent a sluggish publishing industry. However, the same hype that came about in the POD era is still around today. “Oh, now you can be published!” Well, remember, a lot of crap is getting self-published. And while I haven’t run into an e-press yet that’s sticking a vacuum cleaner in writers’ pockets, they’re out there.
- Do not believe that the publishing sky is falling. It’s not. Do not believe that print is dead, and that no one needs agents or editors anymore. Rubbish! What is happening is change. Embrace it, learn what is changing, and adapt. It’s the only way to survive.