Three writers sit around a table. . .

The subject is the future of the printed word. For the first time this month, Amazon sold more ebooks than it did printed ones. Two of us have one published book each; the third has four novels, published by three different houses. We ask ourselves if the traditional publishing road is dead? Should we give up and head to online publishing or on-demand, me with my four unpublished novels, my friends with three and two?

I read a great piece recently that said if publishers had kept track of their audience–exactly who liked what book–they would now have an enormous resource, a built-in way to aim each new book at the people who most want to read it.

The bigger question is: will people be reading books? In our house, the favorite time of day is sitting around the breakfast table, each with a section of the newspaper, idly discussing what we’re reading. How many younger people do this? Will we look back on these heaps of recycled newsprint with horror, as we punch up the day’s latest, filtered to fit our preferences, on our ipads, Nooks, and Kindles?

6 responses »

  1. It’s one of those misleading statistics amazon is so fond of. They sell a lot of ebooks compared to p-books because they have a near-monopoly on ebooks. (They’re selling a huge chunk of all ebooks sold, but “only” about 17% of all p-books. This may change; indie booksellers are selling ebooks too.)

    Industry-wide, ebooks make up about 8% of total sales, but p-books haven’t declined by that much; instead, the market has grown.

    Reply
  2. Thanks, Christie. Seeing the facts from another angle, from the owner of an independent bookstore makes me feel better. Onward, writers!

    Reply
  3. Linden Craig

    Because I’m out of the country and can’t get my daily newspaper, I’ve been reading it online. I do not like it. I never get the satisfaction of having finished the whole thing, because there are so many links to other things. I also find the many hostile comments to each online story disheartening. I can’t wait to get back to my hard copy daily paper.

    Reply
  4. Good to hear from someone who has actually done both. I haven’t tried reading on the computer yet, but I have plenty of friends who no longer take a daily paper.

    Reply
  5. Linden Craig

    I also hate dropping oatmeal into the keyboard.

    Reply
  6. Now there’s a hazard I hadn’t considered. There’s a great online piece about the disadvantages of ebooks at http://bit.ly/kULGcW

    Reply

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