Monday, 18 July 2011

A digital dilemma, ebooks ...

... Ebooks, eBooks, e-books, E-Books, e-Books, or E-books … I am having a deep inner conflict, not just about how to spell it.

Gypsies Stop tHere is now a Kindle eBook - at last. Might as well go with the flow, I thought, or what will be regarded by future generations as a technological revolution. Ironic really; it’s only a few months since I was in rebellious mode. Step back for a moment to this piece about breaking all the rules, just last year!

The world of publishing is evolving apace! With the extraordinary rise of e-books, sales currently outstripping printed books I understand, no wonder many new authors are now taking the independent publishing route. In fact, how many authors with long-established publishers have changed tack? Comments on these questions would be very welcome, - or answers, if you happen to have them.

(I rejected digital print as cost-ineffective. However, it is an option for a writer-publisher who wants a modest print-run. )

So Gypsies Stop tHere, my first novel published in print 2008, is now available for the e-reading world to purchase! US, UK and German Amazon. Wonderful! At a bargain price. No print costs. 70% royalty on Kindle. Naturally, I am thinking about the guy recently in the news as the first independent author to sell 1 million Ebooks.

Did you read about a leading public school that has been actively ridding itself of its library, its students now using iPads instead? With two more books in progress, should I bother with print at all? Clearly e-Books are the future and my choice is not going to make a jot of difference to the overall trend! I am but one stitch in the vast tapestry of publishing.

But, but, but … Should I worry about what will happen to bookshops as this ebook trend is pursued by authors? My helpful and supportive friends in Waterstone’s? And libraries? Books – that I love to have, hold, read, possess and cherish? And publishers? Agents? The printers? The natural conclusion could be their collective demise. I do not want that.

Or, will ebooks and printed books co-exist happily forever? This, by the way, is a hypothetical question, but if anyone wants to give it a go, they are welcome.

Now, I need to make sure people will find my book. More on this in a few weeks time …

PS Here is a link to a Guardian article re the statistics to clarify in what sense ebooks are allegedly outstripping print - note that it compares against hardbacks and this is for the US.


  1. Good luck with you Kindle version of Gypsies Stop Here. My latest book is only in Kindle and the biggest hurdle is getting people to know it is there.

  2. So far, no one seems to have pointed out that e-books are selling like hot cakes because suddenly, everyone's got a new toy and needs some stuff to put on it. When I say "everyone", I mean the early-adopters. The real question is whether electronic publishing will reach the mass market or whether it's just a technology phenomenon.

    If you take a paperback on the beach, it doesn't matter if it gets sand in it, or a bit wet, or even if it's nicked (which it probably won't be). Can't really say the same about a Kindle or an iPad. In their favour, readers are great if you want your literature to be portable and you travel a lot. If I didn't mind not having stuff on my bookshelves and regarded literature as disposable, I'd certainly have one - ie if I read popular fiction on the train and then chucked it away. Or maybe if I was flying all over the world and wanted a choice of reading in my hand luggage. E-books are good for all that. In fact, I might even have hard-copy copies as well as portable ones. I suspect "proper" books are going to be around for quite a long time, but they'll co-exist quite happily with e-books. And, also, just remember that everyone who's got an e-book or a reader to peddle has a vested interest in having you believe they're the thing of the future and you're positively antediluvian if you haven't got one too.