This was the year of the E word. “E-Books.” The topic replaced the other “e” word…the Economy…as the number one topic among authors, editors, publishers and agents. And the news media reported every nuance with breathless excitement. The iPad, the iPhone4, the Droid, the avalanche of tablets, the Kindle, the Nook, and a deluge of e-reading devices, all commanded our time and attention.
But the story is not over. In fact 2011 promises to continue this conversation as our industry writhes in chronic pain from its various twists and turns.
Two articles that you should read to help with some year end thoughts….
First, from Dominique Raccah, the CEO of Sourcebooks, very openly talking about the mistakes they made in trying to do a one-day e-book promotional giveaway of their Jane Austen books. This is evidence of the veritable labyrinth called the e-book marketing and sales world.
I’ve heard authors express their misunderstanding of publishing by saying, “But e-books are easy to sell. Just make the conversion and put it up on Amazon!” But this CEO’s article should divest you of that thought.
This past Summer I sat through a two hour presentation from Hachette regarding their Digital initiatives. I came away discovering that it is far more complex than I ever realized. And came away very glad that publishers were working hard to maximize both revenue and opportunities for my clients.
Second is an article that will be published in Sunday’s LA Times but the online version released today. In it David Ulin claims that “E-books are Good News for the Literary World.” Here is a key quote:
The issue is not what we read on, just as the issue is not what we read. The issue is that we read, that we continue to interact with long-form writing; by altering the conditions of the conversation, e-books and e-readers have already served an essential purpose.
Well said. Note that in the article he admits to rarely using e-readers, but that he appreciates and accepts their use.
Thus 2010 added a new letter to our vocabulary. Instead of just the three Rs (readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmatic) we have added an “E.” Bu wouldn’t that make it ER? (an unfortunately pairing of letters when applied to the state of publishing).