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DVGuru
10-14-2009, 03:14 AM
I'm not sure if this has already been posted somewhere. It's from his monthly Entertainment Weekly column. He also discusses movies, music, and television.


What's going to happen to books?
E-book downloads now account for only 1.5% of the total market...but that was once true of compact discs, and if you've bought an actual vinyl record lately, you're in very select company. At this writing, best-selling hardcovers have settled at an e-book price point of about $10, but if you think e-book vendors such as Amazon and Sony are making a profit, you would be wrong. That's because the product is sold cheap for the same reason that dope pushers sell the product cheap, at least to begin with: to get you hooked. And if that seems a harsh comparison to you, then you don't understand what every Harry Potter and Twilight reader knows: Good stories are dope. I love my Kindle, but what appears there has (so far) been backstopped by great publishers and layers of editing. If the e-book drives those guys out of business (or even into semiretirement), what happens to the quality? For that matter, who pays the advances? No one I talk to can answer these questions.

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20304270,00.html

CheshireCat
10-14-2009, 03:20 AM
My agent told me that King's column gave her a sleepless night.

I told her I knew how she felt. Sobering stuff. And if there's one thing King has been able to do throughout his career, it's keep a fairly accurate finger on the pulse of popular culture.

If publishers are going to survive this new reality, they'll have to reinvent themselves -- something publishers have a history of being really bad at.

We'll have to reinvent ourselves as well. If we can.

mathewferguson
10-14-2009, 04:20 AM
I think it is down to that ever popular tipping point. When download speeds went up enough and hardware prices went down enough and storage space went up enough ... goodbye purchasing CDs in shops.

Books are on the same track and the future looks something like the Kindle but with access to buy-download or free-download any book ever written in the history of time.

I think it will go like this: writer works with editor to make publishable manuscript. They put manuscript up on various sites that pay for downloads or allow free downloads. Writer only needs about $1.50 to beat the average book royalty. Editor needs a percentage royalty for their editing work.

I suspect editors will morph into editor-marketer-sales copy writer plus a bit of web-savvy AND they'll work on commission only. Paper publishing will become where something immensely popular goes and the royalty structure won't be in favour of the publisher.

Unimportant
10-14-2009, 05:17 AM
I think it will go like this: writer works with editor to make publishable manuscript. They put manuscript up on various sites that pay for downloads or allow free downloads. Writer only needs about $1.50 to beat the average book royalty. Editor needs a percentage royalty for their editing work.

I suspect editors will morph into editor-marketer-sales copy writer plus a bit of web-savvy AND they'll work on commission only. Paper publishing will become where something immensely popular goes ....

Don't we have this already -- facilitated by something called "e-publishers"?

Saskatoonistan
10-14-2009, 05:24 AM
I suspect the tipping point (assuming a younger generation than mine is reading books as opposed to watching reality television or blasting away on their PS3's) will be when a good quality eBook reader becomes available for $50-$100. If the vessel by which eBooks becomes affordable for the masses, then it will be interesting to see what the publishing industry morphs into.

Libbie
10-14-2009, 06:54 AM
I think the roles of agents, publishers, publicists, and editors will probably merge into one. You'll have one person (or agency) that takes care of editing, pimping and promoting, and selling. They'll work for the writer, as an agent does now, and take a commission off of sales. The agencies with the best reputations will be considered more prestigious, will attract better writers, and will sell more books. There will be plenty who are small-time, and there will be scammers. A lot like the way things are now, except with middle men cut out.

Advances? I don't know. I'd assume they aren't going anywhere, but who knows. However, I think the hunger for good stories is strong enough that writers will still be able to make a living off of writing. Musicians are still able to make a living off of music, even though the distribution and pay models have changed drastically over the last few decades, and even changed from decade to decade. Really good film-makers are still able to make a living off of really good films, even though Michael Bay makes more money than they do.

Undoubtedly people will find ways of stealing from authors. Sharing e-book downloads. Pirating. But ways to combat pirating will be invented. And thwarted. And re-invented.

E-publishing is already around, and it's not as popular as traditional publishing. Traditional publishing tends to have the money behind it for publicity. More people think to buy traditionally published books than e-books. If/when e-readers take over, it will be the same way: The big agencies that have the connections and the reputations will sell better than the little guys who are still struggling -- or just plain publishing crap.

You can buy self-published and PA books on Amazon right now. They haven't become more popular than the books with real professionalism behind them. And books with real professionalism behind them can suck atrociously, too. I don't see how e-readers are going to make the Dan Browns of the world earn relatively more money than they are earning already. If quality e-books are made available, the fans of quality will find them, and they will pass the word along to their friends. A lot like how books gain popularity now.

Frankly, the only thing that keeps me awake at night concerning the possible changes in the industry is the loss of cover art. I love cover art. I collect it. I was really dismayed to learn that Kindles don't display cover art. I won't be buying one, in fact, until they do. If they do. If they never do, I'll stick to "old" books. I feel that strongly about the marriage of art and literature.

katiemac
10-14-2009, 07:06 AM
E-book downloads now account for only 1.5% of the total market...but that was once true of compact discs, and if you've bought an actual vinyl record lately, you're in very select company.

While King makes a good point, the comparison to an iPod to an e-reader is not a straight line. I think it would be difficult to find someone who argues listening to an mp3 is less pleasurable than listening to a CD or a tape (maybe vinyl...). But you'll still find plenty of people who argue reading an e-reader is far less pleasurable than reading a real book. An unlike vinyl, which went out of style when tapes became the portable option, a book has always been portable.

And even though you might want more than one song or album to listen to during the day, you're likely to only need one book.

Shadow_Ferret
10-14-2009, 07:17 AM
I'm confused. Why would anything change simply because the media changed? Writers still write. Agents still agents. Editors still edit. Publishers still publish. Readers still read.

The only ones who might have problems here are the printers.

The Lonely One
10-14-2009, 07:30 AM
Newspapers still haven't figured out online publishing. Sudden publishing has ruined a lot of the ethics and integrity of good reporting and editing (not that I think there's a lot to begin with). Though e-books are a totally different type of beast, obviously. I don't mind them. I think they have a place in publishing and it will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the future.

Libbie
10-14-2009, 08:06 AM
While King makes a good point, the comparison to an iPod to an e-reader is not a straight line. I think it would be difficult to find someone who argues listening to an mp3 is less pleasurable than listening to a CD or a tape (maybe vinyl...). But you'll still find plenty of people who argue reading an e-reader is far less pleasurable than reading a real book. An unlike vinyl, which went out of style when tapes became the portable option, a book has always been portable.

And even though you might want more than one song or album to listen to during the day, you're likely to only need one book.

Good points as always, K-dogg.

Salis
10-14-2009, 08:59 AM
I'd prefer an e-reader over books if the experience was more rich.

Fact of the matter is that books still have some edges over e-books. Like someone said, cover art, and there's just something about the solidity of the thing. I say all of this as a complete technophile who can't live without a computer.

There is one thing I hate about books, though, especially the lengthy ones: they're so goddamn heavy/unwieldy.

A bigger e-reader with good, color screen while remaining light-weight, having cover art, and being cheap would sell me on the thing. All of those things are going to take a while, though. I'd say we're a number of decades out (or at least *a* decade or two) from the slow death of publishing. Tech isn't there. You could compare the current e-readers in technical sophistication to the computers of the 1980s or early 90s. They're getting there, but they're still pretty primitive.

E-paper is a fascinating idea, too. Imagine a "book" with a real, gorgeous cover and binding, with just 2-4 pages inside, which automatically change their text to the next "page" in the book when you turn them.

fringle
10-14-2009, 03:15 PM
I am a major book nerd. If it wasn't for my heavy travel schedule, I would have NEVER bought an e-reader. EVER. But, I finally caved in after years of hauling suitcases of books all around the world and paying $100/month in amazon.com shipping charges. I am now a total convert. My Kindle is my most prized possession, hands down. I do not miss reading from a paper book at all. I don't even notice that I'm using an electronic device when I'm reading from my Kindle. It's true that it "disappears in your hands."

Phaeal
10-14-2009, 04:11 PM
Right now I'd be more likely to buy a Kindle or the like to do research. Although I DO like huge unwieldy novels, and it's hard to walk and read those at the same time...

Twizzle
10-14-2009, 05:41 PM
.

And even though you might want more than one song or album to listen to during the day, you're likely to only need one book.

But, don't forget, it's not just for books. When I take my Kindle with me on errands (waiting at the drs office, for ex) it's not just a book I read. Never mind I can work by reading/working on my manuscripts or those I'm reading for my writing grp, but I catch up on blogs, newspapers, and magazines as well. It's one of the functions I love-never mind that whole not having to recycle piles and piles of paper.

TrixieLox
10-14-2009, 05:47 PM
I'm confused. Why would anything change simply because the media changed? Writers still write. Agents still agents. Editors still edit. Publishers still publish. Readers still read.

The only ones who might have problems here are the printers.

That's what I've been pondering... it's *just* another medium, right? Yes, a medium that'll probably be the most popular medium in a few years but still, why would that mean agents etc will be losing their jobs?

Twizzle
10-14-2009, 05:58 PM
That's what I've been pondering... it's *just* another medium, right? Yes, a medium that'll probably be the most popular medium in a few years but still, why would that mean agents etc will be losing their jobs?

Well, I think one of the biggest obstacles is free content. (Or even dirt cheap content.) Readers will still read, but how often will they have to pay for what they read and how much will they have/agree to pay? They'll be able to download for free and swap files, right? And want to, because e-readers would be cheap and easier to read and carry...and don't forget green.

So, let's say it becomes the most popular medium. How do publishers make money off that-money like they're making now? And writers. Who pay agents. What if they lose a sizeable chunk of their print publishing? And have to lower the prices of their e-books?

Like CC said, the publishing industry will need to reinvent itself. But, my fear is they need to speed it up a little.

Jamesaritchie
10-14-2009, 06:39 PM
I think millions and millions of good old print books are still be sold every year, and about 98% of the problems I've seen with publishers over the last five years are not from lack of sales, but from horrendously poor investments and silly loans.

I don't think anyone knows what the future holds, but it's hard to worry when so many print books are still being sold. . .far more than during the so-called "Golden Age" of publishing.

Twizzle
10-14-2009, 08:00 PM
I would hope smart business people would worry, however.

After all, successful business people tend to become successful by foreseeing the potential for change and figuring out how to create it, fuel it, and exploit it for profit-all before anyone else.

That's how the Kindle started, after all. And the Internet. And the iPhone. All cell phones, actually. The iPod and mp3. And I expect electric cars, and on and on. So, yeah. I hope someone worries, and they hurry up a little. That'd be great.

Lost World
10-14-2009, 08:19 PM
The obvious thing a print book has over a download is substance. Nothing like owning a shelf full of books, be they paperbacks from the used bookstore or hardcovers the size of phonebooks, they're something to collect and be proud of. I have no problem with a portable reader as the convenience is unbeatable, but the actual printed book will never go out of style. Outmoded, yes, but they'll stick around forever and have a fierce cult following, sort of like those who collect phonograph records. Only difference is that books will never totally stop being printed.

Williebee
10-14-2009, 08:39 PM
Here's a couple of links relating to this.

First, Digi-Novels (http://in.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idINIndia-42174520090902?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0) may be one way (but certainly not the only way ) things will go.

Second, for them to really take off, e-readers WILL need a much richer experience, including web accessibility. Perhaps something yet between an e-reader and a tablet PC?

Here's a look at some of the latest versions of e-readers (http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1929384,00.html), from Time (http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1929387,00.html).

seun
10-14-2009, 10:03 PM
At the risk of looking like a thicky...what's a kindle?

James81
10-14-2009, 10:46 PM
I think that there will always be traditional books and traditional publishing. I just think that e-readers will cut in on that market and become a major competitor to it.

I don't think paper books are doomed. I just think that they will be in decline until a balance is struck between e-readers and paper readers.

brokenfingers
10-14-2009, 10:46 PM
Hmmm, itís hard to speculate on the changes e-books may have on writing and publishing (two different things) and while I wonít speculate on the technological/convenience aspects of e-books, I have to admit Iím kinda worried about the profitability and social aspects. I see the very real potential for the same thing happening to books/reading as happened to music.

The fact is that humans arenít that difficult to predict sometimes, and if people can get something for free, they most likely will. What that means is that since your product can be so easily produced and re-produced now (no more actual books that have to be printed, physically bound and constructed, distributed, displayed at a particular place etc.), that thereís less ability for a writer (or agent or publisher) to make any money off it.

For instance: you write a stunning novel, a certifiable work of genius that sums up the human experience and makes teenagers (as an example demographic) long to be your protagonist. Instead of running out to buy your book, they now can just copy it from their friendís e-reader or download it from the million places online that rip copies (just like they do with music.)

So now, instead of one (1) high school with 200 kids possibly buying your books, you have maybe 2 people buying them and the rest copying them for free. Thatís one high school in one small city. Multiply that by all the high schools in the USA and add all the other high schools in the world, and you get a HUGE decrease in earning potential for a writer.

So, Iím inclined to believe that the more available e-books become, the less earnings writers will see. Less reprints, less print runs, less actual books sold and eventually, less e-books sold even (as people just download bootlegged copies.)

Iíve been fascinated by the paradigm shift created by the internet and the availability of music. Iíve noticed a huge divide between older members, who werenít born and raised on the internet, and younger members who have. Iíve noticed a difference in views on intellectual property and what constitutes theft.

The majority of younger people see nothing wrong with downloading something for free, whereas the older people generally regard it as wrong.

I feel, as younger people grow up with e-books becoming more available and possibly becoming the dominant form of reading, this same attitude will eventually emerge where many will feel they shouldnít have to pay for a book/story. It should be readily free to anyone who wants it.

And what will that mean for writers and storytellers who seek compensation for their hard work?

Only time will tell, I suppose.

James81
10-14-2009, 10:48 PM
Oh, and if your very investor-savvy, then you might want to consider the idea that one day, used bookstores will be a very profitable business (in the same sense that an antique shop is a profitable business). Thus, the more books you have, the more potential value you have.

Richard White
10-14-2009, 11:00 PM
As someone said, when I can get paid to read my book for a crowd the same way a rock band can get paid for performing for a crowd, THEN talk to me about how the book business and the music business are similar when it comes to electronic theft of work.

Williebee
10-14-2009, 11:15 PM
As someone said, when I can get paid to read my book for a crowd the same way a rock band can get paid for performing for a crowd, THEN talk to me about how the book business and the music business are similar when it comes to electronic theft of work.

QFT. Now, how do we capitalize on the similarities that do exist?

RG570
10-14-2009, 11:27 PM
I don't get the CD analogy at all. CDs offered a real mechanical advantage over the previous media.

Ebooks and a model that destroys quality control in favour of "democratized" amateurish internet based BS offers no advantage to the consumer. There is almost no benefit, except that you can carry a billion books on a flash drive. While that's a big deal, I don't think it's big enough to destroy paper. For the sake of thousands of forestry workers, I sure as hell hope not. You can't get an autograph on a download, either. Consumers aren't THAT stupid. They know the limitations of this unfortunate push to digitize every single aspect of the world.

Besides, more and more new bands are releasing albums in vinyl. You can't download a vinyl record. People must be buying them somewhere.

People are never right about these predictions. Never. SF authors try it all the time, speculators try it all the time with money and it never works. If this horrible model does come to pass, it's because we keep stressing over it and create a self-fulfilling prophecy just because Stephen King wrote about it.

DeadlyAccurate
10-15-2009, 12:36 AM
At the risk of looking like a thicky...what's a kindle?

Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015T963C/ref=ms_sbrspot_1?pf_rd_p=494081091&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=507846&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=00ZD82T5NNVPMGCAX8JP)

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 01:10 AM
Wait, wait, wait, all this is a bad thing?

The sooner this commercial cultural industry dies, the sooner we'll have real literature again with higher quality. The death of the music industry, lamented with cries of "where will the quality go?" has been accompanied by a great resurgence of music. I know many musicians now who are cutting out interesting and fulfilling careers who are no longer industry serfs. And quality? Seriously (http://www.amazon.com/Arguing-Idiots-Small-Minds-Government/dp/1416595015/ref=pd_ts_zgc_b_books_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&pf_rd_p=475709271&pf_rd_s=right-3&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=283155&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=09FG5PWXFW5PXFQ3WHFD)?

Let the rotting corpse of the book industry fertilize an era where quality will rise or fall on its own merit and we'll have a real golden age of literature. Where geniuses like this guy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Hoff) can go where their intuition and talent takes them, instead of trodding the narrow path their corporate bureaucrats drag them down.

THE INDUSTRY adds no value. More likely, it detracts value, and for that we throw money at them. I say it's time for new models that cut the vultures out. Personally, the romantic in me says art and culture should be made freely and supported by choice by those who love it. Some artists are giving ebooks for free and creating a variety of nice art products for those who want to support. Like this guy (http://www.zachplague.com/). His awesome book is largely available free, but you can buy CDs, posters, books (go figure) and etc. What a cool model!

Anyway, don't fret, I'm sure THE INDUSTRY will always be here, pillaging artists for profit. But these days artists are finding new ways to live on their own terms....

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 01:19 AM
BTW, good editors and creative staff will always be around. Despite what Mr. King says, people who are serious about selling their novels are going to want them edited. If THE INDUSTRY dies, good editors and creative staff will probably be better off. Hell, they could form cooperatives for security and not give the lion's share of their money away to management! They need not lose any sleep.

But yes, your silver-spoon publisher's sons and daughters might have to start calling themselves "philanthropists" at cocktail parties, instead of "editors" or "writers."

Richard White
10-15-2009, 01:22 AM
Never heard of him.

Sure, if you're a fan of his, you can buy the posters, t-shirts and stuff. I made posters and t-shirts and stuff for my self-published comic. Self-promotion is great if people have heard of you. Otherwise, you're selling stuff like that one customer at a time.

Me, I'd rather be writing and getting paid for it.

In fact, I like getting paid for my work, whether it's tech writing, playing guitar in a coffee shop or writing short stories/novels.

Let others give it away for free. I like checks that don't bounce, thank you.

And like I said, you can't compare the music industry to the book industry. Completely different economic models.

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 01:27 AM
Never heard of him.

Sure, if you're a fan of his, you can buy the posters, t-shirts and stuff. I made posters and t-shirts and stuff for my self-published comic. Self-promotion is great if people have heard of you. Otherwise, you're selling stuff like that one customer at a time.

Me, I'd rather be writing and getting paid for it.

In fact, I like getting paid for my work, whether it's tech writing, playing guitar in a coffee shop or writing short stories/novels.

Let others give it away for free. I like checks that don't bounce, thank you.

And like I said, you can't compare the music industry to the book industry. Completely different economic models.

Touche.

I think to have quality, you MUST have a system that allows artists to MAKE A LIVING. The current system does not really do that. If you're supporting the current system, you're not REALLY supporting "getting paid for writing." You're supporting the right to say "hey, I'm a 'professional' writer."

It's unlikely you've heard of many of my favorite writers. Most of the "quality" writers I read are published by small presses like featherproof. They are the people figuring out how to really get paid to make art.

aadams73
10-15-2009, 01:29 AM
The sooner this commercial cultural industry dies, the sooner we'll have real literature again with higher quality.

So...all the great books I've been reading lately aren't real literature with high quality? Interesting.

scarletpeaches
10-15-2009, 01:30 AM
You're not clever enough to have heard of all the quality writers, y'see.

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 01:33 AM
As someone said, when I can get paid to read my book for a crowd the same way a rock band can get paid for performing for a crowd, THEN talk to me about how the book business and the music business are similar when it comes to electronic theft of work.

Bang (http://sleepwalkwithmike.com/). It's time, bud.

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 01:36 AM
So...all the great books I've been reading lately aren't real literature with high quality? Interesting.
No no no, please don't do that to me. I know I'm pushing a risky point here, playing devil's advocate, but I think it's an important discussion to have.

You and I are saying the same thing.

My point is that "quality" is subjective.

One of my favorite reads is Jacket Magazine, which is well regarded but entirely volunteer. I don't take kindly to King's accusation that Jacket isn't "quality."

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 01:38 AM
You're not clever enough to have heard of all the quality writers, y'see.

Right, popular=quality. You're right. Britney Spears=WAY better quality than Pablo Casals.

TereLiz
10-15-2009, 01:42 AM
Someone mentioned above that the e-book craze won't reach maximum insanity until the price of a good reader is affordable and I agree.

The success of the novel coincided with the rise of the middle class, whereby the growing bourgeoisie had the time and the wherewithal to buy books that were not only diverting, but affordable in comparison to the astronomical costs that printing an entire book entailed in previous centuries.

While I for one will never be able to give up my proper books, I certainly do want a Kindle/Sony Reader. I just have to wait until I can afford it.;)

scarletpeaches
10-15-2009, 01:43 AM
Right, popular=quality. You're right. Britney Spears=WAY better quality than Pablo Casals.Um...could you show me where I said that?

You were the one who said we needed real literature of higher quality again. aadams73 took that to mean the books she's read recently (some on my recommendation) were not quality.

Whenever I hear someone decrying the industry or talking up so-called new methods of selling books, I switch off because nine times out of ten it's someone who's been burned by the industry.

Way I see it is, the way things are just now is a protection for the reader. The more hoops you have to jump through to get published, the better. The easier it is to get published, the further quality will drop because there's no-one for the writers to answer to.

I guess that means I agree with King. Whoopsy.

Jamesaritchie
10-15-2009, 01:45 AM
[QUOTE=Michael J. Hoag;4147640]Wait, wait, wait, all this is a bad thing?

The sooner this commercial cultural industry dies, the sooner we'll have real literature again with higher quality. The death of the music industry, lamented with cries of "where will the quality go?" has been accompanied by a great resurgence of music. I know many musicians now who are cutting out interesting and fulfilling careers who are no longer industry serfs. And quality? Seriously (http://www.amazon.com/Arguing-Idiots-Small-Minds-Government/dp/1416595015/ref=pd_ts_zgc_b_books_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&pf_rd_p=475709271&pf_rd_s=right-3&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=283155&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=09FG5PWXFW5PXFQ3WHFD)?

QUOTE]

I think you need some history lessons. Real literature AGAIN???? Even Shakespeare wrote for money.

I know many don't like to believe it, but where there is no money, tehre is no quality. Ever.

As for the Glen Beck book, have you read it? It's pretty darned good.

But for every bad book or bad piece of mucis the commercial industry produces, the non-commercial sector produces at least five thousand pieces of utter drivel.

As for Benjamin Hoff, good luck and good riddance.

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 01:56 AM
Um...could you show me where I said that?

You were the one who said we needed real literature of higher quality again. aadams73 took that to mean the books she's read recently (some on my recommendation) were not quality.

Whenever I hear someone decrying the industry or talking up so-called new methods of selling books, I switch off because nine times out of ten it's someone who's been burned by the industry.

Way I see it is, the way things are just now is a protection for the reader. The more hoops you have to jump through to get published, the better. The easier it is to get published, the further quality will drop because there's no-one for the writers to answer to.

I guess that means I agree with King. Whoopsy.

"So-called." I hate to bust it to you, but there's this thing called the internet....

Look, technology is changing the potential for story-telling media. Straight-up. You can shoot the messenger by putting silly "so calleds" around the rapid development of technology, but it doesn't change that technology is purring away...

Well, I haven't been burned by the industry as a writer, but I've been burned by the industry as a reader. When great writers with a lot to say, like Benjamin Hoff can't get interesting book ideas published because they don't follow some corporate recipe for success, that's a burn. When Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance can't find anything but a small publisher after a gizillion rejections, that's a burn. When Carol Maso can't publish an amazing and ground-breaking book like AVA in the bigs, that's a burn.

But the very idea of a market contains the same protection for consumers that you speak of.

An overbearing and monopolistic industry, however, creates barriers to innovation by encouraging "smart by numbers" formulas for success.

I guess what I'm saying is some diversity and real capitalist competition can only be good. I don't see how anyone can disagree...

scarletpeaches
10-15-2009, 02:01 AM
If all these amazing books you cite can't achieve publication, so what? You've still heard of them. You've still read them, I assume?

I'll stick with 'smart by numbers'. Don't see how anyone can disagree? Because some don't see the industry as smothering talent. Some see it as encouraging higher standards.

If Benjamin Hoff wants to throw his dollies out of the pram, I for one won't miss him. There are plenty other writers out there to entertain me.

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 02:01 AM
[QUOTE=Michael J. Hoag;4147640]Wait, wait, wait, all this is a bad thing?

The sooner this commercial cultural industry dies, the sooner we'll have real literature again with higher quality. The death of the music industry, lamented with cries of "where will the quality go?" has been accompanied by a great resurgence of music. I know many musicians now who are cutting out interesting and fulfilling careers who are no longer industry serfs. And quality? Seriously (http://www.amazon.com/Arguing-Idiots-Small-Minds-Government/dp/1416595015/ref=pd_ts_zgc_b_books_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&pf_rd_p=475709271&pf_rd_s=right-3&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=283155&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=09FG5PWXFW5PXFQ3WHFD)?

QUOTE]

I think you need some history lessons. Real literature AGAIN???? Even Shakespeare wrote for money.

I know many don't like to believe it, but where there is no money, tehre is no quality. Ever.

As for the Glen Beck book, have you read it? It's pretty darned good.

But for every bad book or bad piece of mucis the commercial industry produces, the non-commercial sector produces at least five thousand pieces of utter drivel.

As for Benjamin Hoff, good luck and good riddance.
But first you need a reading lesson, LOL, because you didn't read what I said. And before that, we need to take out some of the vitriol from this discussion! Sheesh!

I am all for people getting paid. I never said otherwise, so save your history lesson, I mostly agree (though I'm a fan of Joyce who basically self-published and Twain who made more money from performing etc...)

As for Glen Beck, I personally think he's absolutely insane. Linking to him was a personal bias, I admit. Again, quality is subjective.

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 02:16 AM
Run away!!! LOL.

I'll admit, I was harsh. There's nothing wrong with writers who want to publish in the bigs, and there's nothing wrong with reading that hopeless drivel.;) <-----this is a joke.

But I have hope that a dying publishing industry will create room for more competition. That's what's happened with the music industry. Now, musicians are building audience, creating a fan base and finding more fulfilling careers. I hope the same can happen to literature. If corporate publishing recedes, consumers will feel free to look elsewhere (like the internet) for their reading material. I HOPE that more competition will be a good thing.

Anyway, I HOPE to make some significant money (though I love my day job) for all the work I put into writing. But I won't be losing sleep over this dying industry. Ha ha, I'm leaving now, so go easy on me, eh? Hugs and kisses, all.

Mike

Run away!

Toothpaste
10-15-2009, 02:31 AM
Run away!!! LOL.

I'll admit, I was harsh. There's nothing wrong with writers who want to publish in the bigs, and there's nothing wrong with reading that hopeless drivel.;)




Dude. Some of us are published with the bigs. I get what you're saying, but can you do it without the insults please? (even with a winky face, I don't think the statement was required in the first place)

willietheshakes
10-15-2009, 02:47 AM
I'll admit, I was harsh. There's nothing wrong with writers who want to publish in the bigs, and there's nothing wrong with reading that hopeless drivel.;)


Right, I was willing to tolerate the ill-informed, knee-jerk trolling up to this point, but right here? You lost me.

No. You pissed me off.

And it's only because I would prefer not to be suspended from the board that I'm not actually responding.

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 02:52 AM
Apology removed.

willietheshakes
10-15-2009, 02:57 AM
You might have intended it to be self-deprecating, but mocking your taste in reading material is vastly different from insulting the work of a number of people on this board, as well as insulting the hopes and aspirations of the vast majority here.

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 03:07 AM
Apology removed.

lucidzfl
10-15-2009, 03:18 AM
What this is, is a reluctance to let go of "the old way". The problem is, corporate suits don't have a clue how to handle change, and at every step of the way, instead of embracing the change, and using it to their advantage, the tread more and more water, all the while sinking deeper and deeper. Then complain when they're bankrupt.

I'm sorry but they're idiots and they need to get out of the way and let innovators in.

And don't you cry for king. If big name publishers all went tits up, and every book was burned, he'd still be a best selling author on kindle or mac's iReads service (Not in existence, YET)

Product is product. Consumers want product. Consolidation and monopolization of "the bigs" is what has been slowly killing the indie industry anyway.

If internet distribution and VOD were the only form of major release and you didn't have advertising lobbies working with distribution chains like cinemark, etc, transformers WOULDNT do as good, and farking hurt locker WOULD do better.

(Also, thats a piss poor comparison. Hurt Locker had no name brand actors in it and talked about diffusing bombs in Iraq, not exactly something a lot of americans want to even think about right now. And yes, transformers was fox-tits and things-go-boom. Stephen King shouldn't be throwing stones in his glass house because how many authors have written brilliant, deep pieces of work, for every I-shat-this-out-for-a-paycheck-coz-you-idiots-will-buy-anything-i-write has HE done....)

Sorry, rant off.

Delhomeboy
10-15-2009, 03:23 AM
Not to mention when everyone publishes their book, no one will read it, because they're too busy publishing their book.

Hoag said that the re-structuring of the music industry has allowed more artists to get chances than every before...and while that's true, their comes a point of critical mass, where SO many new artists are getting chances that NO ONE is being listened too...there are a lot of great bands out there, sure, but I've heard of none of them. And sure, I haven't done my research, but that's the point, isn't it? People still only make it big in music if their name gets out to a larger, specified platform. I recently discovered the band Arcade Fire from a movie trailer. But most of these bands simply cannot get their names out there because there are so many OTHER bands already on the market.

And it will just simply worse in the book industry, if the publishing paradigm is shifted because of these damned e-readers, then EVERYONE will publish a book...at least it requires some dedication and experience to be a musician. Writing requires nothing, save a little time at the keyboard. Good writing does, but not simply writing. So we'll have everyone on the planet who gets an inkling to publish a book doing so, with little to know gatekeepers, and, odds are, no one's going to read anything.


EDIT: Oh, and on the subject, E-readers are not "green," guys. A large rectangular piece of plastic and silicon that will konk out in five years, at which point it will sit in a landfill for, quite literally, forever, is not a green item.

BlackBriar
10-15-2009, 03:25 AM
I'd prefer an e-reader over books if the experience was more rich.

Fact of the matter is that books still have some edges over e-books. Like someone said, cover art, and there's just something about the solidity of the thing. I say all of this as a complete technophile who can't live without a computer.

There is one thing I hate about books, though, especially the lengthy ones: they're so goddamn heavy/unwieldy.

A bigger e-reader with good, color screen while remaining light-weight, having cover art, and being cheap would sell me on the thing. All of those things are going to take a while, though. I'd say we're a number of decades out (or at least *a* decade or two) from the slow death of publishing. Tech isn't there. You could compare the current e-readers in technical sophistication to the computers of the 1980s or early 90s. They're getting there, but they're still pretty primitive.

E-paper is a fascinating idea, too. Imagine a "book" with a real, gorgeous cover and binding, with just 2-4 pages inside, which automatically change their text to the next "page" in the book when you turn them.

Something like this (http://gizmodo.com/5380942/exclusive-first-photos-of-barnes--nobles-double-screen-e+reader)? ;)

Also, as an ebook reader owner (Sony Reader PRS-300), I can tell you that the tech is there. I enjoy reading ebooks, and the only thing I am missing is a light for reading in the dark. Also, you should be careful when making predictions about how long the tech will be there. Those predictions tend to end nastily nowadays.


I don't get the CD analogy at all. CDs offered a real mechanical advantage over the previous media.

Ebooks and a model that destroys quality control in favour of "democratized" amateurish internet based BS offers no advantage to the consumer. There is almost no benefit, except that you can carry a billion books on a flash drive. While that's a big deal, I don't think it's big enough to destroy paper. For the sake of thousands of forestry workers, I sure as hell hope not. You can't get an autograph on a download, either. Consumers aren't THAT stupid. They know the limitations of this unfortunate push to digitize every single aspect of the world.

Besides, more and more new bands are releasing albums in vinyl. You can't download a vinyl record. People must be buying them somewhere.

People are never right about these predictions. Never. SF authors try it all the time, speculators try it all the time with money and it never works. If this horrible model does come to pass, it's because we keep stressing over it and create a self-fulfilling prophecy just because Stephen King wrote about it.

Wow, where to start.

People are never right about these predictions? Really? You do know there are those who said the iPod would fail right?

"Consumers aren't THAT stupid. They know the limitations of this unfortunate push to digitize every single aspect of the world."

And guess what, with drm'ed music, you aren't allowed to do everything you can with a physical copy. Guess what? iTunes and Amazon Mp3 store are doing pretty well.

People are buying vinyl. I never met one who had vinyl and last time I checked, all of my friends listen to music...but yeah, people are buying them...somewhere. ;)

Also, why do CDs and Mp3s have to be enemies? I would be willing to be on a large number of Cd buyers also having mp3 players. So why should ebooks and hard copies be in competition? Yes, I have an ebook reader, but that hasn't stopped me from buying hard copies. Course if the ebook prices were a bit cheaper... Well, personally I think they can get along quite well. And hard copies do have the benefit of being tangible. You can touch it, you have good cover art, you can get it signed. So I agree with you on a few things.

Also, authors should really support ebooks. This is what an unnamed and popular author said when he visited the AW chat. I don't think he would mind me posting.


(10:15:36 PM) CupofDice: is the profit margin for authors better with ebooks like the Kindle?
(10:15:52 PM) Anon: @ Cup - yes.
(10:16:17 PM) Anon: I make 60 cents on a $7.99 paperback sale. $2.75 on a hardcover sale.
(10:16:29 PM) Anon: on a $1.99 Kindle sale, I make 70 cents

Looks pretty good for authors to me.

PS- I am not one of those who thinks the publishing industry needs 'democratization'. Haven't really given it much though to be honest. I am just a happy ebook reader owner. :D

lucidzfl
10-15-2009, 03:28 AM
Not to mention when everyone publishes their book, no one will read it, because they're too busy publishing their book.

Hoag said that the re-structuring of the music industry has allowed more artists to get chances than every before...and while that's true, their comes a point of critical mass, where SO many new artists are getting chances that NO ONE is being listened too...there are a lot of great bands out there, sure, but I've heard of none of them. And sure, I haven't done my research, but that's the point, isn't it? People still only make it big in music if their name gets out to a larger, specified platform. I recently discovered the band Arcade Fire from a movie trailer. But most of these bands simply cannot get their names out there because there are so many OTHER bands already on the market.

And it will just simply worse in the book industry, if the publishing paradigm is shifted because of these damned e-readers, then EVERYONE will publish a book...at least it requires some dedication and experience to be a musician. Writing requires nothing, save a little time at the keyboard. Good writing does, but not simply writing. So we'll have everyone on the planet who gets an inkling to publish a book doing so, with little to know gatekeepers, and, odds are, no one's going to read anything.

And this is the paradigm shift. Whereas before someone would get published and rely on marketing to be done completely outside of their control, more and more people are doing self marketing (in addition to standard publisher marketing).

Blogs are an interesting microcosm of this concept. Yes, every fucking douchebag on the net has started a blog. How many keep up with them? How many of them are good? How many of them are pertinent? How many of them have recurring visitors.

I would bet that as you move down that list the number of the rest of those values increases.

Sure a gazillion people might write books, but when a gazillion - 1 aren't read by anyone, whats the odds of them trying again. Word of mouth, water cooler success, THIS is the new way of advertising. Look at the stupid ass new movie paranormal activity.

They had no marketing budget. It was complete word of mouth. Blair witch project did it years ago.

As I said, people have to start thinking FORWARD. TV advertising, banner ads, just getting your book on a shelf with an isbn, does not cut it any more.

The people who figure it out will survive.

lucidzfl
10-15-2009, 03:30 AM
All I'm going to say to this is, with the prevelance of solid state drives, massive cheap space on mp3 players and the increasing amount of bluetooth stuff out there, soon cds are gone gone gone.


Something like this (http://gizmodo.com/5380942/exclusive-first-photos-of-barnes--nobles-double-screen-e+reader)? ;)

Also, as an ebook reader owner (Sony Reader PRS-300), I can tell you that the tech is there. I enjoy reading ebooks, and the only thing I am missing is a light for reading in the dark. Also, you should be careful when making predictions about how long the tech will be there. Those predictions tend to end nastily nowadays.



Wow, where to start.

People are never right about these predictions? Really? You do know there are those who said the iPod would fail right?

"Consumers aren't THAT stupid. They know the limitations of this unfortunate push to digitize every single aspect of the world."

And guess what, with drm'ed music, you aren't allowed to do everything you can with a physical copy. Guess what? iTunes and Amazon Mp3 store are doing pretty well.

People are buying vinyl. I never met one who had vinyl and last time I checked, all of my friends listen to music...but yeah, people are buying them...somewhere. ;)

Also, why do CDs and Mp3s have to be enemies? I would be willing to be on a large number of Cd buyers also having mp3 players. So why should ebooks and hard copies be in competition? Yes, I have an ebook reader, but that hasn't stopped me from buying hard copies. Course if the ebook prices were a bit cheaper... Well, personally I think they can get along quite well. And hard copies do have the benefit of being tangible. You can touch it, you have good cover art, you can get it signed. So I agree with you on a few things.

Also, authors should really support ebooks. This is what an unnamed and popular author said when he visited the AW chat. I don't think he would mind me posting.



Looks pretty good for authors to me.

PS- I am not one of those who thinks the publishing industry needs 'democratization'. Haven't really given it much though to be honest. I am just a happy ebook reader owner. :D

BlackBriar
10-15-2009, 03:35 AM
Not to mention when everyone publishes their book, no one will read it, because they're too busy publishing their book.

The same as saying that we, as AW writers, don't read books cause we are too busy writing.


Hoag said that the re-structuring of the music industry has allowed more artists to get chances than every before...and while that's true, their comes a point of critical mass, where SO many new artists are getting chances that NO ONE is being listened too...there are a lot of great bands out there, sure, but I've heard of none of them. And sure, I haven't done my research, but that's the point, isn't it? People still only make it big in music if their name gets out to a larger, specified platform. I recently discovered the band Arcade Fire from a movie trailer. But most of these bands simply cannot get their names out there because there are so many OTHER bands already on the market.

Bad example. Arcade Fire, last time I checked, had quite a good bit of advertisement on VH1 and I believe MTV. Also, there is youtube. Still, some kinks need to be worked out, but they are being worked out. Not to mention music magazines, and sites like last.fm and pandora.com.

And once again, your argument that these bands can't make it cause there are so many other bands is redundant. I can say the same for the traditional publishing industry.


And it will just simply worse in the book industry, if the publishing paradigm is shifted because of these damned e-readers, then EVERYONE will publish a book...at least it requires some dedication and experience to be a musician. Writing requires nothing, save a little time at the keyboard. Good writing does, but not simply writing. So we'll have everyone on the planet who gets an inkling to publish a book doing so, with little to know gatekeepers, and, odds are, no one's going to read anything.

Guess what? The kindle has been out for a while and your worst fears have not yet come to pass. And for you to say that 'writing requires nothing' is an insult to yourself, me, and all of us. I can also say that 'hey! I don't need to take guitar lessons to flick some strings'. Last time I checked, you don't need a degree in playing music to make an album either.

One more thing, there are online sites like Amazon and B&N. They have reviews which basically end up aggregating suggestions of what you should read. Your argument seems to be based on the misguided belief that readers are simply too stupid to find a good book in their preferred genre?

Personally, on account of being a reader myself, I have a bit more faith in my fellow readers that they won't start reading crap en masse just cause it's out there.

Richard White
10-15-2009, 03:36 AM
I have nothing against e-books. My first Star Trek story was a e-book (should be coming out in paper copy next year *fingers crossed*).

However, my Star Trek e-book has also been pirated the hell out of, so I'll never see any money from those sites for that story. Information wants to be free, but writers like to be paid, thank you.

Hell, my Gauntlet novel was also converted into an e-book. The books still being sold as an e-book even though the publisher went bankrupt. I'm certainly not seeing any royalties for all those sales either. (Actually, I'd love to know who Amazon or Fictionwise is turning the money for that over to . . . ?)

My objection is the idea that I should just do it for the love and give it away, praying I can get a good patron to support my writing habit.

I think that went out with Rembrandt or Michelangelo. (And yes, I'm being facetious)

BlackBriar
10-15-2009, 03:38 AM
The people who figure it out will survive.

*nods* http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158729 Similar to what you are talking about.

Delhomeboy
10-15-2009, 03:40 AM
The same as saying that we, as AW writers, don't read books cause we are too busy writing.



Guess what? The kindle has been out for a while and your worst fears have not yet come to pass. And for you to say that 'writing requires nothing' is an insult to yourself, me, and all of us. I can also say that 'hey! I don't need to take guitar lessons to flick some strings'. Last time I checked, you don't need a degree in playing music to make an album either.

Writing does require nothing, except TIME. But ALL of us can write, starting at about the fifth grade, when we're forced to do it for long stretches of time. Now, to right well is another subject. It would be an insult to all of us if I said writing well requires nothing but time. Because we know that's not true.

And you're right, my fears haven't come to pass and, frankly, I don't think they will for a long, long time. But if you see Kindles in the hands of everyone in america and printing does go the way of the dinosaur? Well...we'll see.




Personally, on account of being a reader myself, I have a bit more faith in my fellow readers that they won't start reading crap en masse just cause it's out there.

You're right. That's what I was saying. they won't read crap. They'll just end up reading nothing.

lucidzfl
10-15-2009, 03:45 AM
Ask Playboy how the print industry is working out.

Like it or not, Porn is one of the few truly innovative industries. I could point to dozens of advances in technology in the last 20 years directly related to porn. FWIW, they're always on the forefront of web, digital, and video technology.


Writing does require nothing, except TIME. But ALL of us can write, starting at about the fifth grade, when we're forced to do it for long stretches of time. Now, to right well is another subject. It would be an insult to all of us if I said writing well requires nothing but time. Because we know that's not true.

And you're right, my fears haven't come to pass and, frankly, I don't think they will for a long, long time. But if you see Kindles in the hands of everyone in america and printing does go the way of the dinosaur? Well...we'll see.





You're right. That's what I was saying. they won't read crap. They'll just end up reading nothing.

BlackBriar
10-15-2009, 03:46 AM
Writing does require nothing, except TIME. But ALL of us can write, starting at about the fifth grade, when we're forced to do it for long stretches of time. Now, to right well is another subject. It would be an insult to all of us if I said writing well requires nothing but time. Because we know that's not true.

And you're right, my fears haven't come to pass and, frankly, I don't think they will for a long, long time. But if you see Kindles in the hands of everyone in america and printing does go the way of the dinosaur? Well...we'll see.





You're right. That's what I was saying. they won't read crap. They'll just end up reading nothing.

Ah, I meant to remove that 'insult' part, since I decided that you were right about that.

About your last statement, I think you missed the part that we already have safe guards against that. Amazon, B&N, and other online book sellers who allow reviews. Personally, I rather trust the opinion of a fellow reader (even better, loads of them) than the publishers themselves. Just like with everything else.

Delhomeboy
10-15-2009, 03:48 AM
Ask Playboy how the print industry is working out.



Eh, I'd chalk Playboy's woes more up to the fact that random women baring their breasts is not as...ah...titillating as it was back in 1950, when there was no internet porn, or VHS porn, or DVD porn...but I wouldn't say playboy is a microcosm of the industry as a whole.

lucidzfl
10-15-2009, 04:03 AM
Eh, I'd chalk Playboy's woes more up to the fact that random women baring their breasts is not as...ah...titillating as it was back in 1950, when there was no internet porn, or VHS porn, or DVD porn...but I wouldn't say playboy is a microcosm of the industry as a whole.

It was a broad example. Print porn is in the, pardon, shitter.

There was a story on cnn about how porn as a whole is not doing bad and not taking a hit, but because of internet sites, subscription services, and toy sales, they're doing fine. But print, etc is dead baby, dead.

Here again though, porn is an innovator. They embraced the internet. The concept of the "porn star" is slowly dying too.

Why pay top dollar for a used up 30+ year old Jenna Jameson, when you can get an FOB Hungarian 19 year old goddess for 500 bucks and she pays for her own plane ticket?

Porn has adapted, and thus, will survive, and flourish.

(FYI: A lot of the older (25+) porn stars, who find themselves too expensive for doing actual porn, are now basically escorts riding on their past names)

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 04:11 AM
It was a broad example. Print porn is in the, pardon, shitter.

There was a story on cnn about how porn as a whole is not doing bad and not taking a hit, but because of internet sites, subscription services, and toy sales, they're doing fine. But print, etc is dead baby, dead.

Here again though, porn is an innovator. They embraced the internet. The concept of the "porn star" is slowly dying too.

Why pay top dollar for a used up 30+ year old Jenna Jameson, when you can get an FOB Hungarian 19 year old goddess for 500 bucks and she pays for her own plane ticket?

Porn has adapted, and thus, will survive, and flourish.

(FYI: A lot of the older (25+) porn stars, who find themselves too expensive for doing actual porn, are now basically escorts riding on their past names)
This is a great example of what I hope DOESN'T happen with publishing: writers as FOB Hungarian 19-year-olds. I'd rather see the equivalent to DIY pay sites. That's coming. Let the writer choose.

HelloKiddo
10-15-2009, 04:36 AM
But I have hope that a dying publishing industry will create room for more competition. That's what's happened with the music industry. Now, musicians are building audience, creating a fan base and finding more fulfilling careers. I hope the same can happen to literature. If corporate publishing recedes, consumers will feel free to look elsewhere (like the internet) for their reading material. I HOPE that more competition will be a good thing.

I'm not trying to argue with you too much here Mike, but is this really what's happening in music today? I'm not aware of any small-time artists finding a large fan base on the internet, and if they did they'd still be a minority.

I have no doubt this is happening somewhere, but honestly it's always happened somewhere. Artists still stand on the streets on New York City rapping and selling their homemade CDs to pedestrians. And writers in San Francisco used to sell their books and poetry on the streets during the 1960s counterculture revolution. That's a fact.

But most buyers still look on iTunes, Rhapsody and sites of that ilk for their music--major industry-controlled sites. It's not safe to just download from anywhere, consumers avoid that. They flock to trusted sites. And they probably will for ebooks too.

But maybe you have a point. Let's be positive. This might bring up some new talent.

Toothpaste
10-15-2009, 06:01 AM
I'll tell you my issue with this whole cutting out the middle man thing. I worry that the authors who will rise to the top will be the ones who are tech savvy, who have a degree in PR, who know how to publicise their work. They won't necessarily be the authors who are good writers. It might not be about the writing now (though I'm not sure I agree), but I don't think it will be about the writing without the publishers either.

I'm an author. I write stuff. I do my best to promote, but I am not as savvy as say a JA Konrath. I learn, I try, but it's really darn hard for me. It's a hell of a lot of work. The reason I have an agent and a publisher is so that I don't have to do as much of that stuff. If we all become our own versions of indy bands, I'm not sure I can survive. Not because I don't have the goods as an artist, but because I might not have what it takes at self promotion.

katiemac
10-15-2009, 06:27 AM
But, don't forget, it's not just for books. When I take my Kindle with me on errands (waiting at the drs office, for ex) it's not just a book I read. Never mind I can work by reading/working on my manuscripts or those I'm reading for my writing grp, but I catch up on blogs, newspapers, and magazines as well. It's one of the functions I love-never mind that whole not having to recycle piles and piles of paper.

I know. I intentionally left out the blogs and newspaper and other reading you can do on an e-reader/smart phone because the OP and King's post referred to books. I think e-readers are great for this and educational purposes. I think the textbook industry is going to go this way before fiction does.

Michael J. Hoag
10-15-2009, 06:47 AM
I'll tell you my issue with this whole cutting out the middle man thing. I worry that the authors who will rise to the top will be the ones who are tech savvy, who have a degree in PR, who know how to publicise their work. They won't necessarily be the authors who are good writers. It might not be about the writing now (though I'm not sure I agree), but I don't think it will be about the writing without the publishers either.

I'm an author. I write stuff. I do my best to promote, but I am not as savvy as say a JA Konrath. I learn, I try, but it's really darn hard for me. It's a hell of a lot of work. The reason I have an agent and a publisher is so that I don't have to do as much of that stuff. If we all become our own versions of indy bands, I'm not sure I can survive. Not because I don't have the goods as an artist, but because I might not have what it takes at self promotion.

Hmm... That seems an interesting and valid fear.

As to Indy artists who've found a wide audience (helped by the internet and a lot of leg work.) On the top end of this scale:

Mindless Self Indulgence (http://www.mindlessselfindulgence.com/). An internet and performance sensation. Started out in the Indies, now they self-produce and sell their records to larger distributors on a per/printing basis while retaining artistic control.

Ani Difranco (http://www.righteousbabe.com/), a feminist icon who's always cut her records on her own label.

Meredith Monk (http://www.meredithmonk.org/), a classical composer/performer/multimedia artist who's made her career outside the traditional classical industry. Huge internet following goes to her performances, buys her cds, movies and so on.

But I could also name many, many others. I'm a classical musician and I've seen an explosion of performers making a good living performing at the same time the industry is in a notoriously sorry state. It used to be a few big houses, a few big record companies and a few big symphonies were the only game in town for a performing career. Now, there are a lot of talented musicians putting together small ensembles and making a good living. And they report higher job satisfaction (http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:f3OTCUUO8ykJ:www.polyphonic.org/harmony/2/Stress_Discontent_Levine.pdf+New+york+times+small+ ensemble+musicians+happier+than+symphony&hl=en&gl=us&sig=AFQjCNG5jdck6K_pTrAP0zEW_a4Ow_tgSg) (lazy link, pardon...) than musicians in the "bigs" for reasons that will sound familiar to writers...

On the rock side, there has also been an explosion of Indy artists making a decent living. I have several good friends in this position, who probably wouldn't have been able to find a large enough audience to live on just 15 years ago. Yay internet.

At the same time, the record companies are hurting, but U2 is doing just fine, and their music still kicks ass.

This would be an ideal situation for publishing, IMO: Toothpaste can stay where she's happy but have other options to leverage her publisher with. ;)

Sean D. Schaffer
10-15-2009, 07:27 AM
While King makes a good point, the comparison to an iPod to an e-reader is not a straight line. I think it would be difficult to find someone who argues listening to an mp3 is less pleasurable than listening to a CD or a tape (maybe vinyl...). But you'll still find plenty of people who argue reading an e-reader is far less pleasurable than reading a real book. An unlike vinyl, which went out of style when tapes became the portable option, a book has always been portable.

And even though you might want more than one song or album to listen to during the day, you're likely to only need one book.


On an interesting side note, vinyl records seem to be coming back. One of our local stores (Fred Meyer) sells them brand-new in their music department, along with several different models of turntables.

The point is, even if these electronic means of reading books become the most popular method to read, I rather doubt that the printed book will ever die out completely and will probably come back to relative popularity at a later time. Like the old saying goes, "Everything old is new again." What was in-style forty years ago, and went out of style thirty years ago, has many times become popular in recent years. If it can happen with records, it can happen with the printed book.

lucidzfl
10-15-2009, 07:06 PM
I'll tell you my issue with this whole cutting out the middle man thing. I worry that the authors who will rise to the top will be the ones who are tech savvy, who have a degree in PR, who know how to publicise their work. They won't necessarily be the authors who are good writers. It might not be about the writing now (though I'm not sure I agree), but I don't think it will be about the writing without the publishers either.

I'm an author. I write stuff. I do my best to promote, but I am not as savvy as say a JA Konrath. I learn, I try, but it's really darn hard for me. It's a hell of a lot of work. The reason I have an agent and a publisher is so that I don't have to do as much of that stuff. If we all become our own versions of indy bands, I'm not sure I can survive. Not because I don't have the goods as an artist, but because I might not have what it takes at self promotion.

If their writing was god awful it wouldn't make it to the top... Plenty of not-too-talented writers have made it "to the top"

There will still be James Patterson's and Dan Brown's. Not sure how its much different, only the skillset will have changed..

BlackBriar
10-15-2009, 08:16 PM
There's no turning back now...

http://www.engadget.com/2009/10/15/google-clarifies-plans-for-google-editions-ebook-store-launching/

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gr_qJI9KI8h7PBC-AEeknD3ezkegD9BBHAT80

How many people use google? Yeah, exactly. :D

willietheshakes
10-15-2009, 08:18 PM
Hmm... That seems an interesting and valid fear.

As to Indy artists who've found a wide audience (helped by the internet and a lot of leg work.) On the top end of this scale:

Mindless Self Indulgence (http://www.mindlessselfindulgence.com/). An internet and performance sensation. Started out in the Indies, now they self-produce and sell their records to larger distributors on a per/printing basis while retaining artistic control.

Ani Difranco (http://www.righteousbabe.com/), a feminist icon who's always cut her records on her own label.

Meredith Monk (http://www.meredithmonk.org/), a classical composer/performer/multimedia artist who's made her career outside the traditional classical industry. Huge internet following goes to her performances, buys her cds, movies and so on.


I hate to quibble (well, no, actually I don't), but I don't think these three "top" examples actually support your point. At least two (DiFranco and Monk) had significant and lengthy careers PRIOR to the internet revolution. DiFranco built her following by constant touring, newsletters, and indie releases -- she's not a miraculous creation of the wired age, she did it with sweat and risk, alongside the corporate model, in much the same way as small publishers have operated alongside the larger corporate models for decades...

I'm not arguing that the internet doesn't have an effect -- a canny artist can definitely use it to support and build on an existing following, but the key is "existing following".

An artist that sort of supports your point (but then refutes it) is Lily Allen, who got her record deal after her demos on MySpace attracted a following in the thousands. So far so good, right?

Except that her first record has sold more than a million and a half copies. More significantly, though, is this: I'm a music junkie, and I spend my life on-line. I had NEVER heard of Lily Allen in her myspace phase -- I "discovered" her, as millions of others did, via the traditional corporate means...

CheshireCat
10-16-2009, 12:14 AM
And these days even surprisingly small acts can actually make a living while investing in their futures, building audience, building back catalog, growing as artists etc. I know many doing this myself.


They can also get paying gigs in small venues while they invest in their future and build their audience.

When's the last time somebody offered an author decent pay to stand up and read their book to an audience? For that matter when's the last time somebody bought a ticket to hear an author read a book?

Comparing musicians to writers is apples to oranges. Maybe even apples to squash. :D

If we make a living, it's on the sale of our books. With e-books, some of us might be able to sell copies online, but other than that we really don't have an alternate venue/medium in which to "perform" for our audience.

HelloKiddo
10-16-2009, 12:31 AM
If we make a living, it's on the sale of our books. With e-books, some of us might be able to sell copies online, but other than that we really don't have an alternate venue/medium in which to "perform" for our audience.

No, but savvy writers cold use the internet to get people interested in buying their books, thus leading to more sales than would have been possible otherwise.

Michael J. Hoag
10-16-2009, 12:33 AM
They can also get paying gigs in small venues while they invest in their future and build their audience.

When's the last time somebody offered an author decent pay to stand up and read their book to an audience? For that matter when's the last time somebody bought a ticket to hear an author read a book?

Comparing musicians to writers is apples to oranges. Maybe even apples to squash. :D

If we make a living, it's on the sale of our books. With e-books, some of us might be able to sell copies online, but other than that we really don't have an alternate venue/medium in which to "perform" for our audience.


http://sleepwalkwithmike.com/

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/806078?camefrom=GGLE_SEM&WT.srch=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain

Cranky
10-16-2009, 12:41 AM
For me, thus far, is the problem of one of technology, period, which is priced too high for me. I have no problem reading ebooks, have read and purchased several. Would buy more if I didn't have to buy a separate device, if only for the convience factor of buying and downloading instantly versus tramping down to the bookstore, plus selection issues.

Doesn't mean I wouldn't still buy hard copies, because I would. But until the price on the Kindle, Sony e-reader, etc., come down, I won't be buying one. Hell, I don't even own a cell phone anymore, so I'm certainly not shelling out a few hundred smackeroos for one of those little doodads. Le sigh. Price point on both the books and the reading technology are going to be the deciding factor here, I think. But I don't think it'll lead to the death of traditional publishing. It *will* force change, though. And I can't help but think that might be a good thing for everyone: publishers, agents, editors, authors and even readers.

dpaterso
10-16-2009, 03:16 AM
Interesting topic, try not to sour it with needless jabs that'll get the thread closed. If you're just kiddin' around, this isn't clear.

-Derek

Mara
10-16-2009, 03:19 AM
Currently, you can read all kinds of free novels online. Go to a few fan-fiction sites. I don't think these folks, or their future equivalents, are going to put professional writers with real editors out of business. Ever. People don't value "free" more than "worth reading."

Here's something I remember from a few years back.

The 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons came with an Open Gaming License. That meant that other people could publish and sell their own D&D products, and even reprint most of the material from the core books verbatim if they wanted.

There was a huge flood of third-party products at first. Some were good, but most weren't. The OGL was allowing people with no writing or publishing experience to get into the game. There was a hue and cry about how the glut of products meant that quality companies would die out, having to compete with free or nearly free substandard products. Other people said that independant game designers couldn't compete with all the other independant designers.

Within a few years, the majority of the OGL publishers had gone out of business, but the traditional publishers were doing fine. People weren't buying the substandard books, not even in cheap e-book format. They were only buying the best of the books, the ones that were comparable to the high-quality stuff that the big companies and traditional printers put out. The few new companies that were actually doing quality work were making big profits, including Green Ronin, who moved toward the top of the RPG market. Green Ronin made those profits by patterning themselves after the traditional companies, not by embracing the fad of "low-quality, poorly edited writing, merged with bad artwork, and sold as e-books."

If e-books follow the same pattern, I imagine we'll have a glut of bad novels for a few years. Then people will stop buying the crappy books.

The survivors will be quality writers and quality publishers, and the majority will be from the traditional industry. There will be a few upstarts who come from the "new wave," but mostly only the good ones. And I imagine these will be people who emulate the traditional publishers as much as possible.

Besides, Dan Brown, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and Stephenie Meyers are doing fine, but all of their books are easily available to pirates. People apparently will buy their books even when piracy is an option. Increased popularity of e-book readers could change that, though.

CheshireCat
10-16-2009, 08:15 AM
No, but savvy writers cold use the internet to get people interested in buying their books, thus leading to more sales than would have been possible otherwise.

Than would have been possible otherwise? Otherwise what? You mean as opposed to print books, or as opposed to not being "published" at all? Or do you mean ebook sales in addition to whatever the print numbers are?

The thing is, for a "savvy" writer to use the internet -- I mean from a level playing field, a total unknown -- to build any kind of audience at all would take an enormous amount of time and energy that would NOT be spent writing the next book. And that's assuming it would work at all, which is so doubtful you'd have better odds of winning the lottery.

A writer with an established audience, even a small one, might be able to build on that using the internet. And a writer with a high-concept, kick-ass story to tell and killer marketing instincts might well make a success of it.

But you still have a writer doing something other than writing, for many, many hours and using up much of his or her creative energy. So even if that first book takes off, what about the encore?

Unless you're Dan Brown, you won't make a career out of one book.

CheshireCat
10-16-2009, 08:18 AM
http://sleepwalkwithmike.com/

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/806078?camefrom=GGLE_SEM&WT.srch=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain


Apples to squash. These are not your average novelists with a story to tell.

CheshireCat
10-16-2009, 08:26 AM
But performing is one potential income stream for writers looking to find new, more advantageous models of income. And performing has resonance with other income streams: meet the audience, sell some books, sell some cds, build audience... AND HAVE FUN!


Excuse me, but do you actually know any writers? I mean honest-to-God novelists? Because 99% of all the novelists I know would rather poke their eyes with something sharp than stand before an audience and perform. In any sense of the word.

Novelists are, by nature, loners. Oh, sure, there are a few who're the life of the party, but damned few.

We sit at home, working alone, creating our own worlds, where we get to be heroes and heroines and villains and Ordinary Folk, and make up all the rules.

We like it like that.

nighttimer
10-16-2009, 09:03 AM
One good thing about getting to be as old as I am now is I don't give a shit what the bleeding edge is. Movies? I caught Taken in the spring and Star Trek this summer. The Hurt Locker breezed in and out of one theater within two weeks. That's been my 2009 movie going season.

Television? I watch news, documentaries and sports. Everything else is just the noise between it.

Rock n' roll? It's dead, but still too ornery to be buried. I liked Metallica's Death Magnetic last year and Living Colour's The Chair In the Doorway last week. I've been getting into Stevie Ray Vaughn lately. Anything else is a plus.

Kindle? E-publishing? No book advances? Well, that all sucks ass, but I'm not going to burn my book collection because of the Kindle any more than I threw away my vinyl records when CDs made them quaint. I still work out with a Walkman, not a MP3 player.

I really don't care all that much about the crap Hollywood shits out in multiplexes every week or the brainless pap belching out of the radio and the "hot" shows on television that I'm not interested in. I'd rather pour a glass of wine, put on some jazz, and lie back in my chair reading a good book until I fall asleep.

I worry about the tidal wave of mediocrity washing away all the truly talented authors, musicians, directors, actors, and artistic souls, but I'm patient enough to know sooner or later the tide will go out again.

Doesn't seem to be much point to worrying about what's out of my control. :Shrug:

squibnocket
10-16-2009, 09:18 AM
Because 99% of all the novelists I know would rather poke their eyes with something sharp than stand before an audience and perform.


I'm with Cece on this. I shudder to think that in the New Publishing Order I must become a performance artist in addition to being a writer as a means of survival. It's just not a viable model for the vast majority of us.

And, honestly, I don't think the average reader wants to shell out concert ticket-like money to see the majority of authors she likes to read passages from her book. They just, you know, want to read a book.

BlackBriar
10-16-2009, 05:08 PM
Kindle? E-publishing? No book advances? Well, that all sucks ass, but I'm not going to burn my book collection because of the Kindle any more than I threw away my vinyl records when CDs made them quaint. I still work out with a Walkman, not a MP3 player.


I worry about the tidal wave of mediocrity washing away all the truly talented authors, musicians, directors, actors, and artistic souls, but I'm patient enough to know sooner or later the tide will go out again.

Doesn't seem to be much point to worrying about what's out of my control. :Shrug:

Ah, I don't get your point... Is it that you simply like outdated Technology, or maybe you are a beta type of person. You think the companies get it right the first time, and they can go the hell with any advances they make? It could be that you are picky about what type of tech you buy. As in, if I need it, it's worthy, and if I don't need it, then it's a piece of crap that'll be gone soon.

Instead of 'telling' us how vintage and skool you are, 'show' us! ;)

Also, did you just suggest that CDs and MP3s wiped out the tide of good music? Well, you did consider Metallica good music...>_> , but still.

I noticed you left out an excuse for the "crap Hollywood shits out in multiplexes every week". Was it DVDs that turned Hollywood crappy, or maybe VHS's. Hmm, it could be Blu-Ray too...

Now, it could be that you simply have a problem with the state of all Art and Entertainment nowadays. I personally don't, but I wouldn't have a problem with that belief.

But the idea of tying Art's problems with technology is ridiculous. Sadly, there are always people like you. Just like you are complaining about the latest movies, no doubt there were someone somewhere complaining about the move from 'Black and White' movies.

And the profit margins are better on ebooks, which as the shift becomes more apparent, and new time ebook authors get more popularity, should fix a few problems. I wouldn't just assume that there will be no ebook advances. Things are new.

Now, I am going to go listen to my New Rock on my iPod while reading a Kindle, with another Michael Bay flick playing in the background on my HDTV.

Toothpaste
10-16-2009, 05:49 PM
So basically we are back to my main fear. Authors who are performers, who have internet or marketing savvy will rise to the top in this brave new world. And authors who focus on . . . writing. . . will fall to the bottom. Awesome. Can't wait.

BlackBriar
10-16-2009, 06:23 PM
*sigh*

My 'Omit needless words' response.

People want good book.
People buy good book.
People tell people bout good book.
More people buy good book.
Kindle, Sony, Other, don't change that.

The way it was, the way it is, the way it will be.

No worry in brave new world. You ride the Storm or drown you. As always.

BlackBriar
10-16-2009, 06:40 PM
http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/10/kindle-numbers-traditional-publishing.html

JA Konrath, the author who visted us in irc and I mentioned earlier as Anon (and toothpaste mentioned to), published his sales.

Very interesting look, from beginning to end.

Toothpaste
10-16-2009, 07:07 PM
JA Konrath is a perfect example of all the stuff I can't do. I read his blog and while it is very helpful it is just too much for me. I can't do everything he does. And that worries me. Because it seems more and more that I am supposed to do everything he does, and if I don't, well then I deserve to fall into oblivion as an author. Promote or die. And if that stuff is too hard for me, if I can't do it? It's terrifying.

Now as to your other statement of good books rising to the top. This is the thing. People aren't just talking about changing the means of delivery but the entire system. People are talking about removing the middle man, the publishing houses. If the goal is to deliver books through the internet, then why have someone to publish them in the first place is the point. Surely it means that everyone who wants to can write a book, send it out on the internet and people can find it. That is what we've been talking about here. Like indy bands recording and publishing their own music online.

So. If there are no more publishers, and it's every author for him/herself, are you telling me that good books will still be easily found if the author of said book isn't tech savvy and doesn't know PR? How would anyone know this good book exists if the author of the book has no idea how to upload onto the internet, do the proper layout, and understand the proper way to self promote? There was a time an author was just that. It was enough. They could write a book, send it to their publisher and their publisher took care of the rest. In this brave new world of ebooks without publishers, of everyone being their own version of an indy band, the author will have to assume the role of editor, marketer, cover designer, promoter etc. Oh, and they'll also have to keep writing as in this business, more so than anything, it's perseverance that pays off.

I have no issue with the Kindle. I want one. I can't have one since I'm in Canada, but that's another thing. My issue is with the idea that now that we don't need to print and bind books we don't need publishers. Anyone can publish. This is insane to me. Besides what author in his/her right mind doesn't want an editor to help them? I adore my editors and what they have done to make my work as fantastic as it is.

The publishing industry is going to have to change, but I don't think it should be totally done away with. And that's what some in this thread are talking about.

Michael J. Hoag
10-16-2009, 07:13 PM
http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/10/kindle-numbers-traditional-publishing.html

JA Konrath, the author who visted us in irc and I mentioned earlier as Anon (and toothpaste mentioned to), published his sales.

Very interesting look, from beginning to end.
Jim Munroe, who once published (and sold well) with HarperCollins has also written about his own numbers. I don't agree with everything he says, but he makes some good points.

http://nomediakings.org/YouShouldMain.htm

And the page specific to his own numbers is here:

http://nomediakings.org/Economic.htm

WHoops, this was about "Indy publishing" not ebooks.... I think he has one on ebooks too...

Whoops again! Really, he's talking about self-publishing. But still interesting.

BlackBriar
10-16-2009, 07:40 PM
JA Konrath is a perfect example of all the stuff I can't do. I read his blog and while it is very helpful it is just too much for me. I can't do everything he does. And that worries me. Because it seems more and more that I am supposed to do everything he does, and if I don't, well then I deserve to fall into oblivion as an author. Promote or die. And if that stuff is too hard for me, if I can't do it? It's terrifying.

You are already promoting. You have a website, and twitter. You are already published, so as JA hinted at, that is a very good stepping ground. It's all about taking your career in your hands. Though I admit, I say this without fully understanding everything that entitles.


Now as to your other statement of good books rising to the top. This is the thing. People aren't just talking about changing the means of delivery but the entire system. People are talking about removing the middle man, the publishing houses. If the goal is to deliver books through the internet, then why have someone to publish them in the first place is the point. Surely it means that everyone who wants to can write a book, send it out on the internet and people can find it. That is what we've been talking about here. Like indy bands recording and publishing their own music online.

:D I am going to let you in on a secret. When I buy books, I don't get them from some trade magazine. I look at reviews on amazon and other places. I get them from blogs. I am sure that's how most people do it nowadays. At least that is what I guess from the times I do head to the bookstore, and very few people are taking the advantage of picking a book off the shelf and sitting down on those couches.

The system already exists for the good books to arrive to the top. Tell me, how did you come across new books before you became published? If you were the type to browse your local book store, well, that is a pretty outdated way (not that book stores themselves are outdated).

Also, are you a publisher or author? From what you just said, it is the publisher who should be worried, not the author. And you don't need a publisher to edit your book, I think. Don't editing houses already exist for that?

There is also the idea of cooperatives replacing publishing houses. Talented authors banding together with independent editors. That may be a crazy idea though...


So. If there are no more publishers, and it's every author for him/herself, are you telling me that good books will still be easily found if the author of said book isn't tech savvy and doesn't know PR? How would anyone know this good book exists if the author of the book has no idea how to upload onto the internet, do the proper layout, and understand the proper way to self promote? There was a time an author was just that. It was enough. They could write a book, send it to their publisher and their publisher took care of the rest. In this brave new world of ebooks without publishers, of everyone being their own version of an indy band, the author will have to assume the role of editor, marketer, cover designer, promoter etc. Oh, and they'll also have to keep writing as in this business, more so than anything, it's perseverance that pays off.

The centralized system that's needed, ebook stores like amazon, B&N, Smashwords, already exist. People are already recommending good books to fellow readers. Did you or your publisher send out books to blogs? People read blogs. They search google for books, and come across blog reviews. I say this last part because I think more people peruse a variety of blogs for reviews and what-to-buys than stick with just one blog. I know I do.

I have no issue with the Kindle. I want one. I can't have one since I'm in Canada, but that's another thing. My issue is with the idea that now that we don't need to print and bind books we don't need publishers. Anyone can publish. This is insane to me. Besides what author in his/her right mind doesn't want an editor to help them? I adore my editors and what they have done to make my work as fantastic as it is.

Well, there is the international Kindle, but there is the problem of higher book costs with that. Still, my points about technology were not directed at you, but at some who seem to think ebooks and readers for them will destroy good books or that they were just a fad.

Once again, the system is already in place. Sure, it's a shaky system, with holes and bugs that are yet to be discovered, but it's there and it will grow as these things do and it will become more sustainable.

Also, I believe in the value of editors too (having never used one :P ). And as I said, editing houses exist already. People whose sole job is to look at your books and edit them. So editors, I think, will still be a necessity.


The publishing industry is going to have to change, but I don't think it should be totally done away with. And that's what some in this thread are talking about.

Neither do I think the publishing industry should be done away with. I do think it will look different than it does today, but how so, I can't say. Maybe you will have ebook publishers taking the prominent position away from the traditional publishers. They have their own editors and ways of advertising (which does need to get better, I admit). And who is to say those ebook pubs won't release hard copies in the future too?

And I know what this thread is about. That is why I was careful to say I wasn't agreeing with Hoag some pages back. My comments have to do with ebooks and e-readers, since they have been of interest to me, geek and reader I am, for years (only just recently got one).

Also, to prove my point, I plan on buying your book. Have been for a few weeks, ever since I saw your book covers on this forum, and went to Amazon for reviews and decided that it was up my alley. Reviews are not dying out and reviews are the best advertisement books can get imo.

Last point to make. It is too early to know if the traditional publishers make a comeback, or if E-pubs become the dominant force. I disagree with Hoag that indie style self-publishing will become the norm, but if it does, a system will be created to make sure the best get to the top. One with editors and blogs and review sites like amazon and shelfari (book social networking system) and the like playing a huge part in advertisement.

People want good books, and they will find a way to make sure those good books come to their attentions and they will pay for them over the non-edited and poorly written books.

Readers aren't dumb and their desires will be heard when there is a profit to make.

willietheshakes
10-16-2009, 08:02 PM
Well, there is the international Kindle,

Which is not available in Canada either.

BlackBriar
10-16-2009, 08:08 PM
Which is not available in Canada either.

Oh, sorry. Forgot. :)

Toothpaste
10-16-2009, 08:13 PM
You are already promoting. You have a website, and twitter. You are already published, so as JA hinted at, that is a very good stepping ground. It's all about taking your career in your hands. Though I admit, I say this without fully understanding everything that entitles.

Do you know how much work it is to have all that alone? And evidently it isn't good enough. That's my point. The more time spent on promotion, the less on the whole writing thing.



:D I am going to let you in on a secret. When I buy books, I don't get them from some trade magazine. I look at reviews on amazon and other places. I get them from blogs. I am sure that's how most people do it nowadays. At least that is what I guess from the times I do head to the bookstore, and very few people are taking the advantage of picking a book off the shelf and sitting down on those couches.

The system already exists for the good books to arrive to the top. Tell me, how did you come across new books before you became published? If you were the type to browse your local book store, well, that is a pretty outdated way (not that book stores themselves are outdated).


Um. Actually book stores. And book stores are still the main way people buy their books, it isn't outdated at all. I don't have the stats at my fingertips, but despite appearances most books are still sold through bookstores. I'm not sure whether you draw your conclusions from your own personal experiences, but they aren't based on facts. But this is despite the point. You are missing an important step. HOW does the book get online, how do blogs get your book to review them? It is the delivery system alone that is an issue. And you are saying, well the author should take care of all that. Sure, list your work on Amazon, but without blogs reviewing your work no one will know your book is on Amazon. It is very rare you will accidentally stumble across books online.

What's more, who's designing the covers for these books? Who's formatting the layout inside? Is that also the author? Who's editing the books . . .wait will get to that in a second . . .



Also, are you a publisher or author? From what you just said, it is the publisher who should be worried, not the author.


Huh? That's exactly my point. Removing the middle man means the author now has to worry about all that stuff.



And you don't need a publisher to edit your book, I think. Don't editing houses already exist for that?

So not only do I have to do everything else myself, I now have to PAY for editing?

Let me get this straight. Right now I have a system where:

- I get paid for my work ahead of time
- I get a professional editor who knows her genre inside and out to work with me on my book to make it awesome, and I don't have to pay her
- meanwhile a team are working on designing my cover, layout, and copy
- a marketing team are making sure book stores are buying my books, sending my books to blogs, print magazines, the big industry reviewers (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist), to awards
- someone else is working on getting me blurbs from other authors

Versus -

- I do everything myself
- spend a lot of money doing everything myself
- maybe turn a profit




The centralized system that's needed, ebook stores like amazon, B&N, Smashwords, already exist. People are already recommending good books to fellow readers. Did you or your publisher send out books to blogs? People read blogs. They search google for books, and come across blog reviews. I say this last part because I think more people peruse a variety of blogs for reviews and what-to-buys than stick with just one blog. I know I do.

Again, how are these blogs getting the books in the first place? And here's another little thing. How many blogs do you think get sent self published books? Probably all of them. So what do these blogs do being inundated with hundreds and hundreds of books? I bet a lot of them have a basic rule, that if the work hasn't been vetted by a publisher, they will not review it. So my question to you is, how do these blogs - evidently the most important advertising an author can have - choose which books to review when every single book is self published? You just have a bunch of authors sending them stuff. Is it first come first serve? Are all books deserving of being reviewed? If you answer yes to this question you haven't read some of the self published stuff out there (again, there is good self published stuff, but it is very rare).

Again, it will end up being books that the bloggers are familiar with that will get the reviews, "Ah yes, I remember hearing about this one", and the ones they'll hear about will be the ones by authors who know how to self promote.





Readers aren't dumb and their desires will be heard when there is a profit to make.


And this is the strangest comment of them all. You see, like it or not, the current system is one based on making money. Publishers aren't stupid. So what makes money? Publishing things that sell. Twilight. Celebrity Books. Etc. There is a reason these books are published, the readers want them. So saying that the system has to change so that good books can finally make it to the top by adding that readers and their desires will be heard is kind of funny considering it seems to me their desires are already being heard. Most readers want what is popular right now. Some readers (myself included) want other stuff, but we are actually in the minority.

I am glad you don't think the publishing industry should be done away with, but after all this long response to you I should say that I wasn't actually talking to you in this thread, but to the people who want to do away with it entirely. Oddly we are in agreement, I believe the publishing industry needs to accept that ebooks are here to stay, that technology is changing as is the way people read. You and I just disagree on what such changes should be.

Michael J. Hoag
10-16-2009, 08:44 PM
How will people find the good books?

Luckily, I've found this top-secret industry diagram of "all books received by big publishers" in the current system:
http://www.racerocks.com/racerock/education/curricula/projects/normalcurve.jpg

And someplace in that natural distribution is a vertical line that represents which books "make the cut," like this:

http://idisk.mac.com/luckymortal/Public/normalcurve.jpg

First, something I'm inclined to notice is that this line may move and that there's not likely much difference between the nearest books on one side and the nearest books on the other. Something else I notice is that people complain about terrible published books they read ALL THE TIME at AW.

Now, part of our discussion is how you'd title them there diagrams. And from what I keep hearing in this thread, the title should be "quality."

But these diagrams don't really represent "quality," do they? What they represent is:

Conformity to publisher expectations of profit. (which is not to say that there isn't overlap. There are certainly quality books that also conform to publisher expectations of profit.)

So one problem is that I personally value several objective criteria of "quality" that logically go against the criteria for "conformity to publisher expectations of profit." I think we can all agree here, no?

A second problem is that many people, including people in this thread conflate the two, even to the point of writing off Benjamin Hoff. Hoff, who's a major best-selling author and quite objectively a genius can't find publishers for the books he wants to write so he quit! Benjamin Hoff had a unique and valuable perspective on translating Eastern Philosophy and mysticism for a Western audience. What a loss to our culture! I know at least a dozen people who consider Tao of Pooh their favorite book and he had to fight tooth and nail to get it published under terms that completely screwed him over. I digress...

I've accepted that I will never in my lifetime write a book with as much "quality" as Maso's Ava or Reagan Butcher's Stone Hotel. And while these writers are highly esteemed and loved in their circles, the majority of the book-buying public will assume they're not "good" because they were published by small Indie presses.

So THE INDUSTRY is no meritocracy, and no guarantee that readers can find the good books.

As a final note:

I've never read a good self-published book.
But of the many books I've read this year, all my favorite were published by small Indie presses.

ChaosTitan
10-16-2009, 08:47 PM
Do you know how much work it is to have all that alone? And evidently it isn't good enough. That's my point. The more time spent on promotion, the less on the whole writing thing.

Who's saying it's not good enough? A couple of people on this board?

Certainly in this media age, it's important to have a website, a blog, and an internet presence of some sort (Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads, something!). But really, how many popular and well-selling authors get there because of their internet savvy?

I agree with CeCe when she said upthread that many writers are loners. I'm not a salesperson. I'm a writer. I will promote myself to the best of my ability but I won't do it to the detriment of my writing.

And until your editor tells you the only way to success is to become a sideshow act, don't let it stress you. :)



Um. Actually book stores. And book stores are still the main way people buy their books, it isn't outdated at all. I don't have the stats at my fingertips, but despite appearances most books are still sold through bookstores.

This. I'm a browser. Most of my friends are browsers. Even if I walk into a bookstore with a list of titles via browsing the web, I'll still take time to walk the stacks and see if something else pops out at me. And often, something does.



Let me get this straight. Right now I have a system where:

- I get paid for my work ahead of time
- I get a professional editor who knows her genre inside and out to work with me on my book to make it awesome, and I don't have to pay her
- meanwhile a team are working on designing my cover, layout, and copy
- a marketing team are making sure book stores are buying my books, sending my books to blogs, print magazines, the big industry reviewers (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist), to awards
- someone else is working on getting me blurbs from other authors

Versus -

- I do everything myself
- spend a lot of money doing everything myself
- maybe turn a profit


This. A thousand times, this.

BlackBriar
10-16-2009, 09:01 PM
Um. Actually book stores. And book stores are still the main way people buy their books, it isn't outdated at all. I don't have the stats at my fingertips, but despite appearances most books are still sold through bookstores. I'm not sure whether you draw your conclusions from your own personal experiences, but they aren't based on facts. But this is despite the point. You are missing an important step. HOW does the book get online, how do blogs get your book to review them? It is the delivery system alone that is an issue. And you are saying, well the author should take care of all that. Sure, list your work on Amazon, but without blogs reviewing your work no one will know your book is on Amazon. It is very rare you will accidentally stumble across books online.

I didn't say that bookstores were outdated. My fault for not being clear. I was saying that I am one of those who goes to a book store, knowing good and well what I am going to buy. An informed consumer if you will. And there are loads of us, and we are growing, searching reviews and forums for what's good and what's not. Some of us buy online, some of us head down to the book store. I do both, though usually online.

I agree with you that the delivery system is the problem. I did not say that the author should take care of all that, but simply provided a few ideas on what could work; writer/editor co-ops, 70% e-pub, 30% traditional type of publishers, or a centralized online system that is built for that (something like digg.com, even with it's flaws).

My main point was that there will continue to be a demand for good books, and that demand will be met.

How so? No clue.


So not only do I have to do everything else myself, I now have to PAY for editing?

Let me get this straight. Right now I have a system where:

- I get paid for my work ahead of time
- I get a professional editor who knows her genre inside and out to work with me on my book to make it awesome, and I don't have to pay her
- meanwhile a team are working on designing my cover, layout, and copy
- a marketing team are making sure book stores are buying my books, sending my books to blogs, print magazines, the big industry reviewers (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist), to awards
- someone else is working on getting me blurbs from other authors

Versus -

- I do everything myself
- spend a lot of money doing everything myself
- maybe turn a profit

You are right. What I said wasn't well thought out. As I said though, I was just offering ideas and possibilities. Sometimes those two are not what you want them to be.



Again, how are these blogs getting the books in the first place? And here's another little thing. How many blogs do you think get sent self published books? Probably all of them. So what do these blogs do being inundated with hundreds and hundreds of books? I bet a lot of them have a basic rule, that if the work hasn't been vetted by a publisher, they will not review it. So my question to you is, how do these blogs - evidently the most important advertising an author can have - choose which books to review when every single book is self published? You just have a bunch of authors sending them stuff. Is it first come first serve? Are all books deserving of being reviewed? If you answer yes to this question you haven't read some of the self published stuff out there (again, there is good self published stuff, but it is very rare).

I did not say blogs are the 'most important advertising an author can have'. They may well be one day, along with other online sources though. That is something that's going to have to be worked out.

Hell, it may be that centralized system I talked about turns out to be the publishers themselves. Look at tor.com and the changes they have made. I remember when the site was just a listing of books, but they now seem to be building a social networking/news site.

Either way, already published authors may well take their careers in their own hands and they may well be the driving force in self-publishing and they may well create a system where good books are driven to the type.

Who knows! is my point and it's too early too judge or be freaked out about it.

And this is the strangest comment of them all. You see, like it or not, the current system is one based on making money. Publishers aren't stupid. So what makes money? Publishing things that sell. Twilight. Celebrity Books. Etc. There is a reason these books are published, the readers want them. So saying that the system has to change so that good books can finally make it to the top by adding that readers and their desires will be heard is kind of funny considering it seems to me their desires are already being heard. Most readers want what is popular right now. Some readers (myself included) want other stuff, but we are actually in the minority.

My "Readers are not dumb" comment was not a criticism of the publishing industry as it stands and it was not a criticism of 'celebrity books' being pushed to the top. It was exactly what you said in this paragraph.

Readers aren't dumb, they never were, they want what's good, they will continue to get what they want. If the system for that does not yet exists, then it will be created.


Oddly we are in agreement, I believe the publishing industry needs to accept that ebooks are here to stay, that technology is changing as is the way people read. You and I just disagree on what such changes should be.

No. I have no clue what the changes should be, just an opinion that the changes will be made and either you (writer, publisher, editor, book stores) evolve and adapt, or die out. Either way, I don't think that anyone should be afraid and stubborn about new technology, as some people (not you) in this thread seem to be.

If I do come up with a clue on the changes, then expect for me to be filthy rich in the coming years. :D

Edit:

I will say this though and I think we all can agree. There need to be more Readers out there. Ebooks may become good for that. Imagine buying a 20$ dollar ebook reader, and get books for 3$ and less. Maybe that would attract more readers, people who have been turned off by the prices. And readers=buyers and as already said, the profit margin is nicer for the author (and I would assume publisher) on ebooks, since they are so easy to produce on the technical side. And numbers count.

Just another possibility if you will.

Correction:

That thing about ebook readers being 20$ anytime in the near future was based on faulty reading done by me. :D I am sure they will get near that price sometime, but that may be when chips can be implanted in our brains and we can read books in a millisecond. Or until something comes out that's even better.

Toothpaste
10-16-2009, 09:59 PM
But of the many books I've read this year, all my favorite were published by small Indie presses.

Michael, just curious, how many books published by big publishers but not pushed by said houses did you read?

You see I see a lot of people saying that indie presses are the way to go, and I actually agree, there is some fantastic stuff being published with some presses. But I also happen to know a lot of authors, have friends who are said authors, whom I respect highly as authors and simply just adore their writing, who are published by the big houses but aren't the top of the list, aren't getting that big blockbuster push. Sometimes I wonder that when people say the big houses aren't publishing anything good whether they just mean the leading titles, the ones getting the PR. I wonder how many of those people have a catalogue from one of the big houses and see ALL the books said houses are putting out. And has read those as well.

One of my favourite books I read last year happens to have been written by a friend of mine - "Falling Under". It's edgy, it's risky, some of it is written in second person, and it's hilarious. It was published by Penguin in the States. Not many people know about it, which, in my opinion, is criminal. But still, a big house took a chance on it.

Not all books published by the big houses get the big push (which, yes, is annoying, and is an entirely different topic to be discussed), but it also means there are books out there that the big ones have published that you probably didn't know existed, and that do push boundaries and are wonderfully well written. It isn't just the Indie presses that can boast to that.

Michael J. Hoag
10-16-2009, 10:01 PM
Look, we're really talking about 3 different possibilities:

1. Further monopolization and consolidation, a continuation of current trends that devalue creative staff including the editors, cover designers, printers etc.
2. A flowering of Indie Presses in the recess of THE INDUSTRY, similar to what's happened in the music industry. The music industry and other "relocalling" trends are good examples. This is the scenario I both predict and advocate for. This is likely to be helped by non-reader "ebooks," ebooks for phone, etc.
3. Magical dissolution of THE INDUSTRY leading to a complete DIY publishing scenario. This is both impossibly unlikely, and not really advantageous to anyone. I'm not sure anyone was really either advocating for this or predicting this in this thread.

Anyway, we don't just have to accept whatever future, we get to vote with our money and our artistic choices. If what you love to write (or read) happens to "conform to industry expectations for profit," then I'd probably advocate for publishing "in the bigs."

Should everyone else just not wirte then? Or read? Or accept that we'll be treated like serfs if we do try to publish?

Indie publishing is an option on a decentralized, small-business model, that could create more, better jobs, more artistic freedom and a literature which reflects a greater variety of perspectives and forms. We COULD be supporting it with our dough.

As for self-publishing, I wouldn't really recommend it, except to those with a very specific set of artistic goals (like certain poets.) It seems a tough, tough road fraught with publish-America scams. But big publishing is often a scam too.

Toothpaste
10-16-2009, 10:10 PM
I should also add that my current novel that my agent is shopping around is being uniformly rejected by publishers because it's too risky. So I get the frustration. I like Indie Presses. I like the Big Presses. I even don't mind self publishing.

And I think something has to change.

But getting rid of the industry in general isn't going to help. Nor is the attitude that everything the big companies publish is crap. We have to stop vilifying people and understand that everyone involved in the industry loves books, wants to figure out the best possible way to sell books. I think we should come together to solve the problem, not break apart.

And for god's sake, whatever is resolved, could we maybe make it work so that writers can still be writers?

ChaosTitan
10-16-2009, 10:23 PM
It's the rhetoric that I think I have an issue, Michael (and which results in me "busting your balls"). Serfs? Seriously?

I think there should be a writers' board equivalent of Godwinning -- any time someone refers to the "serfdom" of writers in submitting to "traditional publishers", the thread gets locked.


I'm all for that.

Serfs? Submitting? Really? :rolleyes:



See, you say something I agree with (the self-publishing part), and then you follow it with this.

HOW is "big publishing" a scam?

Please, do tell, Michael.

Michael J. Hoag
10-16-2009, 11:20 PM
I should also add that my current novel that my agent is shopping around is being uniformly rejected by publishers because it's too risky. So I get the frustration. I like Indie Presses. I like the Big Presses. I even don't mind self publishing.

And I think something has to change.

But getting rid of the industry in general isn't going to help. Nor is the attitude that everything the big companies publish is crap. We have to stop vilifying people and understand that everyone involved in the industry loves books, wants to figure out the best possible way to sell books. I think we should come together to solve the problem, not break apart.

And for god's sake, whatever is resolved, could we maybe make it work so that writers can still be writers?

I can agree with all this 100%.

Toothpaste
10-17-2009, 12:47 AM
Michael, I think the issue with this "conforms to publisher expectations for profit" is that it implies that authors who write for the big houses are conforming their work for the sole purpose of making money. That had they had the chance, they would have been much happier writing something else, or that the true nature of their story would have been something different.

Some authors do write to spec. These authors can still be utterly involved with their work and passionate about it, and within the given framework find deep originality. Some authors are just published because a publishing house bought their work. I am one of those. I have never had to "conform" with my books, and should you ever read them, I think you'll find they are pretty unique.

While you accuse Robert of being rude, you have been consistently inadvertently so with an admitted personality that's in your face. But you have to understand that your word choices do affect people who read your posts. And we can't all be wrong in sensing some slight insult towards anyone who is published by the big houses. When all your readers point out the same thing, you are obviously not making your point which I believe is actually a far more measured one than what comes across in your posts. I don't actually think you are an all or nothing kind of guy with regards to the big publishers, just that you are writing from passion. Problem is, what you are writing, and what you truly believe don't seem to mesh.

As to your example of the cruelty of the industry, I am afraid you have a very very subjective view. None of the authors I know offer these classes you speak of. All of my author friends are published with big houses. None of us had any connections within the industry to get published, while I would never deny nepotism and favourtism exist, I would say that most authors published did not have such an advantage. Again these are the authors you know nothing about, because like the rest of the public, you are hung up on the names you know, those authors who front the lists. And again, there is something to be said of that unfairness. But that isn't the discussion we are having. You imply the only way to be published by a big house is to conform and to know someone. I have seen no evidence of that with any of my friends nor through personal experience. Thus I know what you say isn't a universal truth. Possibly the path for some, but not for all.

I do school talks and yes make money from that. But it gets kids excited about reading. When I offer advice about publication I tend to do it for free, through my blog, on sites like these, and they don't promote any agenda aside from the "work hard, read a lot, be professional and thoughtful" agenda. Again, I know so many other authors who do the same.

So the issue is then why are you jumping to a "lots of authors" conclusion, when it is clearly only some, and has more to do with the authors and their personalities than the big bad publishing machine. It isn't like publishers turn to their authors and say, "Okay now you make more money by selling pie in the sky dreams . . .go!" No, publishers actually would rather their authors write more books for them to sell.

As to your Benjamin Hoff guy, which I really don't know the story to (yes I know you told it above, I admit to skimming it, and going back to find it is just urgh for me), I get the impression he wasn't paid proper royalities on his work? And then his next one didn't sell? Is that the story? If true than the former is truly shameful, and isn't representative of how the industry works as a whole but an example of a publisher treating an author badly. The latter issue is pretty depressing, and to me does show what's wrong in this industry. There is a lack of trust and faith, nor a willingness to give an author a chance to grow and become a success. If they do well, awesome! If not, they get dumped. If they do well but then the next one doesn't, well then again they are dumped. The idea of growing an author into something instead of giving up on him the second expectations aren't met is very foreign and I agree ought to be changed.

My first book was given a terrible cover in the UK. Thus sales sucked. Thus when the second book came out, with a totally different kind of cover so no one could tell it was part of a series, no one was interested in that one. The stores weren't because the first one tanked. The people didn't even know the second one existed. Along comes happy little me with the third in the series and it is rejected. Because the other two books didn't do well. Never mind the first, despite the terrible (and I mean terrible, it made the book look like it was for a much younger age range) cover, still won an award as voted on by kids. No, since the books didn't do well they didn't want the third. A numbers game you see. Except that it was their fault the first one didn't do well. I did what I was supposed to do, wrote a book that kids and teachers love. But I get punished because they screwed up.

So I agree something has to change. But I don't agree that the industry is evil. Just fallible. Because while in the UK things went terribly wrong, in the US and Canada they went quite right, and that is in no small part due to my publishers in those countries. If I can blame my publishers, I can also thank them.

You said earlier you agree with me 100% that we shouldn't vilify any one group, but you seem awfully happy to vilify anything that has to do with mainstream publishing. It's wrong of you to do so, and you aren't right in your facts. You have observed some things, have heard some stories, and I think are in a mindset where you are seeking tales to confirm your suspicions. And so when many many published authors tell you it isn't like you say it is, you don't want to listen.

But I'll try again. It isn't like you say it is. It ain't perfect, but seriously, dude, it is not some scam.

VIC
10-17-2009, 01:17 AM
imagine the amount of tax dollars that will be saved when text books can be downloaded. or the money a college student can save by downloading all of their text books into a digital reader. the analog experience, a book in the hands, will one day be nostalgic. a book going to print will one day be reserved for those digitized books that sell over 100k copies. a kind of status earned by the story, or voted upon by the readership. what's happening is a good thing. there will be growing pains, but ultimatly it will expand the possible readership for all stories available. that to me is what counts. being read. all we need to worry about is doing what we love to do. once it's done and is out there, online, it will work for us.

Toothpaste
10-17-2009, 01:22 AM
imagine the amount of tax dollars that will be saved when text books can be downloaded. or the money a college student can save by downloading all of their text books into a digital reader. the analog experience, a book in the hands, will one day be nostalgic.


Except here's a question. Not that I don't agree with that point, like I said, I'm cool with ebooks, just let's not kill off the publishers please. Anyway, my question.

How does such a student study? See when I was in university, come exam time, I'd be sitting on the floor in my room surrounded by open text books, cross referencing points, etc. If all texts are downloaded onto the same one kindle, how do you get the same effect? I know people will say, have many different files open, but the effect of looking around, your eyes skimming for some info without having to know it first then search for it . . .

I'm just saying. It'll save money. And it'll save backs. But there will still be new problems that will crop up.

CheshireCat
10-17-2009, 01:24 AM
As to your example of the cruelty of the industry, I am afraid you have a very very subjective view. None of the authors I know offer these classes you speak of. All of my author friends are published with big houses. None of us had any connections within the industry to get published, while I would never deny nepotism and favourtism exist, I would say that most authors published did not have such an advantage. Again these are the authors you know nothing about, because like the rest of the public, you are hung up on the names you know, those authors who front the lists. And again, there is something to be said of that unfairness. But that isn't the discussion we are having. You imply the only way to be published by a big house is to conform and to know someone. I have seen no evidence of that with any of my friends nor through personal experience. Thus I know what you say isn't a universal truth. Possibly the path for some, but not for all.

QFT.

I know a lot of working writers, multi-published and with long careers, and none of them make their living by teaching or trying to teach others how to write.

Most of us are, you know, busy writing the next book.

As for selling people a false dream, go over to the SYW forum and read some of my critiques. I'm hard as hell on aspiring writers, because I know how cruelly difficult it is to not only sell that first book but then to go on and actually build a career as a novelist.

I don't know a single writer interested in offering false dreams and empty promises to those farther down the ladder than we are. And I don't know a single writer who has "the secret" to a successful career as a novelist.

All they know is what I know. We know what worked for us. And to that question you're likely to get wildly different answers, because one size most definitely does not fit all.

Think I wandered OT here somewhere, but I'd swear I was following somebody else ...

Michael J. Hoag
10-17-2009, 01:46 AM
Thanks for the discussion.

1. Just to be clear, "conforms to industry expectations for profit" was adopted as a technical term. I think it's clear if you read below, that I was very careful and thoughtful not to imply that writers were "conforming" just that what they "wish" to write happens to "conform to industry expectations for profit. See how calling those diagrams "Quality" is equally offensive? Unfortunately, this isn't a good venue for such a complicated discussion. So I agree with you here.

2. I didn't say that publishers choose works based on nepotism. "Blaht" is something a little more complex... again, this really isn't the place. What I see in the publishing business is influenced by what I've seen more intimately in the music business (when I was doing the "scamming.") Of course, I've already seen writers be "victims" in the same way, but I'll consider that it's not as bad as it seems to me.

3. I don't believe in evil. I believe in assessing economic realities, and promoting ones that are advantageous to artists. As I've said before in this thread, I believe different forms of publishing, including BIG PUBLISHERS, maybe better for different kinds of writers. As I've said, big publishers are no doubt the best choice for some.

Again, thanks for the discussion. I'm glad your experience has been such a good one. Best of luck with the new book!

And turn me over I'm done!


How will people find the good books?

Luckily, I've found this top-secret industry diagram of "all books received by big publishers" in the current system:
http://www.racerocks.com/racerock/education/curricula/projects/normalcurve.jpg

And someplace in that natural distribution is a vertical line that represents which books "make the cut," like this:

http://idisk.mac.com/luckymortal/Public/normalcurve.jpg

First, something I'm inclined to notice is that this line may move and that there's not likely much difference between the nearest books on one side and the nearest books on the other. Something else I notice is that people complain about terrible published books they read ALL THE TIME at AW.

Now, part of our discussion is how you'd title them there diagrams. And from what I keep hearing in this thread, the title should be "quality."

But these diagrams don't really represent "quality," do they? What they represent is:

Conformity to publisher expectations of profit. (which is not to say that there isn't overlap. There are certainly quality books that also conform to publisher expectations of profit.)

So one problem is that I personally value several objective criteria of "quality" that logically go against the criteria for "conformity to publisher expectations of profit." I think we can all agree here, no?

A second problem is that many people, including people in this thread conflate the two, even to the point of writing off Benjamin Hoff. Hoff, who's a major best-selling author and quite objectively a genius can't find publishers for the books he wants to write so he quit! Benjamin Hoff had a unique and valuable perspective on translating Eastern Philosophy and mysticism for a Western audience. What a loss to our culture! I know at least a dozen people who consider Tao of Pooh their favorite book and he had to fight tooth and nail to get it published under terms that completely screwed him over. I digress...

I've accepted that I will never in my lifetime write a book with as much "quality" as Maso's Ava or Reagan Butcher's Stone Hotel. And while these writers are highly esteemed and loved in their circles, the majority of the book-buying public will assume they're not "good" because they were published by small Indie presses.

So THE INDUSTRY is no meritocracy, and no guarantee that readers can find the good books.

As a final note:

I've never read a good self-published book.
But of the many books I've read this year, all my favorite were published by small Indie presses.

BlackBriar
10-17-2009, 01:48 AM
Except here's a question. Not that I don't agree with that point, like I said, I'm cool with ebooks, just let's not kill off the publishers please. Anyway, my question.

How does such a student study? See when I was in university, come exam time, I'd be sitting on the floor in my room surrounded by open text books, cross referencing points, etc. If all texts are downloaded onto the same one kindle, how do you get the same effect? I know people will say, have many different files open, but the effect of looking around, your eyes skimming for some info without having to know it first then search for it . . .

I'm just saying. It'll save money. And it'll save backs. But there will still be new problems that will crop up.

Yeah, the Amazon Kindle DX thing at 'Harvard?' was a failure for those reasons.

Also, I really don't see text books becoming cheaper. AT ALL! IN ANY FORMAT!

Michael J. Hoag
10-17-2009, 01:59 AM
QFT.

I know a lot of working writers, multi-published and with long careers, and none of them make their living by teaching or trying to teach others how to write.

Most of us are, you know, busy writing the next book.

As for selling people a false dream, go over to the SYW forum and read some of my critiques. I'm hard as hell on aspiring writers, because I know how cruelly difficult it is to not only sell that first book but then to go on and actually build a career as a novelist.

I don't know a single writer interested in offering false dreams and empty promises to those farther down the ladder than we are. And I don't know a single writer who has "the secret" to a successful career as a novelist.

All they know is what I know. We know what worked for us. And to that question you're likely to get wildly different answers, because one size most definitely does not fit all.

Think I wandered OT here somewhere, but I'd swear I was following somebody else ...


Thanks, this part certainly is OT, but I appreciate it. I could well be wrong on this. I've seen a dozen examples and perhaps jumped to conclusions. This is something I might to look into in more detail. I bow to those with the experience. Thanks for informing me.

Rolling Thunder
10-17-2009, 02:19 AM
Closed until off-topic posts are culled.

Rolling Thunder
10-17-2009, 03:47 AM
Thread reopened. Keep it real, people.

Medievalist
10-17-2009, 04:43 AM
I do wish, I really really do, that people would stop talking about ebooks as a new thing.

My first professionally published and produced ebook came out in 1989.

The first company I worked for making ebooks and multimedia cd-rom books, The Voyager Company, did 11 million in business in 1993 or 94.

I've been teaching in university classrooms with ebooks as textbooks in a variety of file formats since 1990.

This Is Not New

Izz
10-17-2009, 05:00 AM
I'm confused. Why would anything change simply because the media changed? Writers still write. Agents still agents. Editors still edit. Publishers still publish. Readers still read.This.

The industry is changing (as it always is) but it's nowhere near as drastic as people make out. People say the music industry died. No, it didn't. It just shifted.

The publishing industry's going the same way. It's shifting. The internet is nothing new. e-books are nothing new. The only thing that's going on here is the typical shift between the popularity of various mediums.

People worry about not getting as much money from e-books being pirated, etc, which has an element of truth to it. But hey, before the internet people used to rip books off right from the publishers. In the front of a book where it says 'if this book has no cover it was sold to you illegally,' or some such. That was the piracy back then. Now the piracy is perhaps more visible, but it's not necessarily more.

The music industry has adapted/is adapting pretty well to the change in popular medium. And it's working out better for consumers and musicians, imo. The publishing industry will too and writers will still get paid for what they do.

There will always be a need for quality control. People will still want to read books that have been previously vetted by a source they can trust. And the fact that the majority of self-published books right now are inferior quality is only reinforcing that need. I have no desire to trawl through tons of garbage to find a diamond if i can ask someone where it is and they'll point it out to me.

(and before people say, 'well, a lot of commercially published books are garbage.' I don't disagree. But from what i've seen, the majority of self-published books are a whole lot worse)

Publishers aren't going away. Agents aren't going away. Professional writers aren't going away. The way business is done is changing, but it's been changing for as long as there's been business.

MGraybosch
10-17-2009, 05:17 AM
I'm not worried. First off, I have bigger fish to fry, like putting together something worth submitting to The Process. Second, I suspect that half of King's angst about the changes taking place today stems from fear that the world is moving on, and he is being left behind.

As for the rest of the article...

As far as I'm concerned, Apple put radio to the sword when they released the iPod, and good riddance. Why should I settle for radio, with its commercials and inability to have any say in what I hear short of changing the channel, when I can decide what music goes on my iPod? Likewise, network TV can bugger off and die. Why should I let networks pander to me in order to sucker me into watching lame commercials when I can read or play a good videogame? As for serious American movies -- hasn't commercialized schlock always done better at the box office than serious Oscar contenders?

Delhomeboy
10-17-2009, 05:52 PM
I'm not worried. First off, I have bigger fish to fry, like putting together something worth submitting to The Process. Second, I suspect that half of King's angst about the changes taking place today stems from fear that the world is moving on, and he is being left behind.


You think anyone with that much money should fear being left behind?

MGraybosch
10-17-2009, 06:11 PM
You think anyone with that much money should fear being left behind?

I'm almost broke, and I'm not afraid of being left behind. In fact, I wish God would hurry up and get the damned literalists off of my planet already. :)

Medievalist
10-17-2009, 06:12 PM
imagine the amount of tax dollars that will be saved when text books can be downloaded. or the money a college student can save by downloading all of their text books into a digital reader.

This is roughly nine years old already. And surprise: there are no cost savings to the student. None. The textbooks in some case cost more.

Neither publisher nor universities worry overmuch about student costs beyond tuition/fees. Students are customers.


the analog experience, a book in the hands, will one day be nostalgic. a book going to print will one day be reserved for those digitized books that sell over 100k copies. a kind of status earned by the story, or voted upon by the readership. what's happening is a good thing. there will be growing pains, but ultimatly it will expand the possible readership for all stories available. that to me is what counts. being read. all we need to worry about is doing what we love to do. once it's done and is out there, online, it will work for us.

This is the book-as-talisman argument, and it is inherently false.

Why?

The book will last longer than the digital file.

The digital file depends on local, limited technology to be read; the book doesn't.

The printed codex book is here to stay--but so are digital books. They are not competitors.

MGraybosch
10-17-2009, 06:13 PM
The book will last longer than the digital file.

The digital file depends on local, limited technology to be read; the book doesn't

Also: printed books don't need batteries.

BlackBriar
10-17-2009, 07:55 PM
This is roughly nine years old already. And surprise: there are no cost savings to the student. None. The textbooks in some case cost more.

Neither publisher nor universities worry overmuch about student costs beyond tuition/fees. Students are customers.



This is the book-as-talisman argument, and it is inherently false.

Why?

The book will last longer than the digital file.

The digital file depends on local, limited technology to be read; the book doesn't.

The printed codex book is here to stay--but so are digital books. They are not competitors.

Yeah, it does. They are called computers, aren't exactly 'local' (as we are proving right now) and while limited, so are books. Only so many hard drives in the world, only so much paper; yet both are virtually unlimited. Also books require a literate population. What is in more danger today? Young people who don't read as well as they should (whatever that means...), or young people who can't use a computer?

That was just nitpicking though.


Also: printed books don't need batteries.

http://www.engadget.com/2009/10/12/lgs-solar-cell-e-book-goes-an-extra-day-for-every-5-hours-sunli/

;) That makes the job of charging simpler. Course you need batteries that die really slow over the years. Will probably see something like that within our lifetimes though.

#

Where are the complaints about audio books?

1. Often digital format.
2. No need to read the book, just listen.
3. No need for a hard copy.
4. More efficient with new technology (iPods, ebook readers)
5. Can be pirated.
6. They cost a lot.

Course, publishers have a death grip on audio books, so that could be why.

maestrowork
10-17-2009, 09:36 PM
Where are the complaints about audio books?...
Course, publishers have a death grip on audio books, so that could be why.

With text-to-speech (and natural voices) available on eBook readers now, audiobooks in the current expensive incarnation would likely to be a thing of the past... There are always free or very affordable audiobooks online (podcasts, etc.)


But I agree... it doesn't matter what formats, people will still need stories. And writers still write. The difference is how people consume, when and where. But the supply-demand is not going to decrease. In fact, I'd say people continue to want more and better stories.

Delhomeboy
10-18-2009, 12:38 AM
Yeah, it does. They are called computers, aren't exactly 'local' (as we are proving right now) and while limited, so are books. Only so many hard drives in the world, only so much paper; yet both are virtually unlimited. Also books require a literate population. What is in more danger today? Young people who don't read as well as they should (whatever that means...), or young people who can't use a computer?



Don't you need to be able to read to use a computer?

MGraybosch
10-18-2009, 01:02 AM
Don't you need to be able to read to use a computer?

It helps.

Williebee
10-18-2009, 01:10 AM
Don't you need to be able to read to use a computer?

Next time you order fast food, go inside. Look across the counter at the touchpad of the computer terminal the person taking your order is using. Reading? Not so much.

:(

BlackBriar
10-18-2009, 01:26 AM
Don't you need to be able to read to use a computer?

No, you really don't if the OS is color, picture, and sound based. Course I don't think such a computer exists..... But as Williebee said, you can always have a picture based interface. Posting, messaging can be done through audio. Not too far fetched, just inefficient.

Richard White
10-18-2009, 01:55 AM
Of course, you're depending on backward compatible technology.

For some reason my Word Perfect 13 doesn't read Enable 2.0 files very well, much less my old Word*Star files and those files on the 5.25 floppies are darn hard to read these days much less the files I had on cassette tapes.

However, the books on my shelf that were printed in 1899 are still as readable as the books I bought last week.

No backward compatibility issues there.

Medievalist
10-18-2009, 02:45 AM
Yeah, it does. They are called computers, aren't exactly 'local' (as we are proving right now) and while limited, so are books. se, publishers have a death grip on audio books, so that could be why.

You are not understanding the complexity, at all.

Digital books require a digital file--what format? What protocols?
What sort of technical device is required to read the file?
What sort of DRM does it use?
What sort of fonts technology is required?
What sort of power?

These are technologies that change, constantly. They are limited and local technologies--in that they are not universal. You can't purchase most of the U.S. DRM /Kindle books in the U.K. You can't use a computer you purchase in the U.S. out of the box in the U.K.

Moreover, DRM more often than not ties a digital file to a specific device; another local technology.

Digital books that were professionally published ten years ago are now in incompatible file formats; you need to find the specific device and OS and application to read them that they were created for.

I can read a manuscript, or a printed codex book, or even a cuneiform tablet. They are all portable, non-local technologies.

A printed book on acid free paper is still the preferred archival format.

The archive life of a DVD or CD-ROM is seven to ten years, even when stored under archival conditions.

And in ten years, it's a fair bet that the file format will have to be manipulated or converted.

The archive life of a printed book printed on even low acid paper and properly stored in archival conditions is two thousand years.

The archive life of a properly produced vellum ms. is even longer.

Now, I love ebooks; I've made a fair living at creating them, and I've purchased hundreds.

But they're the enemy or competition for printed books; they're just a different container.

A better comparison would be the rise of the paper back book.

BlackBriar
10-18-2009, 02:46 AM
Of course, you're depending on backward compatible technology.

For some reason my Word Perfect 13 doesn't read Enable 2.0 files very well, much less my old Word*Star files and those files on the 5.25 floppies are darn hard to read these days much less the files I had on cassette tapes.

However, the books on my shelf that were printed in 1899 are still as readable as the books I bought last week.

No backward compatibility issues there.

:D A txt file is a txt file is a txt file and everything supports txt files (i think...).

Of course, I agree. Doesn't help that there are too many formats to keep the reader locked in.

*whistles* Course, I could say that languages change over time and... :D No, let us end this. Not really important and off the subject.

Medievalist
10-18-2009, 02:54 AM
:D A txt file is a txt file is a txt file and everything supports txt files (i think...)..

No, you're wrong.

A DOS text file is substantially different in its internal file structures than windows 3.1 or 98 or Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X.

When you write file conversion software there are three sorts ofbasic conversion, and then a fourth catch all "weirdness" category:

1. The file structure--the way the data is stored and described in the file.
2. The file encoding--i.e. .txt is ASCII text. But that's not really adequate for any sort of "book"--it's just ASCII characters, Roman letters and Arabic numbers, only, and paragraphs. No margins. No page breaks. Just end of file. No italics etc.
3. The application encoding--for anything other than .txt. Even .RTF comes in dialects and flavors, and the formatting data beyond the very basic stuff is encoded differently.
4. For older files there's also the esoteric font issues; there are several historical ways of relating font data, and this can create problems with all sorts of ebook and word processor files. Even postscript now has several versions; and no, they're not mutually compatible.

I can read Cuneiform tablets; my Mac can't read the files I created on a VAX using Wordstar mumbledy mumble years ago.

BlackBriar
10-18-2009, 03:03 AM
You are not understanding the complexity, at all.

Digital books require a digital file--what format? What protocols?
What sort of technical device is required to read the file?
What sort of DRM does it use?
What sort of fonts technology is required?
What sort of power?

These are technologies that change, constantly. They are limited and local technologies--in that they are not universal. You can't purchase most of the U.S. DRM /Kindle books in the U.K. You can't use a computer you purchase in the U.S. out of the box in the U.K.

Moreover, DRM more often than not ties a digital file to a specific device; another local technology.


Thanks for making the presumption I know nothing about ebooks and the formats: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158950

I already know about DRM, and the different formats and compatibility problems. Maybe not in the detail that you know, but I hardly think it matters. Course the half-joke language problem I mentioned in my post just above can be used as a comparison. Just as you would need a translator for a book created in Russian, you would need a translator (program) for the formats and drm. So, your point stands moot.

And as I've said above, the plain txt format (yes, there are differences between encodings that need to be taken into account) still has it's value and a good bit of support. Your argument is based on the companies deciding the ebook formats and that they are automatically limited because of that. I recognize that the consumer decides what format succeeds (mp3 over aac, atrac, wma) and it seems that the consumer wants .epub if the readers that are coming out and support it are any indication. Still too early to decide though.

Also, the fact that there are books from a decade ago that can't be (probably cause no one cares enough to do so) read on modern systems, doesn't mean they can't be read on modern systems if some programmers had the will to make it so. Course, it's not really important.

You seem to think that books are created out of the air. Guess what? They take time and money too, a lot more (I would assume) than a ebook. So let's not get into a discussion on whether or not ebooks or hard copies will last longer. Only wild guessing can tell us.

Edit: Yes, backwards compatibility is an issue (if you're talking about formats from the 80s and before). What is your point? We are in 2009, get with the times and support a format that can easily be converted. Whether it's unicode txt or .html.

BTW, I'm out of this thread. Really off-topic.

Richard White
10-18-2009, 03:10 AM
What? You can't read Beowulf in the original Old English?

Slacker

Medievalist
10-18-2009, 04:32 AM
Thanks for making the presumption I know nothing about ebooks and the formats: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158950

I'm not making the assumption dude, you're demonstrating it.


Just as you would need a translator for a book created in Russian, you would need a translator (program) for the formats and drm. So, your point stands moot.

No, actually, it doesn't. This is hard stuff. This is stuff that corporations, and film studios and universities and think tanks like RAND spend millions of dollars worrying about.

We have data at places like NASA, the Treasury department, and hundreds of universities that we can't read or access any longer, stored on media like magnetic tapes, drives, and discs, and CD-ROMS.

We have no way of even getting the data off some of the tape drives.


And as I've said above, the plain txt format (yes, there are differences between encodings that need to be taken into account) still has it's value and a good bit of support. Your argument is based on the companies deciding the ebook formats and that they are automatically limited because of that. I recognize that the consumer decides what format succeeds (mp3 over aac, atrac, wma) and it seems that the consumer wants .epub if the readers that are coming out and support it are any indication. Still too early to decide though.

Again, you're speaking hypothetically; I'm speaking as someone in the trenches.

NASA is struggling now with trying to get data off old mag tapes; they've had to send out international searches for working parts for the mag tape drives. Look at Britain's Digital Doomsday book (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/mar/03/research.elearning) and the effort to get the data of a digital resource that was already obsolete. JPL is desperately trying to find parts for their old mag drives with old raw Voyager data that they want to re-analyze with modern techniques.

This, by the way, is the best current report (www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/2008/RAND_RB9331.pdf) on the entire problem of digital archives.


You seem to think that books are created out of the air. Guess what? They take time and money too, a lot more (I would assume) than a ebook. So let's not get into a discussion on whether or not ebooks or hard copies will last longer. Only wild guessing can tell us.

We have no media for digital data storage that is considered to be safe for more than ten years. None. Zip. Zero. Look at concepts like data rot, cd-rom rot, and laser rot.

Even glass masters have proven inadequate as archival quality. The stop gap of re-copying data from one file format and media to a newer one has proven costly, and it doesn't work--just as with multiple divisions of biological data, the data eventually gets damaged; a loose atom resets the odd zero and one.

Google data rot. It's a huge problem.

Since I've actually worked in publishing, have typeset books, have been trained as an archivist and codicologist, and produced and collected royalties on both ebooks and multimedia CD-ROMs, I rather suspect I know a heck of a lot more about it than you do--which is why I'm not talking hypotheticals or nice theories that I'd like to be true.

For instance, the claim that it is "cheaper" to produce an ebook is bull shit. The process is identical up to the point where you fork the data to go to a printer. The book production is the same process until you print. Most costs for book manufacture are not in the printing or distribution; they are in the production, acquisition and marketing.

Medievalist
10-18-2009, 04:41 AM
What? You can't read Beowulf in the original Old English?

Slacker

:D

Funny you mention Beowulf. As you know, we only have Beowulf in a single manuscript, from, depending on who you ask, somewhere within a hundred years of 900.

It was badly damaged in a fire. It's pretty bad looking (http://omgihateblackboard.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/beowulflge.jpg), by most people's standards. There are burned bits, holes, places it's rubbed bare, so that the ink is no longer possible to read.

Scholars had to figure out how to read Old English in the eighteenth century, working backwards from known modern languages.

It's the kind of problem we're already having, magnified with digital documents; we know how a ms. works. We know how to turn the pages, which way the letters go, etc. Think about learning the way the reading device works, the way the data is stored, and the fact that unlike the codex manuscript, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of variations.

Richard White
10-18-2009, 08:23 AM
One of my friends is facing the issues you have.

He's a historian with the US Air Force. They're having a devil of a time moving TONS of data from Microfiche to anything that's currently readable. They only have X number of working microfiche readers and only X number of historians who're free to work on the project at any time.

It's a mountainous effort and there's stuff they'll probably never get moved. They just have to decide what's more important to save and hope they have time to get to it. I mean, it's not like the AF isn't creating new data every day that has to be cataloged, filed and stored somewhere.

Medievalist
10-18-2009, 08:28 AM
It's a mountainous effort and there's stuff they'll probably never get moved. They just have to decide what's more important to save and hope they have time to get to it. I mean, it's not like the AF isn't creating new data every day that has to be cataloged, filed and stored somewhere.

There are OCR machines for microfiche; LOC has a couple, and have on occasion worked with archivists at university libraries to do batch scanning.

It's not great, but it's better than nothing. Particularly since a fair number of microfiche collections are becoming too brittle to use.

CheshireCat
10-19-2009, 01:59 AM
Most costs for book manufacture are not in the printing or distribution


That's not what most publishers say. ;) I can't count how many times I've heard a pub representative complain about the cost of printing and shipping the books.

IMO, storage has always been a big cost, and I do believe that cost is less for electronic storage. Yeah, I know that storage and the devices needed to read content change (I speak as someone who had to have numerous books copied from the big 5+ inch floppies -- anybody remember them? -- to the smaller disks, and then finally have them burned to CDs and copied onto hard drive backups), which is one reason I also believe print books will never go the way of the dinosaur.

Medievalist
10-19-2009, 02:33 AM
That's not what most publishers say. ;) I can't count how many times I've heard a pub representative complain about the cost of printing and shipping the books.

The publisher's rep isn't going to know about production costs.

Look.

Right up to the point the digital file is sent to a printer, the cost for a professional ebook and a trade paperback are identical--because it's the same file.

To publish trade paperbacks in bulk quantities (think at least a genre novel from a major publisher) on a Web press (nothing to do with Web/Internet) costs the publisher, in terms of paper/ink/printing, under 2.00/book. If the book is a Danielle Steele level of release, pre-booked with a printing slot, it might be under a 1.00/copy.

Warehouse and shipping are expensive--but so are servers, bandwidth, security and DRM licenses and IT people to take care of them.

The post production marketing costs are pretty much identical.

Seriously, the main costs of book production are pre-print/dump. It's why it's such a big deal when you can tell a publisher "Sure, we can write scripts to use xlst and AppleScript to turn your InDesign/FrameMaker/Quark file into open e-book or whatever; it's a huge labor savings.

The end product still has to go through QA, but at the printer, there's a QA person doing similar things with samples from the 25K press run.

CheshireCat
10-19-2009, 03:56 AM
Not arguing with you. Just commenting on what the pub's "poor us" company line tends to be.

Most of the editors and other reps aren't educated enough about DRM and other aspects of this new digital age we're in to toss those numbers around.


The post production marketing costs are pretty much identical.


How so? I'm assuming in marketing an ebook one wouldn't necessarily take out print ads, and one certainly wouldn't pay co-op to bookstores -- which I'm told are the two largest marketing expenses for print books.

Medievalist
10-19-2009, 04:42 AM
How so? I'm assuming in marketing an ebook one wouldn't necessarily take out print ads, and one certainly wouldn't pay co-op to bookstores -- which I'm told are the two largest marketing expenses for print books.

But you do take out print ads, especially for genre fiction! Often the same print ads with two sets of ISBNs. Keep in mind that bookstores and libraries buy direct from publishers. And then the same Web ad can go to a book page, like Tor's pages, with both the print and the digital book available.

Plus you can use the same forking process from Illustrator or Photoshop to prepare one ad for print and another for the Web /mobiles, etc. -- it's all a question of workflow.

And that there are a number of bookstores that are online that deal only in e-books.

Now what's beginning to heat up is the can-we-lend-ebooks issue from public libraries; Amazon is saying no. Libraries are saying yes; we can lend a Kindle loaded with books to a borrower Just Fine. Or a Sony eReader . . . Barnes and Noble are advertising directly to libraries with a special bulk purchase deal on readers and content.

We live in interesting times.

STKlingaman
10-19-2009, 05:21 AM
Giving the people what they want,
isn't always what is best for them
or wise. But the almighty dollar,
is what decides things in our present
society, and I don't see any change
in that either.

Much like the lobbyist for billion dollar
companies that run this country. Who
shell out millions of dollars to grease
policy makers pockets.

You decide everyday when you buy
a $4 cup of coffee,
$6 for a pack of killer-cigarettes,
a $9 movie ticket,
a $30 steak, or a
$2000 flat screen TV.

No one is standing behind you with
a gun.

Salis
10-19-2009, 05:50 AM
I do wish, I really really do, that people would stop talking about ebooks as a new thing.

My first professionally published and produced ebook came out in 1989.

The first company I worked for making ebooks and multimedia cd-rom books, The Voyager Company, did 11 million in business in 1993 or 94.

I've been teaching in university classrooms with ebooks as textbooks in a variety of file formats since 1990.

This Is Not New

BUT A BALD WHITE GUY IS TELLING US TO BUY AN E-READER NOW!

The bald-white-guy is like the point-of-no-return for tech trends. The Ipod taught us this.

MGraybosch
10-19-2009, 06:13 AM
Giving the people what they want,
isn't always what is best for them
or wise.

I have always found this attitude offensive. Sure, people make stupid decisions on their behalf. They smoke, they drink solutions of high-fructose corn syrup as if it were water, and they continue to trust people who claim to have their best interests at heart. However, people make even stupider decisions on other people's behalf and at other people's expense.

If you want to say that individuals cannot be trusted to decide for themselves, be prepared to tell me why individuals should be trusted to decide for others.

Wordwrestler
10-19-2009, 08:48 AM
I have always found this attitude offensive. Sure, people make stupid decisions on their behalf. They smoke, they drink solutions of high-fructose corn syrup as if it were water, and they continue to trust people who claim to have their best interests at heart. However, people make even stupider decisions on other people's behalf and at other people's expense.

If you want to say that individuals cannot be trusted to decide for themselves, be prepared to tell me why individuals should be trusted to decide for others.

QFT. Great point, well put. Whatever we think of the changes in the industry (mostly they scare me) this is still true.

lucidzfl
10-19-2009, 07:35 PM
I think its hillarious that people are so worried about piracy. People have been screaming about how piracy was going to ruin the world for years.

"Piracy is going to ruin the film industry." We've still got movies making billions of dollars.

"Piracy is going to ruin the music industry." We've still got musicians making millions of dolalrs.

"Piracy is going to ruin the writing industry."

Sound familiar?

Delhomeboy
10-19-2009, 08:16 PM
I think its hillarious that people are so worried about piracy. People have been screaming about how piracy was going to ruin the world for years.

"Piracy is going to ruin the film industry." We've still got movies making billions of dollars.

"Piracy is going to ruin the music industry." We've still got musicians making millions of dolalrs.

"Piracy is going to ruin the writing industry."

Sound familiar?

I still do think that the writing industry would take a harder hit, simply because music and movies have built in advantages. You go see a movie in theaters, you have the atmosphere, the big screen, the sound. You pirate one, and, well, your results may vary. Same with music.

But with writing, there's literally no change. If you by a bunch of text on the kindle, or pirate it, what's going to be the difference? Are the words going to be blurry? I don't think it would ruin the writing industry, but I DO think there'd be even more incentive that for the other two industries.

Richard White
10-19-2009, 10:12 PM
I think its hillarious that people are so worried about piracy. People have been screaming about how piracy was going to ruin the world for years.

"Piracy is going to ruin the film industry." We've still got movies making billions of dollars.

"Piracy is going to ruin the music industry." We've still got musicians making millions of dolalrs.

"Piracy is going to ruin the writing industry."

Sound familiar?


May not ruin the writing industry, per se.

Still, they're stealing money that rightfully belongs to me.

So, yeah, I take piracy personally.

narnia
10-19-2009, 10:16 PM
I think its hillarious that people are so worried about piracy. People have been screaming about how piracy was going to ruin the world for years.

"Piracy is going to ruin the film industry." We've still got movies making billions of dollars.

"Piracy is going to ruin the music industry." We've still got musicians making millions of dolalrs.

"Piracy is going to ruin the writing industry."

Sound familiar?

Actually, I just returned from Bouchercon and one of the panels I sat in on was comprised of agents and editors who will probably disagree with you. Naturally the Kindle question was brought up, and the folks on the panel said that piracy was indeed a great concern. The main points were that many people make the comparisons above and they are wrong. Yes, the music and film industries did suffer losses in the beginning, but they have adapted by taking advantage of alternate revenue streams, such as product tie-ins and concert tours. The publishing industry does not have those same types of industry extensions for the most part, and many industry professionals are hard at work to ensure the future of books. And no, there has not been any break-though ideas as of yet.

In addition, some of the panelists did own a Kindle and said they found them very useful for reading manuscripts etc, but they would never replace their books.

As I wandered about the conference I saw quite a few Kindles, and spoke with folks here and there to see what they had to say about their Kindle. Many folks said they loved their Kindle for travelling, especially in this day and age of increased flying costs and the sheer convenience of being able to bring a multitude of books along on a trip. Others said that it was exciting to be able to immediately download a book that a new-to-them author had just told them about, no line no waiting. :) One lady told me that she had a large collection of autographed books that she could leave intact on her bookshelves and downloaded them to actually read. As someone who buys hardcovers to get signed and then buys the paperback to read (I am way behind on my reading so it works out for me :)) I can totally understand that. And not one of the people I spoke to said they would stop buying books, in fact it was quite the opposite.

But yes, piracy is indeed a great concern and after listening to their reasons why (there was more discussion but I am only relating what is in my notes so as not to misspeak) I can understand their concern.

JM2C

lucidzfl
10-19-2009, 10:23 PM
I still do think that the writing industry would take a harder hit, simply because music and movies have built in advantages. You go see a movie in theaters, you have the atmosphere, the big screen, the sound. You pirate one, and, well, your results may vary. Same with music.

But with writing, there's literally no change. If you by a bunch of text on the kindle, or pirate it, what's going to be the difference? Are the words going to be blurry? I don't think it would ruin the writing industry, but I DO think there'd be even more incentive that for the other two industries.

Everyone thinks their industry will be the hardest hit. They really do. Do any of you realize how much mp3s revolutionized things?

In a matter of a few years, we went from having cds, comprised of songs which were tens of megs a piece (if you were smart enough to rip a song from a cd to a wav file) shrank to higher quality sound files which can be grabbed from almost any source in a matter of seconds, not hours.

Within those few years, cd players have become pretty much obsolete and mp3 players are unbelievably prominent, having nearly completely wiped out that industry. (The wipe out WILL be complete soon).

Now, minus the iTunes, and the other DRM based services, mp3s have no inherent drm, are easily shareable, and people often give someone their entire library (Thousands of songs) on 5 dollar zip drives to rip to their computers.

You can not get any easier with piracy than this. Songs, libraries, mp3s, gigs and gigs of data are handed out at a whim.

Has the music industry crashed?

In fact, the music industry in america, despite our being in a country wide recession is showing an average of 4% profitability growth per YEAR over the last several years.

Wheres the crash? Where are the fires? Where are the artists complaining that they got turned down for a record deal not because of their talent but because of the nasty piracy eating into the coffers of the beleagured Music Industry giants?

Exactly.

lucidzfl
10-19-2009, 10:26 PM
Actually, I just returned from Bouchercon and one of the panels I sat in on was comprised of agents and editors who will probably disagree with you. Naturally the Kindle question was brought up, and the folks on the panel said that piracy was indeed a great concern. The main points were that many people make the comparisons above and they are wrong. Yes, the music and film industries did suffer losses in the beginning, but they have adapted by taking advantage of alternate revenue streams, such as product tie-ins and concert tours. The publishing industry does not have those same types of industry extensions for the most part, and many industry professionals are hard at work to ensure the future of books. And no, there has not been any break-though ideas as of yet.

In addition, some of the panelists did own a Kindle and said they found them very useful for reading manuscripts etc, but they would never replace their books.

As I wandered about the conference I saw quite a few Kindles, and spoke with folks here and there to see what they had to say about their Kindle. Many folks said they loved their Kindle for travelling, especially in this day and age of increased flying costs and the sheer convenience of being able to bring a multitude of books along on a trip. Others said that it was exciting to be able to immediately download a book that a new-to-them author had just told them about, no line no waiting. :) One lady told me that she had a large collection of autographed books that she could leave intact on her bookshelves and downloaded them to actually read. As someone who buys hardcovers to get signed and then buys the paperback to read (I am way behind on my reading so it works out for me :)) I can totally understand that. And not one of the people I spoke to said they would stop buying books, in fact it was quite the opposite.

But yes, piracy is indeed a great concern and after listening to their reasons why (there was more discussion but I am only relating what is in my notes so as not to misspeak) I can understand their concern.

JM2C

I'm not saying piracy isn't a concern. Its always a concern. I'm just saying that every time piracy threatens an industry, the industry gets his hackles raised and screams that its going to bankrupt them. Notice its usually the big wigs talking about how it'll only hurt the little guy. Yeah, the billionaires just worry about us little guys and unknowns. PLEASE.

Also, in response to someone above who said that being an author, piracy did scare you.

Holy shit. I would give my left testicle to be so freaking prolific, that people had heard of me and someone would go to the TROUBLE of pirating my work.

If I'm an unknown, have no published works, and no one has heard of me, why would someone bother pirating my work? It takes a measure of success to draw the attention of the pirate, so to that I say.

I would LOVE to be successful enough that someone would pirate my stuff.

narnia
10-19-2009, 11:24 PM
I'm not saying piracy isn't a concern. Its always a concern. I'm just saying that every time piracy threatens an industry, the industry gets his hackles raised and screams that its going to bankrupt them. Notice its usually the big wigs talking about how it'll only hurt the little guy. Yeah, the billionaires just worry about us little guys and unknowns. PLEASE.

Also, in response to someone above who said that being an author, piracy did scare you.

Holy shit. I would give my left testicle to be so freaking prolific, that people had heard of me and someone would go to the TROUBLE of pirating my work.

If I'm an unknown, have no published works, and no one has heard of me, why would someone bother pirating my work? It takes a measure of success to draw the attention of the pirate, so to that I say.

I would LOVE to be successful enough that someone would pirate my stuff.

My only disagreement would be that the industry professionals who were commenting were agents and editors, and I don't think that they are the 'billionaire big wigs' of the publishing industry. When I said 'publishing industry' I meant that to include the entire industry, not just the people at the top of the food chain.

I have met and talked with a multitude of industry professionals in all capacities, from folks as high up as Tom Doherty to debut authors anxious that someone out there will love their book as much as they do. Everyone has had one thing in common, they love good books. I have heard it repeated often that you don't go into publishing to make it rich, and I believe that is true for the most part. Many authors I have met, big names that may surprise you, still work at least a part time job. Some because they like to, but many because they have to. They are certainly not making their agents rich.

As for being 'big' enough for someone to want to steal my work, well, I used to own a diner, and let me tell you, it really pi$$ed me off when I would catch employees stealing by keeping the money left on the table by a customer to pay the bill for a meal I had just spent 15 or so minutes preparing for them. (Yes, I paid them a good wage!). I can't imagine I would feel any differently about someone stealing a copy of a book that had taken me a year or more to create.

Medievalist
10-19-2009, 11:24 PM
But with writing, there's literally no change. If you by a bunch of text on the kindle, or pirate it, what's going to be the difference? Are the words going to be blurry? I don't think it would ruin the writing industry, but I DO think there'd be even more incentive that for the other two industries.

Oh yes there is -- a large part of Harlan Ellison's personal outrage over the AOL/UseNet pirating of his works by an ostensible fan was that they were poorly scanned in, poorly proofed files that did not do his works good service.

An awful lot of illegal etexts are made by cracking the drm and just doing a crude dump of the text; they are not formatted and there's lots of binary garbage.

CheshireCat
10-20-2009, 02:15 AM
But you do take out print ads, especially for genre fiction! Often the same print ads with two sets of ISBNs. Keep in mind that bookstores and libraries buy direct from publishers. And then the same Web ad can go to a book page, like Tor's pages, with both the print and the digital book available.



Okay. Then in the publishers' books, which gets charged for these promotional/marketing costs? Is the cost split between print and ebook versions?

Look, I've been in this game long enough that I've worked for several big houses, known countless authors, editors, and agents, and I've kept my eyes open and my ear to the ground. And I've had a very successful career, which is getting better still.

So this is not bitterness talking when I say that I firmly believe publishers can make the number say whatever they want, just like Hollywood can make their numbers say whatever they want.

I flat-out do not believe that production, marketing, and promo costs for ebooks are higher than those for print books, or even as high, and until somebody from outside the industry does an audit and proves me wrong, I'll continue to believe that. Hell, I don't believe these costs for print books are anything like as high as publishers claim, not for the majority of books published.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If publishers are making so little money, and losing as much as they claim on this book or that, then they would have gone out of business a long time ago.

Just my opinion, of course. But I've been around the publishing block a few times, and I consider it an educated opinion.

But then, I would, wouldn't I?

:)

Delhomeboy
10-20-2009, 04:31 AM
Oh yes there is -- a large part of Harlan Ellison's personal outrage over the AOL/UseNet pirating of his works by an ostensible fan was that they were poorly scanned in, poorly proofed files that did not do his works good service.

An awful lot of illegal etexts are made by cracking the drm and just doing a crude dump of the text; they are not formatted and there's lots of binary garbage.

lol Medievalist, your role on the forums should simply be to put ignorant ppl in their place.

Blarg
10-23-2009, 12:46 AM
In the future, books will probably be downloaded a page at a time onto an Etch-A-Sketch. The DRM is already built into the viewer itself, and would be unusually difficult to hack.

lucidzfl
10-23-2009, 01:20 AM
I bought a $400 dollar steak once.


Giving the people what they want,
isn't always what is best for them
or wise. But the almighty dollar,
is what decides things in our present
society, and I don't see any change
in that either.

Much like the lobbyist for billion dollar
companies that run this country. Who
shell out millions of dollars to grease
policy makers pockets.

You decide everyday when you buy
a $4 cup of coffee,
$6 for a pack of killer-cigarettes,
a $9 movie ticket,
a $30 steak, or a
$2000 flat screen TV.

No one is standing behind you with
a gun.

MGraybosch
10-23-2009, 02:16 AM
I bought a $400 dollar steak once.

Did you enjoy it?

lucidzfl
10-23-2009, 03:26 AM
Did you enjoy it?

What I ate of it I did. I couldn't finish. Its a long story but that was an $800 meal... When I think of the fact that I left food on the plates it literally makes me want to cry :(

Selah March
10-23-2009, 03:40 AM
I'm not saying piracy isn't a concern. Its always a concern. I'm just saying that every time piracy threatens an industry, the industry gets his hackles raised and screams that its going to bankrupt them. Notice its usually the big wigs talking about how it'll only hurt the little guy. Yeah, the billionaires just worry about us little guys and unknowns. PLEASE.

Also, in response to someone above who said that being an author, piracy did scare you.

Holy shit. I would give my left testicle to be so freaking prolific, that people had heard of me and someone would go to the TROUBLE of pirating my work.

If I'm an unknown, have no published works, and no one has heard of me, why would someone bother pirating my work? It takes a measure of success to draw the attention of the pirate, so to that I say.

I would LOVE to be successful enough that someone would pirate my stuff.

I guess it depends on your definitions.

If things pan out the way I think they will, I'll earn something in the low four-figures with my ebooks this year. I'm pubbed with two small epubs and one tiny indie pub who just began an ebook line a year or so ago.

All my published books can be found on pirate sites, often with a little digit next to the download link (actually a link to a file-sharing site) showing the number of folks who've downloaded the book. In a few cases, I've seen numbers in the hundreds. That's a chunk of change when you're only making a few thousand.

The difference between me and someone who sings songs for a living is that your average performing artist doesn't make his/her money from selling CDs or mp3 downloads. The real cash is now -- and has been for a while -- in touring and in merchandise.

As much as I often dream of reading my books aloud in Giant Stadium to a sold-out crowd, I doubt it'll happen tomorrow. And while my kids love their "My mom wrote a smutty book and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" from Cafe Press, I don't plan to turn a profit on those, either.

I'm lucky in that my husband's work supports our family. I know writers who use their royalties from ebooks to put food on the table and keep the lights on. Piracy hurts real people, today.

MGraybosch
10-23-2009, 05:55 AM
What I ate of it I did.

Then nothing else matters.