Another great ebook idea…or maybe, not.

J.A. Konrath has an interesting blog post up about what he sees as the future of ebooks…

I… I just can’t agree with his vision of the future. It seems that any writer I come in contact with who has some "great idea" of how to sell more ebooks is basically ALREADY a sucess in the paper publishing industry, so selling ebooks isn’t their primary income. Instead they sell their ebooks to the customers who already know OF them and are basically buying ebooks to fill up the gaps in their paper collection. They’re not necessarily taking a risk by buying an old friend.

So I think his numbers are rather… well, unrealistic. At least for all the new authors out there who will see this as a sign that ebooks arethe way to go, rush to put their books out with Createspace up on Amazon and then wait for the money to roll in… which it most likely, won’t.

I don’t think ebooks will EVER be free. Not good ones, anyway. Yes, some ebooks are free out there, but usually it’s for promotional purposes and the like, which has worked with me. I got the first books in the Miller’s Kill series and Old Man’s War from Tor, IIRC, and of course the freebies from Harlequin for their anniversary… but those have encouraged me to pay for the newest ones, in paper form along with the back issues, again, in paper form. I didn’t get "Little Brother" because I’m not interested in left-wing silliness and I’m not impressed with Doctorow’s belief that if he releases all of his books for free online, people will pay for them in paperback form. Why? Because he’s ALREADY SUCCESSFUL and the sales are going to happen, one way or the other. I’d be more impressed if a publisher took a relative unknown and tried this experiment, not some author who already has a fan base and thus the sales are already going to be there.

I don’t want ebooks to be free, frankly. Free doesn’t mean good, as anyone who’s spent a second reading fanfiction can tell you – and while it’s hard to get people to pay anything for fiction I don’t think that means chucking in the towel and giving it all away. I just can’t resolve myself to that way of thinking. To me, it’s giving into the pirates who are already stealing money from the hard-working authors.

Meanwhile, Konrath gets money from authors who want to advertise in the backs of his ebooks. Other established authors give away some works for free and screech about that’s the way society is running while they sign off on contracts for paper editions that will sell way more than the ebooks, and spread their names further. And more self-pub authors race to put work up on Amazon that’s not ready for primetime or worse, that could be really good reading in the hands of a good editor and publisher – but it’s the race for the fast cash that’ll be their undoing.

Man, I’m grumpy today.


thoughts? comments?

Free ebooks sell more books?

Interesting commentary here about the free ebooks that Tor has been giving away.

Me, I’m still in the neutral spot. I’ve become a fan of the Julia Spencer-Fleming series because of the free ebooks from St. Martin’s Press, but I’m not sure if I’m the norm or not when it comes to boosting sales of the sequels or paper versions of the freebies. I guess it’s still coming back around to the problem of an affordable ebook reader that’ll be user-friendly.

Did Tor’s free ebooks affect sales? 

I’ve yet to receive the sales listings on my own book for the ebook sales at Fictionwise, but I don’t think there’ll be much there. I just don’t see ebooks as the real future of publishing until a cheap, user-friendly ebook reader is available to the public. And NO, I don’t mean the Kindle for over three hundred bucks or the Sony ebook reader for just under three hundred. If I can watch movies and television eps on a screen definitely meant to give me a rush into the trifocal stage of my life and that costs less than three hundred dollars, why can’t they come up with a reader for less?

Come on, folks – get a format for everyone to agree on and crank out those readers! I can bet that university students will be thrilled not to mention all of us who just want to read, not spend hours transferring formats and trying to break through security formats.

When free IS good…

I received an offer not too long ago from St. Martin’s Press for two free ebooks – the first two in the Claire Ferguson/Russ Van Alyne series by Julia Spencer-Fleming. They were giving them away to celebrate the sixth in the series coming out in hardcover.

I totally devoured the first two. And swapped for the third, using my PaperbookSwap account. Which I highly recommend if you’re into trading books and looking for older titles.

Just purchased the fifth in the series with a Borders coupon which we get for being such excellent customers and having a Borders Card. Now looking for the fourth by hook or by crook, since it’s been out for a bit and harder to find.

I CANNOT recommend this mystery series enough. It’s from a first-time author who hit the ball right outta the park with her first novel (putting yet more nails in the naysayers who claim that no one gets published without contacts) and won a slew of awards right out of the gate. It’s an excellent read involving a Priest and a Police Chief with a touch of romance and more than enough twists and turns to make the trip well worth it for every volume to date. If you’re looking for a good series with a tough ex-army broad kicking butt while wearing a clerical collar and an ex-‘Nam vet dealing with his own demons, go search this series out.

’nuff said.

p.s. Our computer has totally died, so we’re going to have to go shopping tonight for a new one. Oh, joy.

p.p.s. D-Man – nothing here. At least I blogged about a good book, eh? And you can find it in stores!