Nathan Bransford, Author

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Choose Your Own E-book Adventure - E-books Catch On

The e-book market is growing very quickly and is about to undergo an enormous change. Some publishers are seeking to establish an "agency" model for e-book sales going forward, where they establish prices and the e-book vendor receives a commission for sales. One of their goals is to increase the amount of competition among e-book vendors by establishing the same deal across the board.

Do you think this is going to work? Will other companies enter the fray? Are there going to be many different e-book vendors or will a couple big players (Apple, Amazon, etc.) dominate the field?

Many different e-booksellers
A couple of big players

(Back to original post)


Bane of Anubis said...

Do you ever sleep?

Tracy Hahn-Burkett said...

This is very cute.

And I've had the same question as Bane of Anubis for a long time now.

JTShea said...

Excellent, Nathan!

marye.ulrich said...

I follow many blogs on freelance writing and marketing. The hot topic is for everyone with a blog to give away a free ebook, or at least give away free chapters from the book you are selling (usually an ebook).

So my guess is that ebooks will see tremendous growth. There will be many opportunities for writers to find freelance work.

This also means there will be a lot of crappy ebooks.

I'm thinking that after the pendulum swings back and forth a couple times, there will be a new industry (or a reinvented industry) which will need writers, editors and publishers to produce and monitor quality.

er, the rats are already jumping off the traditional publishing ships.

Nancy said...

Bane: Forty winks is overrated. All you get is a sludgy metabolism and a long gray beard.

marye.ulrich: "This also means there will be a lot of crappy ebooks." I like how you get right down to it. There is a HUGE potential for those authors whose work was rejected by agents or from the slush pile, to ebook their schlock, so certain are they of a Web site following. Eerg [cough].

I'm wondering what Nathan thinks of finding all those books he rejected, based on queries, in the "scroll down for your favorites" lists on Amazon or B&N.

These are the authors whose spelling and punctuation skills are on permanent coffee break, not to mention content and plot execution, and a hundred other issues when it comes to creating a book that's reader-friendly, including layout.

I'm not trying to be a literary elitist. Oh, no. It's just that I'm concerned about the lowering standards of literacy, and, because I'm biased, the kill shot the English language is suffering with the advent of the 10-second blurb. (hi whr r u?) OK, five seconds.

Sure, the speed of communication is great, but there's no literary improvement or uniqueness in short cuts. I'm not sure what some authors are thinking: maybe that someone else will correct the ms later, or that text style doesn't matter, as long as the story gets told.

My worry is that already many people can't tell the difference between a well-written book and one that's not. Will those numbers of readers increase exponentially if we go to all ebooks? How will ebooks affect child literacy development, especially with closed schools? Who or what will preserve the English language? Ebooks? Young people are our future leaders. Will they be able to discern quality standards in culture and information? Publishing houses and agents have served as filtering systems for poorly written manuscripts in order to make sure literacy standards are upheld.

The upside, as I see it, is that ebooks are fulfilling our promise of freedom of speech, so ardently valued here in the States.

There are many issues I'm having trouble reconciling with ebooks. Cheap, fast, handy are nice, but will readers be able to discern substandard from superior texts? Or does it matter? Perhaps telling the story is all that matters. I really am weighing this.

What about nonfiction? If the writing is sloppy, then how will a reader know if the author is accurate with the book's information?

I predict that in a generation's time there will be so many sloppy ebooks in reading circulation that the publishers will bow to volume demands and print (electronic and hard) slop just to keep up sales numbers. And the sad part is, readers won't know the difference anymore between a good book and one that needs a lot of work.

Okay, okay, I'm off my soap box and back to friendly ol' me! :) n

Disgruntled Bear said...

Love the idea of e-books. I think they'll be to regular books what email is to regular mail -- both will continue to exist, but the e-book portion of the market will grow. Yes, there will be substandard books published online, which means that new gatekeepers will grow into the roles that publishers play. I think that buzz and Amazon ratings will separate much of the wheat from the chaff.

I think music is better now than when the big record companies acted as gatekeepers. E-books will do the same.

And we'll all still need agents to negotiate the foreign rights and the movie deals!

Jimmy Ng said...

eBook readers remind me of the iPods. And we can see how Apple has changed the music industry.

Jimmy Ng

karen wester newton said...

I think that will depend partly on whether Amazon ever gives in and supports ePub on the Kindle. If they did that, it could open Kindle owners up to a wider buying experience.

Also, it will depend on whether Apple lets folks sell/give away their own ebook apps or protects its iBook store. If they keep it open, things could proliferate fast.

Alle Hall said...

I am coming around to believe that the future is now, but I don't see the old ways drifting into the mists of Avalon. Eventually, there will be so much stuff to read that someone will create new e-gatekeepers and establish new e-hierarchies in publishing. Amazon establishes a literary agency. Costco hands out Nobles for literature. We should look to the history of architecture. When the printing press hit the Gutengerg scene, architecture slowly faded as the medium of cultural documentation. Where is architecture now? Anyone?

BTY, you insomniatic nutcases, I just posted a "Name That Famous Writer" game on my blog. It is short and funny. Like me.


Heather Kelly said...

Books morphing into the intersection of movies and music is one reason why I think that e-books will continue to grow and prosper, outside of the whole convenience factor. Books like Inanimate Alice. ( (The first four episodes of this book are free, so check it out.) It's an interesting thing to consider--the endless possibilities of e-books. (A shout out to Casey's blog, Literary Rambles which first introduced me to Inanimate Alice:

Trish said...

Nathan, I've published one of my MG Fantasy adventure stories as an ebook with Amazon Kindle and also as a paperback with Amazon CreateSpace. The paperback is selling a lot better than the eBook. Although a friend of mine has sold over a thousand copies of her self-published Y/A as a $0.99 eBook, and that's in the past few months.

I've also published another children's story (One that you rejected just before retiring as an agent. Teehee. I had to throw that in just in case it becomes a best seller.)After only three rejections, I published with a POD publisher and it's now available on B & N, but so far not as an eBook, though I wish it was.

It seems to me that kids books are still being bought as paperbacks, but Y/A and adult books are selling well as eBooks.

J. T. Shea said...

I agree with J. T. Shea. And not just because we have the same name. Oh, wait...

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