Nathan Bransford, Author

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday Repeat: Choose Your Own E-book Adventure

I'm probably not allowed to choose which post is my favorite from 2010, but I'm doing it anyway! It's definitely this one: choose your own e-book future:

We all remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books as kids where you suddenly time travel to the Civil War and you have to decide whether to get on the raft across the river or run away and you have to flip to page 97 to find out if you survived?

Well, should you be intrepid enough to, uh, click on a few links, you're about to Choose Your Own E-book Adventure. Ready the time machine!

I know, I know, some of you are saying, another e-book post. Here's the thing: some of the most common questions I receive these days are along the lines of, "What's going to happen to authors/agents/publishers in the e-book era? Are publishers going to survive? What does it mean for authors?"

And while I try to give a reasonable answer, in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "Well, that depends on lots and lots of factors that are impossible to know at this point." It's really hard to look into the future when X, Y, and Z could throw the whole future into a wildly different outcome. The future might look basically like what we have now, with the major publishers distributing most of the books electronically through e-book stores, or it could look wildly different than that, with the e-book vendors or device makers or some combination being the main game in town.

So. I thought I'd turn some of those variables into a couple different guesses about what different versions of our publishing future might look like. Ready to play? Here we go:

It's 2010. Right now e-books comprise only 3-5% of sales, but some people think e-books represent the future of the book business and will eventually comprise the majority of sales.

Do you think this will happen?

E-books catch on in a big way
E-books remain a niche market


Mira said...

I don't see why you can't choose your favorite post of 2010! Choose away! And I agree - this is a creative and fun post. One of your best! :)

I continue to zip right to the ending you think is the most depressing, simply because that's the way I think it will play out. Over the long haul. I think the agency model is a temporary compromise, but I don't think it will last. But then I also continue to think it's not that depressing an ending. One of the times when we have to agee to disagree, Nathan. Other than print publishers, who I think are doomed, doomed, doomed, sorry, but I do, I think things will work out fine with more freedom and choices for all. But that's just my opinion, and I could be wrong, of course. It's been known to happen. Well, I think it almost happened once, so I'm probably due.

But for now, I welcome the future. Yay e-book future!

Good post!

Matthew Rush said...

Man I used to love those choose your own adventure books!

Watcher55 said...

It won't be because of me; but e-book sales will absolutely outstrip paper book sales. I am afraid, however that too much of good thing will lead to a more confusing glut of published work. On the bright side I see the potential for the evolution of literary arts. As the media expands a new breed(s) of artist will seize it. Who knows, perhaps the days of the traditional novel are numbered.

D.G. Hudson said...

I never liked those 'choose your own adventure' stories. I thought it was lazy on the writer's part. Interactive books were never my thing.

BTW - husband wants to purchase a KOBO e-reader as he has enough in gift cards. Comes with 100 free titles (classics). He's probably more excited than me about it.

I know e-book sales are increasing as more readers acquire the technology. I see them only increasing more, with hardbacks becoming POD for special occasions. Paperbacks should survive if only because not everyone spends their money on the latest techie toy.

Nicole MacDonald said...

I loved those choose your own adverture books, though I always wanted to re-write the options *grin* guess that should have been a hint for things to come ;p

Otherwise I hope e-books continue to do well. I've just published my first!! *eeee* a contemporary feel, epic fantasy (with romance/drama/action in the mix)
Have a peek :)

swampfox said...

It will most definitely happen, as you can bet e-books are the future, and the future is upon us.

I do see print books sticking around for a while, at least for the duration of our lifetimes. And I'm glad, too, as I want my books to be published in print.

February Grace said...

Just popping in to wish you a happy new year, Master Jedi!

(and my sister was bigtime into those choose your own adventure books when I was a kid. I, however, chose to write my own adventures instead!)


Jeffrey Ricker said...

Every time I go to the bookstore and buy one or two (or, in the last case, six) books and then listen to my shelves groan under the added weight, I think an e-book reader might not be a bad idea. So far, though, I've held out, maybe because when I follow this choose-your-own-adventure thread, I end up at the most depressing end....

Samantha G said...

Happy new year! I choose the e-books remain in a niche market and my adventure came to a very short and sweet end. Of course, I checked out all the other paths... just to see what else could have happened. Thank you for posting old stuff- I haven't read it and I got really tired of clicking older posts because there-was-just-so-many. Gosh, you must spend half your life on this blog. I'm not complaining- this is my favourite. You keep doing what you're doing Mr. Bransford and I hope your book goes well next year!

J. T. Shea said...

Happy New Year from the future to Nathan and all commenters (except 11:55 am!) It's 2011 in Ireland. We have flying cars!

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