Friday, February 3, 2012

Tis a Writer's Life for Me!! - EBOOKS!

So, I've been checking my sales numbers on Amazon recently and something rather odd has occurred. For the first time since e-books appeared on the scene, the number of Kindle copies of my books has outsold the number of printed copies. By almost double. For each one of my books!

I was amazed. I keep hearing that most people still prefer printed books--books they can touch and smell and crinkle pages in. Books they can underline, highlight and dogear. Books they can spill coffee or salsa on. Books they can put on shelves in their libraries. I mean, who doesn't love libraries and the smell of old books! I do! Old Book stores and historical libraries are some of my favorite places to visit. (Well, aside from an island in the Caribbean, of course)

So imagine my surprise at the new E-book craze! In fact, my husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas and I must say, I'm loving it. I can order a book on Amazon and I've got it in my hands within seconds. Yes, I said seconds.  I must admit I was hesitant to read it at first. Would I be able to get into the story as much as I do when I'm holding a book, flipping pages? Would holding a metal object take away from the historical adventure I find in most stories?  Well, after several weeks of reading, I can happily say that reading an e-book is just as pleasurable as reading a regular book.

Will I still buy physical books? Absolutely! I must have something to line the book shelves in my office. Plus, there are certain types of books that don't lend themselves well to the E-format. History books, Reference books, Dictionaries, Encyclopedias.. and the like. Plus I collect antique books and those must be held and cherished for the historical artifacts they are.

Yet, there's another great bonus to this E-book craze that most readers aren't aware of. It's called Freedom. An author's freedom to write what they want and publish it online without having to go through the great Publishing Gatekeepers.  Up until this point, writers had to conform to certain standards (Especially in the Christian market). They had to write to please the market, write the types of stories publishers believed would sell, tweak and change and rewrite their precious manuscript to please a publishing elite that created the bridge through which each writer must pass to get published. Like trolls, they stood in front of the bridge demanding the answer to thousands of questions, testing and taxing the poor writer in order to allow passage.

But no more. Now a writer, any writer can write a manuscript and publish it themselves on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and any of the other E-book formats. They don't have to pass a test. They don't have to answer a question. They don't have to meet a standard.  

I, for one, am very excited about this! Now if I have an idea for a story I want to write, I can write it. I don't have to steer away from certain topics, such as pirates or mermaids and other oddities I've been told will never sell.

But what about readers? What does it mean to them? There is great news and not so great news. The great news the reader will have a lot more choices on what to read and will be able to find books their every whim and desire.  The not so great news, since there are no gatekeepers, there will be a lot of garbage out there. In other words, it's important to remember that just because there's an e-book on Amazon, that doesn't mean it's a well-written intriguing story.  It doesn't mean the author has a clue about writing or story telling. So, the reader will have to become a more intelligent and selective consumer of books than ever before. But why not? Shouldn't the choice of what to read be in the readers' hands and not in the hands of a group of publishers?

What do you think about the whole E-book revolution??  I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I have to say I love my kindle also its easier to take away but if you are going away take the charger as they say it has a life of 3 weeks well I was gone 9 days and by the end of the 9th day it would have been dead if not for the fact I was to exhausted to read on day nine! I found out the 3 weeks is on the assumption you read 30 mins a day.
    I like being able to get books I would have to wait ages to get here if they even make it here. I hate that I cant get LI books cos of copywrite here in Australia.
    I still buy books but love the kindle. I have noticed some self published books are not as polished and tend to have errors (this isn't all but some). Self publishing for the ebooks while there can be different stories I would still hope they are well edited.
    For an author who already has a readership they would need to keep the standard up or else they may lose loyal readers. for new authors they also would need to have a good story that's been well edited or they won't keep readers.
    (but I do love my kindle)

  2. Is this why I keep hearing about publishers crying foul over e-readers and e-books? Hmmmm? I suppose I would be one to offend a publisher as I rarely ever buy books, I am a die-hard library goer. I read about 60 books a year and about 90% are from the library.

    I don't have the standard e-reader, I do have the Amazon Kindle app on my smart phone. I have read several free books on there - and I do believe after reading a free Christian novel, I was recommended to you Ms. Tyndall through Goodreads! And mighty glad I have found your books.

    I do hope within the next year or so that I am able to get some type of e-reader. But I'm so frugal I don't know if I would ever get my money's worth out of it. However, good news though, the libraries are offering more e-books for rental these days. Might be worth it after all!

    And Ausjenny, I would run my Kindle out that quickly too! I read a lot everyday as well. :-)

  3. I have really been enjoying finding new authors to try using my Kindle app. I have recently found one writer who's been writing for years, but no publisher ever picked her up. When the e-book craze started, she decided to publish herself. I'm so glad she did. Her stories are wonderfully heartwarming romances. (Christian, too. Her name is SQ Eads.) Yes, I've run across a few duds, but there are some real gems, too, in the self-published world. Freedom is a good thing!

  4. Jenny, yes.. I found out quickly that my Kindle didn't last the month they said it would.. but that's because I used it too much! I know I'll always buy real books too.

    JMB. Public libraries are great. I don't think checking out books offends publishers.. I mean the libraries have to buy the books in the first place. I had no idea they were moving toward e-books too! I don't blame you for making use of free books. That is so cool that you found my books from Goodreads! By the way, the cheapest Kindle is only $100, so not too expensive.

    CDees, that's exactly my point! There are some great writers out there that haven't been able to make it past the trolls. LOL. They deserve a chance to put their work out there and have it enjoyed.

  5. For me, I'm quite content to read the 'old-fashioned way'. I'll take a print book into the bathtub to read, but wouldn't dare do that with an e-reader. Same with going camping... I understand the draw of them though; the ease of travelling with them, etc. But, I'm on the home computer and lap top enough that I don't want to stare at another screen. I'd much rather feel the book in my hands; turn the pages. It somehow seems more tangible - more real. That being said, I just don't need one. :)

  6. Fri Feb 3rd ....
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Well, I don't have kindle or e-books ... although 'considering them'. But for now, still ordering "books" ... the "normal way".
    Just want to wish you a MOST "Happy Birthday, MaryLu", today ... you "spring chicken, you" !!! Enjoy "your" special day.
    Lots of love and blessings to you.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  7. I still read the "old-fashioned" way as well. I tend to be set in my ways, so I am sure it will take me a long time until I actually get an e-reader. When I do, I will probably love it and rave about it. That is way things usually go with me, haha. I will admit that having an e-reading during this period of time in my life would have been nice. Then 90% of my books would have not been in Michigan!

  8. I never thought I'd like reading from an e-reader till I got one for Christmas, but I love it! I don't have the greatest eyesight so being able to change the font is such a treat for me!
    I also love that I can get so many great free books online. I think the e-reader has been payed for in free e-books already!
    I still love the printed word and will continue to buy paperbacks. There is just something special about a book of real pages. :)

  9. I believe I'm on the same page as you, MaryLu! I never thought I would like an e-reader because I just love the feel of real books and everything, but I got a kindle this Christmas and I found out I really love it! I love finding fre books online for my e-reader, but many of htem aren't as well-written as books you would actually buy. I will definantly still be reading and buying normal paper boooks, but I found ou tthat I really do love my Kindle.

  10. Caroline, I felt the same way you did before I got my Kindle. Since the screen isn't lit, it really doesn't feel like I'm reading from a screen. Can't quite explain it. But, like I said I'll still aways buy some "real" books.

    Hi Brenda! Thanks for the Birthday wishes! You're such a sweetie!

    Emma, yes, just think, you would have always had all your books with you! That's what is also cool about it.. you can store thousands of titles. Amazing.

    Cathy.. yes.. I can relate. Same thing happened to me after I got my Kindle. I haven't taken advantage of the free books yet, but I've heard that's great. Now, I just need more time to read.

    Heather ditto! I haven't met anyone yet who didn't love their Kindle.

    Another point to make is that if you have an e-reader you will have a greater variety of books to choose from since authors who weren't accepted by traditional publishers are putting their books out on E-book format and not print.

  11. Happy birthday. (its a big day for birthdays today) Hope you have a great day.

  12. Happy Birthday.....and wishing you many more! I just got a Kindle (yesterday), and am enjoying it so much. I will, however, continue to buy and read print books 'cause I like to pass them on to my church library.

  13. Oh MaryLu, I LOVE that enormous bookshelf! If only I had a room large enough to accomodate something so big. Actually, if I could build my dream home, I would have a seperate room specifically for my books. Shelves lining the walls from ceiling to floor and several rows of shelves in the center of the room. And to make my 'library' complete, a bay window to curl up in and read. Yes, I still love my paperback books, but it would be nice to have a Kindle to read the books that you can only get online. I might have to think about that. :)

  14. Oh I didn't know it was your birthday! I hope you have a very happy Birthday!!!! :D

  15. Thanks Jenny and Jackie!! Yes, tis me birthday... and a fine one it was too.
    Angie.. you and me both! I'd love to have a floor to ceiling library made of mohagany with one of those moving ladders!

  16. I completely agree with Caroline. I wouldn't think of buying ebooks, because I love having the actual books in my hand and on my shelf, and being able to lend it to someone. And just the fact that I don't want to look at another screen. The only thing I do worry about is that great books will come out only in e-format, and then I won't be able to read them :/

    And I love that library picture, too! Angi, I've always wanted the big floor to ceiling library, but a great big window seat would make it even better :)

  17. Sarah, you may feel differently if you get a kindle.. cause I felt the same way you did.. but it's just so darned convenient and easy to use... But, I STILL do LOVE real books and have a huge library in my writing room that I will never part with!! :-)

  18. I love my ereader; I have over 100 ebooks on it so far and most of them were free. I still have hardcopy books of course, but I love that I don't have to buy a bunch of bookcases to keep my library anymore. The only downside is that I can no longer pass on my books to others when I am done with them. I will allow people to 'borrow' your novels, but I would never give them away, unless I get a signed copy of one I already have.

  19. Congrats MaryLu on your success! Isn't God just amazing?! You're reaching bigger audiences, and now have the opportunity to stretch your writing wings and fly. Any story about the mermaid sounds really cool-I love Christian fantasy!(Ever read any of Anne Elisabeth Stengl's books?)

    I didn't realize how hard it is for an author to get published. Is it really that bad?

    I love holding a print book in my hands, and libraries are almost like a second home to me. No kidding! But it really is a smart to put all the books online. You never know when some natural (or human) disaster will destroy a library-or store. I'm thinking of the famous Alexandria library in ancient egypt.

  20. Chaplain Debbie, it's good to see you back online!! Praying for you, girl!!

    Eszter, I love libraries too! I'm in the process of building a big one in my writing room. But E-books are just so darn convenient. On the flip side of a natural disaster destroying a library,. what about an EMP destroying all electronics? Then, we'd only have physical books to read.
    And as far as it being hard to get published. YES!! It's extremely hard. Only 4% of writers ever get their books published.

  21. Only 4 percent?? Wow,I'm astonished! And a little sad. I mean, there are so many potential authors out there.

    By-the-way, I'm so glad that you are part of that percentage!

  22. Well said...I've heard that e-book sales are twice as much as paperbook. I guess it's easier to download than have it shipped?

    I love my Kindle, but I also love paper copies. I've been buying books on E-book first and then if I love them, I buy the paperback. I guess that would be one way for the sales to go up for authors too! :)

  23. Oh, I do LOVE readers like you, Sheri. LOL.