Tuesday, July 20, 2010

eBooks: No longer the future

They're the PRESENT!

Yeah, Mashable has a story about how Kindle books are outselling hardcovers on Amazon and the L. A. Times has a long article on how ebooks are transforming the reading experience. Even most authors are prepared for the need to push the various electronic editions, but we're still figuring out the best ways to do that -- how do you promote without a physical object? That intangibility gives a lot of people discomfort.

I was supposed to be interviewed on the topic today, but the video interview became a telephone interview because of "breaking news" (I was relieved: haven't had a haircut since leaving for England) and now it seems to have been put off at least until tomorrow if not indefinitely. So I'll share my idea for a good quote:  I'm sure when Gutenberg printed his first bibles, there were doubtless people who said, "Well that's interesting, but I'm never going to give up my vellum.  It's painstakingly created by monks over months and sometimes year, with great attention to detail. Each one is individually written in the hand of the scribe and decorated with charming marginalia."

True enough, Gutenberg probably said. However, you can have this one right away. All of you. And for much less money.

Sure, there will continue to be printed books for a very long time. There will even continue to be handmade books for a long time. The digital revolution, though, has already happened. Jump on the wave to ride it or let it wash over you for now. But the wave is here. Like digital downloads of music, kids already born will consider it the norm. That's change.

UPDATE: I talked to the reporter today, although the story had already been recorded (which aired today; it's the second video that cycles up).  We chatted for a bit and she was intrigued by a number of things I brought up about my experiences teaching New Media and having both print and ebooks to promote. My BitchBuzz column this week is an expansion of this topic.


pattinase (abbott) said...

So I guess I'd better get a Kindle since my first edited book is E.

Todd Mason said...

Maybe. Though as a confirmed late adapter, I'm still waiting for the 5G reader/crackberry/temporary housing module that fits in the back pocket, and actually works reasonably well (hint, not the current iPhone).

C. Margery Kempe said...

I love my iPod, though I'm thinking of selling off a few things and getting an iPad because I was playing with Elena's. Very nice as a reader -- plus it does other things unlike the Kindle. Color, too!

Most publishers -- if they have a lick of sense -- are preparing ebooks for a variety of platforms. Looking forward to the day when there is only one (epub or PDF?).

@Todd, yeah -- it pays not to be an early adapter at times, though you can sell off your early model to the later adapters who don't want to spend as much.

Jack C. Young said...

Herr Gutenberg might also have said: "And there are no misspellings or mistakes through the copyist's inattention."
You can carry a kindle in your pocket or purse and have a relaxing book available for that bus ride or your lunch break.
With books on kindle you don't have a cluttered house nor do you have trouble finding a place to settle yourself.
(Not that I'm getting rid of my hard copy library. Love me books I do, pressssssssscious--gollum, gollum!)

C. Margery Kempe said...

Hee! That's true, Jack. I don't think anyone's giving up their collection much, although it may make it easier to weed a bit. But the speed with which a book can be published doesn't always work in its favour. However, I have been appalled at the print books I've bought that are rife with typos!

Anonymous said...

The ReadTheDeadtreeEdition1st Zone says:

If You start driving *RIGHT. NOW* You should be able to see HER *free*

inre Take THAT, KateP

*back to happily cataloging mo deadtree*

C. Margery Kempe said...

Dang! I'm off to get a haircut and then up to Saratoga for Hamlet. Pity, that would have been fun.

Anonymous said...

will your horse naturally win?

C. Margery Kempe said...

Are you calling me vain, sir?! Why, I never (she says, tossing her apricot scarf over her shoulder in a huff [and if that's not fast enough...]).