Firstly, thank you to those of you who connected to my blog (see last entry) and helped to get the blog recognized by Facebook. Not sure yet how this will affect my blog, but any exposure helps.
And thank you to those of you who offered words of support and encouragement when we heard that Unwanted Heroes didn’t make the Amazon Breakthrough Novel semifinal.
Oilspill dotcom has been selling despite my relative inactivity. There is a possibility of the novel being picked up by an independent publisher. Exciting! If this goes through the book will be released with a new cover and title. It is also undergoing a round of editing.
Part of these changes will include a change of direction for this blog and that I hope to outline in the next posting. But the overall concept is to reach out to people interested in the book world, rather than just in me.
And the book world is certainly changing. I am sitting in a Starbucks on the corner of Sansome and Greenwich, under the shadow of Coit Tower. I have a meeting in another hour for Hillel. Looking around, this is a young business crowd. Though clothes are relatively formal (this is California), people are groomed and sharp.
It is, however, early. Another hour before they must enter their offices and cubicles. Time to unwind, read a book or newspaper. But as I look around, I feel a thrill. An elderly gentleman with graying curly hair has the large kindle. I remember reading how older people are buying the bigger model, the 9.7″ version (don’t be impressed, I looked it up). They are not techno-geeks, but enjoy the option for bigger font.
Near this man, someone has another white tablet, but I can see it is different. Perhaps it is the Barnes and Noble nook. A woman with a bright read umbrella has a matching device, which I can’t help laughing at. Did she really color coordinate her accessories? Was this the Sony Reader? Alas, I never saw an iPad, which would have rounded off the experience. Still last Thursday, after a meeting at the Boudin café in the Stonestown Mall, I had slipped into the Apple shop and fondled one of their new, shiny devices. Quite a thrill.
The world is changing. And I am excited about the change, excited for the environmental impact, for no longer having to schlep books in your bag, the ability to lower prices and therefore make more books more accessible. I am also upset that the book I have been carrying around for the last week, brought brand new, is now creased and bent.
But I haven’t bought a device. It is partly financial, partly that I am sure the models in a year’s time will have ironed out the kinks, but also that I love holding a book and browsing a bookstore. And I love the bookshelves in my house (and other peoples). It is hard to explain. Financially, while I do buy books, I also lean heavily on the public library to satisfy my literary thirst.
Still the times are changing and I am feeling the pressure to change with them. So here is my question:
Do you have a kindle, nook, sony reader or iPad (or another model that I am not aware of)? Please let me know if you do, when you use it, how happy you are with it and whether it has really replaced the physical page.
Also, do you take it with you into the bath?
Update 07/01/2010: Oilspill dotcom is currently selling on Amazon’s Kindle for $3.19.
My novel, Oilspill dotcom, has just been published as an e-book by Smashwords. It’s available for an introductory price of $3.99 and can be downloaded to Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone or any computer. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/5684. Feeling very 21st Century!
Advert aside – this is exciting!
Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords has “meat grinder” technology (his term). You provide him with the manuscript and he puts it through his grinder, producing an e-book that can work on any e-book format currently available. He is committed to enable Smashwords books to be compatible with the new Barnes & Noble electronic reader due out this month and the new Apple reader due in January.
Being an author himself and committed to the e-book revolution, Coker offers authors up to an unprecedented 85% royalty, thereby encouraging his authors to price their book at a lower level, representing the savings in materials, distribution, storage and marketing.
I am excited to be part of the revolution. The reality is that most of us buy our books used, borrow from the library, or pass along to friends. None of these methods provide royalties to the author.
$15-$30 for a book is not sustainable and we are no longer surprised to see many ‘bestsellers’ now deeply discounted in bins at the front of B&N, Borders, or the supermarket.
So, I’m feeling very 21st Century. Over the next few weeks I hope to offer a few insights into the e-book revolution (as I research it myself).
One request: Please go into the Smashwords website, check it out, and let me know what you think. Comment here on the blog or shoot me an email to alshalev at Bigfoot dot com.
Good Writing & Reading,
Alon Shalev is an author of novels that highlight social injustice. His latest novel is The Accidental Activist. Click on the icon above for more about the author and his books.