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Publishing and Promoting > Are books dead, and can authors survive?

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Larry Moniz (LarryMoniz) Are books dead, and can authors survive?
At the Edinburgh international book festival this weekend, Author Ewan Morrison set out his bleak vision of a publishing industry in terminal decline.
At the heart of his argument, are the aspiring authors, amateurs and wannabees that are deluging the EBook industry with sub-quality prose.
The British newspaper: The Guardian quotes Morrison: “The reason why a living wage for writers is essential is that every industry that has become digital has seen a dramatic, and in many cases terminal, decrease in earnings for those who create "content".
Morrison makes numerous telling points, many of which I’ve previously commented on. The article link below should be “must reading” for every professional author. It also should be must reading for the wannabees who have no skills but wish to boast they are “authors.”
Part of me hopes that Morrison is wrong, but the part of me that’s been in various aspects of the publishing business for 45 years realizes he’s all too correct.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/...
Part of me hopes that Morrison is wrong, but the part of me that’s been in various aspects of the publishing business for 45 years realizes he’s all too correct.

Self-Promotion for Authors by Larry Moniz

Murder in the Pinelands (Inside Story) by Larry Moniz

Molly's Revenge by Larry Moniz


Adam Bender (adambender) | 11 comments I don't think they're dead, but eBooks do seem to be the future. It will just take some clever new techniques on the Internet to ensure good books get noticed. Also, eBooks can still be reviewed by critics and customers (like on Goodreads, for example), so it shouldn't be hard to separate the good from the bad.


Elaine (httpgoodreadscomElaine_Chaika) I think the real news is that books are changing. Now they're multi-media with videos, audio clips, animated maps and other animations embedded in the text. When this is well-done, it enhances the reading experience. Barnes and Noble has already published 441 Enhanced Editions for its NOOKcolor reader and textbooks are being developed with multimedia embeds. As a former professor of linguistics, I can envision superior texts that have audio clips of dialect differences, videos of cultural differences in paralinguistics. It is a brave new world.

What bothers me is that now Amazon is allowing anybody to upload a book for Kindle--no editing, no copyediting, no criticism, no publisher. We will be inundated with Lord knows what garbage for eReaders. This can not be good for the future of literature.


message 4: by Marty (last edited Aug 27, 2011 09:54PM) (new)

Marty Beaudet (AuthorMartyB) | 38 comments I hope print books aren't dead. I hate ebooks. I spend far too much time staring at the glare of a computer screen as it is. Reading is my respite; my relaxation while lying down, in the grass, in bed, in a chaise lounge, or in the bath. (You don't want to take your electronics there!)

There are so many books by my fellow indie authors that I'd love to read, but they've only made them available on Smashwords. It is tedious and uncomfortable, akin to work, to try to read them on a screen, so I haven't finished any of them.

Ebooks might be a convenience on a train or plane, but give me a paperback for real relaxation!


Rowena (Rowenacherry) | 86 comments Larry, I know that you are talking about quality (and quantity) but I think that the future of publishing is bleak because of digital theft.

One by no-means typical 4shared user can "share" an entire library of 1,000 copyrighted works with 52,000 other copyright infringers in a month.

Most file hosting and "sharing" sites offer Facebook and Twitter functionality, which means that everyone in the world can access illegal copies of copyrighted works without even belonging to the sites.

On Scribd this morning, I noticed a nest of thieves sharing in-copyright ebooks which one can read right there on the site. The copyright page declaring that the book cannot be lent, loaned, posted on the internet was right there on page 2.

What is it about copyright notices? Do readers not read them? Do they not understand the meaning of them? Or, is copyright not taken seriously because so far, few copyright owners have followed through?


Cynthia Thomason (CynthiaThomason) | 12 comments Certainly a huge concern, Larry, one which we traditionally pubbed authors discuss often in professional meetings and coffee klatch groups. For a look at the humorous side of keeping bookstores open, check out John Stewart and Hodgman, one of his reporters as they discuss the fates of brick and mortar. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIRGHD...
It's funny...but it's not.
Cynthia


Elaine (httpgoodreadscomElaine_Chaika) Rowena's concern about copyright violations is very true. I think the problem is the near-impossibility of catching and prosecuting illegal downloaders. We've already seen this with music and bootlegging of movies on the Internet. How can we prevent it with eBooks?


Cynthia Thomason (CynthiaThomason) | 12 comments Even the big publishers aren't having much luck with the prevention of pirating. It's happening everywhere, much to the dismay of authors who see their work going for nothing.


message 9: by Rowena (last edited Aug 30, 2011 06:02AM) (new)

Rowena (Rowenacherry) | 86 comments Statistics for the Month of JULY from torrentfreak.com, http://torrentfreak.com/top-10-larges...
which I think it is fair to describe as a pro-piracy site judging by the Comments:

July, 2011 Ranking (of file sharing sites)

Website Category Unique monthly visitors / Monthly pageviews

1 4shared Cyberlocker 55,000,000/ 2,500,000,000
2 Megaupload Cyberlocker 37,000,000/ 400,000,000
3 Mediafire Cyberlocker 34,000,000 /330,000,000
4 Filestube Meta-search 34,000,000/ 280,000,000
5 Rapidshare Cyberlocker 23,000,000/ 280,000,000
6 The Pirate Bay Torrent index 23,000,000 /650,000,000
7 Fileserve Cyberlocker 19,000,000 /190,000,000
8 Hotfile Cyberlocker 16,000,000 /110,000,000
9 Torrentz.eu Meta-search 15,000,000/ 340,000,000
10 Depositfiles Cyberlocker 14,000,000/ 110,000,000

I grant you, not all fifty-five million unique visitors to the No 1 site in July alone would have been digital thieves. At least one would have been an author!

Also, although there may have been two billion pageviews on the No1 site in July alone, not everyone who views a page goes ahead and creates an illegal copy.


Adam Bender (adambender) | 11 comments Marty wrote: "I hope print books aren't dead. I hate ebooks. I spend far too much time staring at the glare of a computer screen as it is. Reading is my respite; my relaxation while lying down, in the grass, in ..."

Marty, I completely agree that reading eBooks on a computer isn't fun, but have you tried a Kindle or Nook (not Color) e-ink reader? There is absolutely no glare and in fact it's far easier to read under the sun than anywhere else. It's also incredibly light-weight and you can use a variety of covers to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

eBook technology still has a lot of room to grow, but gadgets like the Kindle make reading them a heck of a lot more appealing.


Marty Beaudet (AuthorMartyB) | 38 comments My books are available for Kindle, and I have the Kindle Reader software on my PC, but I have never actually seen a Kindle yet!

Unfortunately, I'm only employed part-time, and my husband is unemployed, so I'm having trouble affording the books, never mind an e-reader.

The irony is, plenty of fellow authors have given me e-versions of their books for free, but I haven't been able to finish even one of them because of the problems I described. A Kindle would probably solve those problems, except for reading in the bath!

And then I wonder about battery life; when I had a cell phone it was only good for about a day and a half, even when I wasn't using it.


Adam Bender (adambender) | 11 comments The battery life is pretty good -- way better than a cellphone. I don't have the latest version which is supposed to be better, but I can usually go a week before I need to charge it, and that's with 3G wireless on. Probably can't solve the bath problem, unless there is a waterproof case out there!


Elaine (httpgoodreadscomElaine_Chaika) If you are a fast reader as I am, The Kindle and other Ink technology eReaders can be very annoying. When you turn the page on a Kindle, the prior page becomes a negative version before the new page shows up. I found that my eye automatically "read" the negative--about 1/2 a page--before the new page showed. It totally wrecked the rhythm of my reading. Not everyone is bothered by this.

One note, the NOOKcolor is backlit like a computer, but you can change the color of the page and the size and font of the type. You can also get a glare-proof screen cover for it. I have no problem reading with the NOOKcolor even in sunlight. I can also read 7 or 8 hours at a time with no eyesight problems--and I'm an old lady. Oh, and I read my Kindle books on an app on my NOOKcolor and, you just swipe your finger to change the page. No afterimage.


Adam Bender (adambender) | 11 comments Elaine wrote: "If you are a fast reader as I am, The Kindle and other Ink technology eReaders can be very annoying. When you turn the page on a Kindle, the prior page becomes a negative version before the new pa..."

Well, Elaine, I think there is something we can agree on. There is an eReader for all kinds of readers!


Elaine (httpgoodreadscomElaine_Chaika) When you think of the billions of paper books in existence there is little chance of their disappearing for a long time. Also scholarly reference books are in print


Elaine (httpgoodreadscomElaine_Chaika) Adam, some will never want an eReader, but there are loads of options foe those who do. I got one for a 5 month camping trip. How else could I get room for 100 books in an RV?


Noor Jahangir | 17 comments I don't believe books are dead. I think print books will continue on as a luxury item but ebook buying will flourish. I know the arguments for and against ebooks, but the point is that more and more, regular book buyers are moving over to ebooks. Face it. Our bookshelves are chocabloca with books, our desks, mantels, coffee tables and any other flat surface big enough to stack books have towers of books teetering on the point of falling over. Either we buy a bigger house (expensive) or we switch to ebooks (relatively cheap in comparison). Being a self-pubbed ebook author, I've tried to support others like me, but Larry is right, the market is flooded with sub-standard work and Frankenstein's monsters made up of various books pasted together by pirates.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Molly's Revenge (other topics)
Murder in the Pinelands (other topics)
Self-Promotion for Authors (other topics)