eBook Legacy and Pixilated Promised of Prosperity
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I keep bringing this up because I’m just not seeing the kind of answers I would expect from defenders of this Brave New World of eBook Self-Publishing. Of course they don’t owe me anything, but seeing as I haven’t a clue who they are, other than the big guys, and they can afford to ignore me.
What is the legacy of eBooks in say a year? Two years? When the rush to self-publish on Kindle/Smashwords/Lulu has slowed and eBooks populate the landscape like bedbugs in a flophouse, in the end, we’re still looking at an intangible product in an imaginary bookstore.
Poopoo if you want, but if you’re sitting in a coffeehouse (and some of us still do that from time to time), having a coffee, waiting for a friend, wating for the band to tune up, waiting for the slam poets to gather, you might wander over to the lending library. Almost everybook store has one now, sometimes populated with Bookcrossing bookmarked volumes. I read Graham Masterton’s “The 5th Witch” for the first time in a Coffee Beanery, and then bought “A Terrible Beauty” first chance I got.
Want to know how many eBooks I’ve read second hand while sitting in a coffee shop? That would be zero. I don’t sit down and think, we’ll I’ve read everything on my reader, what do I want to buy now? I reach for what’s available that looks interesting – because when we get right down to foam and baseboards, humans are still very visual,, very tangible creatures. We like the look of restaurants, the atmosphere of coffeeshops, and the intriguing allure of bookcovers. We also like to see what other people are reading.
Paperbacks with fancy bookmarks, hardcovers with napkins marking pages – seeing what people read ignights that part of our brain where we not only judge the book by its cover, but the reader as well. This is marketing, not just flashy ads in magazines and television, or YouTube trailers, but the product on the street in action.
When you see someone reading a book, you ask, “is that a good book?” and if they’re chatty, they tell you about the story or their favorite author.
When you see someone with a Reader, you ask, “is that a Kindle?” and if they’re chatty they’ll tell you how many books are on it.
See the difference? Your conversation shifts from what you’re reading to how you’re reading,
I’ve had a Sony eReader in one incarnation or another for about 5 years, and it’s probably holding about 65 books. Most of those books aI’ve already read, or they’ve been testing platforms friends’ ebooks. It’s also good for eARCs I sometimes get from authors, but I don’t carry it with me always.
When I’m in a bookstore (and I still frequent bookstores on a fairly regular basis)
When my nbephew comes over and says he’s bored, I hand him a book. A BOOK. Not a reader, not a smartphone, I don’t e-mail him a link he can download.