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Monday, March 29, 2010

Print Books and E-Books (A Quick Observation)

We hear much these days about how e-books are going to overtake print  books and eventually make print books . . . obsolete. Perhaps.

And perhaps not.

A lot depends upon the cost structure, including royalty levels. The issue is thus far built on a foundation of shifting sand and how it plays out remains to be seen. But let's face it: how many successful e-books can you name that are not the outgrowth of a print version? I can't think of many (or any). There might be a few, but if so they were special deals driven by a big name like [fill in the blank]. What about the rest of the author universe?

The point I am inartfully trying to make is that authors still have to research and write (expensive), find a publisher, and publishers still have to evaluate, develop, edit, format/design, market, and produce. As one recent literary agent recently announced, "Welcome to the future. It looks a lot like the past."

How many publishers can do that for an e-book that retails for the cost of a trade paperback (or less?) Not many, I fear.



M. M. Justus said...

There are a number of successful e-only romance publishers out there -- Samhain and Ellora's Cave are two off the top of my head.

They seem to manage it somehow...

Anonymous said...

It's ALL about money derived from sales. E-books ARE the future as a 'data delivery system.'

By comparison, the book is looked at as tried and true format being usurped by technology.

The bottom line is creating texts people will PAY to read when so much is available for free.


Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

John Fox said...

Ted, I agree w/ a lot of what you say. Good history books require exacting original research, good maps and photos. That is before the edit and book design. This all takes $$$. Difficult to find a publisher or author to do that if the return is small. Maybe its possible w/ e-romance as previous poster mentioned but quality history and e-romance are two different birds.

Dan said...

It's funny how people bandy about the term "obsolescence" so much these days in regards to print books. They seem to forget one salient fact: a print book can be used by simply opening the cover and turning the pages. An electronic book is dependent on the technology that makes it run, and THAT technology, however advanced it may be, WILL one day become obsolescent.

This is the problem that a lot of modern archivists are running into. What do you do when certain historical information unavailable anywhere else comes to you...but it comes on a 3 1/2" floppy? Unless you know someone who has an old computer, odds are you're never going to get that information.

I wonder if the Kindle people have ever considered this question, or if they blithely assume that time will always grant them the luxury of transferring their destined-to-be-outdated data onto the next system, whatever it might be. History, ironically, gives little comfort to that delusion.

Matthew said...

There are also several printed items that are regularly required in case of publicity and advertisement campaigns. These are items like banners, posters, leaflets, catalogues, brochures, fliers and many other things like different kinds of contest forms and information or survey forms.

Quick Printing Magazine

Matthew said...

Investing in a commercial printing service is a serious endeavor. If you end up choosing the wrong firm, then you can expect to face problems in the future. Not only will your marketing campaign flop but a hefty amount of resources will go to waste too. Hence, you'd better find a printer you can trust.

Quick Printing Magazine