Thursday's Thoughts: What Should Be #1 on Your Christmas Wishlist...

Thursday, December 15

...that is if you don't already own one. An e-reader.  Doesn't really matter which one you prefer, although after reading several comments by others it seems like some books are slower to become available via the Barnes and Noble Nook than other outlets.

Why do you say this, you may ask? Well, it's not only because they are one of the best things since sliced bread (even though I think they are) it's because the Romance writing community & Publishers' knee jerk reactions are changing faster than most can keep up with.  One, thing that isn't going away any time soon though is e-books whether you like it or not.  Sometimes you have to change with the times.  So if you are book lover who loves to hold the paper I suggest you just buy a cover like this one to the right and suck it up :)  Embrace it.  Love it.  Or, just get used to it :)

Am I taking a harsh stand?  No, and I'll give you some of my reasons why.

It seems like publishers are trying to slow down the trend towards e-books, not only with:
  • the dreaded DRM,  
  • but also with similar if not higher pricing on ebooks than the print version. 
  • removing their digital titles from lending libraries
  • And recently I've noticed some publishers are now releasing some e-books days if not at least a week after the print version is available in stores and online.  For instance many of Jill Shalvis' fans were upset that they couldn't get Head Over Heels which was recently made available in print on November 22nd, but it wasn't until December 1st that the e-book was made available.  GRRR...  
Has that stopped people from buying digital books in triple digit growths?  No.

The tactics that Publishers are taking to try and slow down the trend will fail, and fail big time.  They obviously are more concerned with their business model and bottom line than they are about the consumer that is purchasing their products.  The individuals who are going to pay, more than figuratively, are You and Me my friends.  You and me. Doesn't that just suck! The result of their efforts will have only one outcome, angry readers who couldn't get the book when they wanted to read it.  In a world that is used to almost immediate gratification that is a HUGE mistake. Stupid.  Publishers have become the Scrooge of Christmas while Readers are the poor crippled little Tiny Tim from Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  Let's just hope they realize how detrimental their actions are before it is too late.  LOL, they may even be visited by ghosts of authors past, present, and future ;)  Keep reading you'll understand why in just a bit...

And yes, I strongly believe that there will be a point where it will be too late for them, and it may be sooner than they realize.  Not because of their stupid actions to slow down the e-book trend, but because Authors are embracing digital publishing like it's their Christmas goose and it's the first bit of meat they've seen in forever.  And why shouldn't they?

Over the past few months I've seen many authors that I read who have been traditionally published decide to self publish their future works for a variety of reasons including a larger share of the profits. Most recently I've seen authors Lila DiPasqua, Beverley Kendall, Ashley March, Shiloh Walker, Jackie Barbosa, and Bella Andre to name just a very few...announce their self publishing intents.  It seems like the list keeps growing every week.  And honestly I can't say that I blame them, especially when you take into account Courtney Milan's success with Unlocked which became a NYT bestseller.  While it may be more work, authors can have greater control, and hopefully a bigger piece of the, goose.  Win, win, win.

I want talented authors to earn a MORE than decent living from their writing, really I do, but I also have some fears from a reader's perspective.  Some of them are:
  • Will the quality of the writing continue to be what I've come to expect?  Sadly, I've already experienced that not to be the case.   A writer may employ editors, and have beta readers but it all comes down to honesty in feedback, and experience in the professionals that they hire. Only time will tell.
  • How many author newsletters must I subscribe to in order to find out about the new releases?  As far as I can tell there is no one resource that let's you know what upcoming releases for self published books there may be, or when the book is actually released....except for the author newsletter, facebook, blog...UGH!  For a person who likes to scan upcoming releases using a few of my favorite sites this is a big downfall to self-publishing.  And frankly I can't handle any more emails, blogs, facebooks, twitter...whatever.
  • I'm a big, big library user.  My library is great and is ranked as one of the top 100.  For the size of the city I live in, it's amazing.  And they always purchase the books I request them to :)  While my library now offers digital e-book lending how long will it take for them to have self published books available for lending?  My guess, not any time soon because they like to have reviews from trusted sources before they will buy a book for lending. Which may mean that I will no longer be able to read all of the authors that I love if too many of them decide to self publish.  Ya know, because that thing called a budget....can only go so far :(  I've found so many authors that I now religiously buy and read because of the library, and it makes me somewhat sad that in the near future that could end...even if it is only temporary.
  • Then we have to take into account that e-books will be available before a print version (in some cases), if there is ever a print version made available.  That in and of itself is the biggest reason why a digital e-reader should be your #1 item on your wishlist.  Because otherwise you may not be able to read the books you want...unless you want to read on your computer :(  Not fun.
My final thoughts, all of this also makes me wonder about the quality of books overall.  Not only self published books, but also books published by the biggies.  Consider this,  if some of the most talented authors decide to go it alone (as it seems to be happening), what will be left for NY to publish?  Will it mean that NY published books will become mediocre as they try to replace the authors that they lost to self publishing?  That would be the kiss of death for NY.  

I'm sure hoping there is enough up and coming talent that that hopefully won't be the case...but it does make one wonder. Despite the biggies tactics to slow down digital books, I don't want to see them fail because I do think they have value...or at least used to.  Things have changed dramatically in just one year.  What will next year bring?

So what are your thoughts, and take on all of this?  I'd love to know what you think, even if you do have a different take on all of this.  Personally, I'm ok with however I get my romance fix, print, e-book, or whatever else may be invented in the future as long as in the end I'm the biggest winner by getting great romance reads.  I may lament the loss of print books in the future, but then again I don't miss VHS tapes :)  E-reader.  Get thee an e-reader.

But wait there's more...LOL.  If you read the entire post you deserve a surprise/gift/medal.  I have a coupon code from Sourcebooks for one lucky Musings follower that will allow you to download one e-book from their site for FREE. But you gotta leave a comment :)  I'll pick a winner....sometime within the next few days.  Oh, and supposedly they for some reason don't support international readers yet :(  So I guess it's US only.

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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.


Sheree December 15, 2011 at 4:39 AM  

After having a Kindle for a few months, I've gone back to reading ebooks on my laptop and I only play games on the Kindle. Even though I can change the font size on the Kindle, the screen size limits how quickly I can read, and I usually read fairly quickly, but not on the Kindle. I still prefer a paper book. Now, a good-sized tablet may be okay for me, but I'm still trying to figure that out.

Of course, all the inherent limitations of ebooks are still bothering me: can't give away, sell back to the bookstore, donate to the library, or wallpaper my room with Paul Marron book covers, etc.

Maureen December 15, 2011 at 6:32 AM  

It is a confusing time for the publishing industry and the consumers. I know that we are headed to ereaders as a normal way of reading but I do like print books and I will miss them. I do like the idea of carrying around a library of books to choose from on one little device. The publishers are confusing, especially the way they are pricing ebooks. They should cost less because the cost of producing them is less. Also I can lend a print copy to a friend or sell it.

Mary December 15, 2011 at 8:20 AM  

No Need to enter me in this contest.
I don't read ebooks and don't have an ereader. I have won a couple of ebooks and read them on my computer and for me it's just not the same. I am a traditionalist and like my print books. While the publishing industry might be changing there are those of us that like the fact that with print books we can still trade, sell, give away, ect..those print books which you cannot or are not supposed to do with ebooks.

Authors are complaining about the fact that their ebooks are getting put on websites for people to down load for free, or sent via email to friends. But the fact is, this is going to happen until something changes. Either the ebooks become cheaper or someone comes up with a way to stop the ebook from being transfered after it's been downloaded. I'm not going to pay almost the same amount of money for an ebook that I have no rights to sell, trade or give away than I am for a print book that I can do those things.

Booklover1335 December 15, 2011 at 10:08 AM  

I completely agree about not being able to share's just the nature of the beast though. I love print books too, but fear that they will become harder to find unless ordered online.

But what will you do if an author that you love to read only publishes digitally, and/or the print on demand copies are more expensive if even available? Will you buy the digital copy because you are devoted to the author? Or will you instead seek out print books regardless of the author because it is your preferred reading format?

Kathleen O December 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM  

I just got my first kindle, it is just a basic one and I am enjoying the ease for use when traveling. Becasue of problems with my shoulders and neck, this has been great that I don't have to carry around a paperback in my purse. But I must say that I have some issues with downloading books from other sites. Amazon is great, I just click and order. But other ebook purchase sites are not so simple for me.

But just like every thing else this is a new learning curve for me.
I think it is wonderful that authors are self publishing and that they are able to keep a larger portion of their profits. After all they slaved for months over these books and should get a bigger rewards..

But I will still be a devoted fan of print books...I love the feel of a book in my hand. It is comforting in a way. Like having a best friend right there next to you...

For me they will have to make the downloading of these books eaiser to download for me to continue buying off of other sights.

The_Book_Queen December 15, 2011 at 12:11 PM  

Very interesting post--I have to agree, there seems to be a change in the wind, and I'm not sure what the outcome of said change is going to be..for all involved, not just the big publishers.

I'm a print girl, always have been, and always will be, even if (sorry, when *shudders*) print becomes absolete and antique, I'll be one of those crazy old book ladies hunting them down and hoarding them in my house (along with the cats, of course, this picture has to be believable, right? LOL.). BUT, I will and do read e-books, more so since I got my NOOK last year (which I love, and haven't noticed too much of a slow download time for the books).

E-Books have their advantages, as we've all discussed many times over the years. but despite these advantages, they have the one disadvantage: I do not get to physically hold the book in my hands, turn the page, stroke the real cover. I don't get to place it on my already full bookshelf and stare at it as I please. Nope--instead it sits in my computer or my NOOK or wherever I have it saved and I stare at a screen, looking at an image of the book, of the cover that I so fell in love with... It's just not the same and it never will be no matter how realistic the screens become or how "book-like" they say the device looks. It doesn't change the fact that it is not, nor will it ever be, a paperback or hardback book.

I'm glad I have my NOOK, especially with the increase in e-books being offered for review rather than print, because there is no way I could read a book (little loan 10 or 20 that I have built up) while sitting at my laptop all day. But even with my NOOK, I have to take a break and switch to a real book, just to stay sane. :) And to help my eyes a bit. Lol.

Intereting post--thanks for sharing with us! :D


Mary December 15, 2011 at 2:42 PM  

If my favorite authors start only publishing digitally I will stop reading them. That's the only way to show how much you disagree with the changes that are taking place.

I don't agree with the TSA and their pat downs and the body scanners so I don't fly anymore. If more people did the same thing they would lose money and change the way things are done.

I feel the same way about ebooks. If authors start only publishing digitally and readers stop buying the ebooks they will lose money and change the way the do things.

Artemis December 15, 2011 at 4:42 PM  

I've had my Nook for over a year now, and honestly, I still don't like it very much.

Yes, I have access to a zillion new authors, books, magazines, etc., but come on, who has time to read all of that? I sure don't. I stick with the tried and true, venturing out to stick my toes in the deep end every once in awhile. And not very often because I can't afford new authors that suck!

I'm very disappointed in the revolution of digital books because I still can buy print books cheaper. So, in the end, I don't buy ebooks. I would say 99% of my digital content comes from free downloads. I'm not going to pay $4.99 for an ebook novella or short story - ain't gonna happen. And I won't pay $7.99 for digital when I can get my usual mass market paperback at a 30% discount from my favorite small independent bookseller.

In the end, I still love the smell of a freshly printed book. I can hold it in my hand, pet the cover, stare at it on the shelf, trade it, and even fret over my towering TBR Mountains.

Just what can you do with bits and bytes? Not a damn thing.

Estella December 15, 2011 at 5:42 PM  

I love my Kindle, but am still a paperback reader.

Catherine Lee December 15, 2011 at 9:18 PM  

I am so glad to hear that you are a big fan & supporter of your local library. I'm a librarian and you're's much harder for self-published and indie authors to get onto the library shelves. We want reviews in established review sources. My New Year's resolution is to discover new book bloggers and new (to me) authors....and then try to get some of their works into my Library.

Catherine Lee

jkrowyn December 15, 2011 at 9:39 PM  

I disagree with that first comment. I own a kindle and I find that I read books much faster than I did paper. I do occasionally pick up a paperback, but I mostly read on my kindle now. I do agree that I hate to pay so much for a book that I don't own or can't trade it in for credit at my local used bookstore. But I do like the ease of being able to carry my kindle everywhere, it's lightweight and I can download a book anytime or anywhere that I want. It makes my very upset that ebooks are being held back on release dates. I do not rush out to buy the hard copy, I wait, but it's still not right. I do get the hardbacks for my favorite writers, my favorite series. I will buy books I see at the bookstore that I feel I must have, but mostly I just download now.

LilMissMolly December 15, 2011 at 10:49 PM  

I have not jumped on the ereader band wagon for a few reasons:
Editing stinks on the e-reads only.
It's harder to flip back a few pages and find what you want to re-read.
It's harder to fall asleep with one in your lap.
I work at a computer all day and don't need something else "digital" to distract me.
The gorgeous covers just don't translate as well on a screen as opposed to a book.
I truly pray that my beloved paperbacks are not soon to be like VHS and betas.

Anonymous,  December 15, 2011 at 10:58 PM  

I will say I agree with much of what you have said in this post. My biggest concern is the quality of the books that will be e-published. Even well established, good authors need editing and proof reading. I have found some glaring mistakes in self-published books that a good proof reader or editor would have found. I do like that they will have more control over when their books will come out and what will be published. Many have books that don't fit the profile the big publishing houses have built for them. As a result, they won't publish them. In some cases a six book series has been cut to 3 and the author has books left hanging. One good thing would be the opportunities open with the big publishing houses for aspiring authors. Good for them and good for us - more good books to read.

Thanks for an interesting discussion.

erin December 16, 2011 at 12:14 AM  

Thanks for lovely and thought provoking post!

I agree with everything you wrote. As an enthusiastic and avid Kindle user (especially now that I've upgraded to Fire), I find myself buying most of my books for my Kindle. I do still have the books that I really want/like in paperback, But I'm willing to try new authors more willingly on the Kindle. This is mainly b/c they are under $3 which is the most I'll spend for a new author. I won't do that in print unless I find them at a used bookstore.

I do agree that the big publishing houses aren't endearing themselves to their readers. I try and keep up with the latest news and it's troubling. I hate to see any one business have a monopoly, but Amazon is the only one that is actually listening/providing services that their consumers want. I love my print books still but the prices keep going up and I've heard that eventually mass market paperbacks will go away and all books will be trade. I'm not a fan of the size or the price, so I'm hoping the "big 6" get their acts together.

gamistress66 December 16, 2011 at 2:32 PM  

I enjoy my e-reader, being able to have a book I want instantly is nice (though hard on the budget since I don't always take the time to think before I buy) as is the variety of books, etc. there are times though I still enjoy having an actual book in hand. I also have issues regarding many of the things mentioned -- pricing, drm, not really owning something I buy, etc. one other issue I find with e-books -- knowing how long the story is, is it a quick read great for before bed, or a full novel. while some sites give you word count or different indication as to the size, after purchasing the book & adding it to the library, I can't tell. With a physical book, you can instantly tell just by looking at it, can quickly see if there is filler in the front or back or font used effecting the page count. Also, just turn the book over & there's what the book is about, can't always tell an an ebook till you start reading or go look it up again. the proliferation of books also (as you mention) make it hard to keep track of what's out there & what is worth reading. great sites like yours helps, but it's a balance of time between trying to find out the books I want to read vs actually getting to read them. times will continue to change whether we're ready, willing or not ;) hopefully the ride won't be too bad & will end up in a good place without too much regret over what was lost before we realized we were loosing it. thanks for the interesting insight & discussion :)

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I've wanted a Kindle for what seems like forever, but haven't been able to afford it (and that's saying something since I can justify the cost of just about ANYTHING that I really want). I've tried winning one in one of the many giveaways that have taken place over the couple of years, but with no luck :( So I've decided to take matters in hand so to speak :) I've now decided that I am going to accumulate enough Swagbucks from my Swabucks searches to buy in essence my new Kindle will be FREE...funded entirely by my internet searches done on Swagbucks. I'll keep you informed of the Great Kindle Quest below (in case you're interested....if not feel free to just skip over this part, but really who wouldn't be interested in a FREE Kindle?)
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