Future of Books

Excerpt:  Read the entire article at   The Independent: 

…He adds: “If the bookshop lets you have both and has a product every bit as good as the Amazon one, why wouldn’t you do it with a bookshop?”

Daunt makes no bones about his dislike of Amazon. “They never struck me as being a sort of business in the consumer’s interest. They’re a ruthless, money-making devil.” He dreads the physical bookshop disappearing altogether in the digital tsunami.

“The computer screen is a terrible environment in which to select books. All that ‘If you read this, you’ll like that’ – it’s a dismal way to recommend books. A physical bookshop in which you browse, see, hold, touch and feel books is the environment you want.”

As to the books-industry Cassandras who predict that publishers, agents and booksellers may all disappear in the next five years, “I wouldn’t bet against publishers,” he said. “The editorial process and the marketing – someone has to do it. I don’t think agents are the best people to do it.  Authors certainly aren’t – they need editing. I think either all three will survive or they’ll all disappear, swept away, replaced by one big fat Amazon, getting his way. And if the bookshops go, they will never come back.” His combative eyes glitter.

“So I have a responsibility.”

James Daunt: The CV 

***

ME:  I’ve got to admit that Mr. Daunt makes some good points.  There’s no denying that trying to write, edit, publish and market is too much for one person.  On the other hand–those publishing gates seem to be locked tight.

If the big boy publishers jump into the digital market, I think they’re going to have to expand their selections.  Most publishers only put out a certain genre by a few select writers.  I can’t really see them taking away from Amazon unless they broaden their horizons.

Maybe they could break into genres.  Say, one online spot being the place to go for romance, another being the place to go for sci-fi.

And they’ll have to offer lower prices than Amazon.  Personally, I think it’s outrageous to ask $10.00 for a digital book.  I mean, what’s the overhead on a digital book?  Granted, marketing will add to the price, but it’s still got to be cheaper than a dead tree book.  Right?

What do you think will happen???  I can’t think that it will help the Indie author one bit.

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7 thoughts on “Future of Books

  1. I don’t think paper books will ever go away. People like them too much, and there are too many practical reasons for needing a paper book instead of a digital one.

    I agree about the price of digital books. I can’t believe they should really cost what they do.

    I hope bookstores don’t go away, but I’m not exactly sure why. I never really shop in bookstores. I’m guilty of supporting Amazon, and I do it because Amazon is responsible for helping me find so many books and so much music that I otherwise would have never been introduced to. The “Customers who bought this item also bought” helps me. A lot. All of my most recent music purchases were found that way, and these are albums I can’t imagine living without. So, I’m kind of hooked on Amazon like a druggie is hooked on his/her dealer.

    Something has to change with the self-publishing world, though. Some writers can self-edit, but most cannot. And I don’t care if a self-published book costs 99 cents. If it needs editing, that 99 cents feels like 99 dollars.

    • Oh, I’m not knocking Amazon. I think Kindle rocks. That was Mr. Daunt. And I also like the customers-who-bought-this-also-liked-that. And I like the customer reviews, too. They’re a kick. Even made a few myself–not on books.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When I know that a book is self-published I’ll allow s good deal of leniency on minor errors. Of course, one wants to do a good job editing, but solo perfection is impossible. However, I do expect the author to have certain…….basics on structure, plot, pacing, POV….like that.

      Just the other day, I was reading a sample on Smashwords from a guy, who was obviously educated and had a great plot, but his words were TELLING, TELLING, and no showing anywhere in sight.

      • Wow. Well I once read a self-published book that, about 20 pages in, changed in format so it looked like the writer copied the entire thing out of Notepad with Word Wrap on. Either that,
        or the writer had written it
        on her phone and couldn’t
        be bothered to reformat it
        in Word And punctuation
        happened sometimes
        sometimes not

        And yes I forgot to mention Amazon reviews. Sometimes I check reviews on Amazon even if I want to buy the item elsewhere. It’s just a shame we can’t have Amazon and bookstores. Maybe Amazon needs to open some bookstores? What is that called… a monopoly? Haha…

  2. I have no idea what will actually happen, even though I’ve been speculating up a number of potential avenues on my blog…

    One thing, though, that most folks can’t seem to bring to mind (which I may do in my blog) is that no forward-moving process has a guarantee it will keep moving forward—inevitability isn’t as strong as it sometimes seems…

    We could well end up with a shaken-yet-strengthened-and-enlightened Publishing Industry working side-by-side with a vast increase in Self-Published Heroes 🙂

    • I like that scenario.

      I agree totally that they–whoever they turn out to be–will have to expand. I don’t think that most people are going to go to a dozen different sites, and they’re certainly not going to buy a dozen different gizmos to download books. You know, sometimes when I go to Best Buy they are all sold out of Kindles. If the other guys are going to start something, they better stop snoozing.

  3. Yep, Kay. I’ve seen some of that crap. I’m afraid a lot people ‘publish’ when they should be in a critique group. My guess is that they don’t know the difference.

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