New website is under construction.

Feb 15, 2009

One Thing I Hate About Ebooks

I think ebooks are close to having curl-up-in-bed portability. All the other stuff like, "I like the smell of musty paper" is something that is just a matter of what you're used to. It's meaningless in terms of giving print books any real advantage over ebooks on a reader.
Some people hate ebooks because they think they can't curl up in bed with an ebook. Some people hate ebooks because they miss the musty smell of paper, and the tactile delight of turning pages.

That's not my beef at all.

Here's the main difference in advantages I see between print and ebooks.

I have to update the programs on my computer every frickin' six months. I have actually lost some early pieces of writing because they are on floppy disks. I still have them physically, but they are inaccessible. In contrast, I also have books I've inherited from my grandmother, some of which are over two hundred years old. I can read them easily. They have permanence, solidity and accessibility in and of themselves -- they don't rely on someone else's platform.

Some people think ebooks will allow publishers to charge more for bestsellers than for newbies. This is one possible model, but it doesn't strike me as likely. It's not a model I would want if I were a bestseller!

I prefer the itune model for books. Sell every book of a set length for a set price (this is how epublishers do it now) and let reader-reviewers and word of mouth augment marketing in guiding readers what to buy.I actually think it would be very profitable for authors.

However, I'm not sure, as a reader, I like it in the long run. I already worry about what I'm going to do with itunes library if I want to move it to a new computer, never mind a new medium. It frustrates me that I might buy thousands of books and then if some company tanks or some computer grows obsolete, that's it, those books have to be re-collected all over again. And forget passing them to my grandchildren.

I've published three books. But I have no bound copy of any of them, since they're ebooks.

It bugs me.

No comments: