Is the Print Book Destined For Death?

August 8, 2008 at 10:55 am 14 comments

Within the past week I’ve had two people say to me – “but I like REAL books!” They were, of course, unhappily referring to the increasing popularity of electronic readers such as Amazon’s Kindle, and therefore the increasing popularity of books you can download and read on said reader. Unfortunately, I own no shares in (I wish I’d gone with my gut instinct on this years ago rather than listening to the dotcom doomsdayers, one of which was the investment guy who advised me to buy mutual funds whose managers are now all in jail), but that’s beside the point. Granted, in a way I agree – there is nothing like holding a book in your hands; it’s tangible, tactile, it looks nifty on a bookshelf, and hell, it can even make a damned good door-stopper, to say nothing of performing other important household functions. Why, just the other day while Facebooking I found myself being harassed by a wasp. Needless to say, he meet his fate quickly (and no doubt painlessly) at the hands of a novel I’d grown bored of reading.

So why am I jabbering on about Amazon Kindle? Well, for very good reason! My bestselling and now out-of-print erotic novel The Captivity of Celia (written as M. S. Valentine) has just been published as a Kindle book. Indeed, thanks to Amazon Kindle it has been brought back to life, and several of my other Valentine titles will be following suit via this platform. Is that such a bad thing? Not if it puts a few bob in my pocket! And I’m suddenly hearing from other authors who are feeling quite encouraged about this new opportunity to gain readers and thus earn a bit to put toward the rent.

Speaking from the rather prejudiced perspective of a writer, the really great thing about the Kindle is that the author can publish directly with Amazon, thereby cutting out those annoying little middlemen such as literary agents and book editors and publishers who, as many of us in this business have already learned, know as much about publishing good books as your senile old Aunt Gertrude in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hang on a minute – isn’t Gertrude the name of that editor who rejected my last book?

So before we go starting up a Kindle fatwah, we need to gain some perspective. People who like print books will always buy print books. The marketplace cannot ignore such a large percentage of readers. However, those who prefer the transportability, the varied features, and the ability to store a multitude of titles, not to mention being able to bookmark them, will add the Kindle to their reading repetoire. There’s room for all of us. Let’s just all try to get along, shall we?


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14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Madeline Moore  |  August 10, 2008 at 12:13 am

    I think kindle will be great for kids. Right now they lug their weight in books on their backs, stuffed into a backpack along with all the other paraphernalia kids need to get through the day. Now, just imagine if all those textbooks could be replaced with a kindle.

    At first I ignored kindle but now that I’ve had a look at it I have to admit I’m impressed. I like the idea of a dictionary that is part of my book, as well as the idea of storing all the books in one slim package. I haven’t tried one yet, but if it is truly similar to the experience of reading a book, where’s the downside?

    Congratulations on having your book reissued as a kindle.

  • 2. mitziszereto  |  August 10, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Thanks very much. You know, that is an excellent point. I am not sure if it’s been addressed re kids using it for textbooks. The fact is, you can flit back and forth in a book, find things easily via bookmarks, etc. It’s perfect for students – whether schoolkids or university students. And the cost to publishers publishing on this platform is next to nill. No one really loses out.

  • 3. Ro  |  August 10, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    I’ve been toying with e-readers (partly professionally) for many years and the problem has always been in having decent, portable readers. After all, one of the great benefits of a paper book is that you can carry it anywhere.

    It’s only recently that half-decent portable readers have started to appear on the market. Now the biggest problem – aside from the initial cost – is the number of incompatible systems. Give it a couple more years and one will probably become the de facto standard. I suspect it may well prove to be Kindle. Once that happens, prices will fall and we’ll probably see them becoming much more popular.

  • 4. shelia  |  August 11, 2008 at 2:11 am

    I prefer print books because I’m on the computer all day. When it’s time for me to relax with a book, I want something I can hold in my hand.

  • 5. mitziszereto  |  August 11, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Oh, I know where you’re coming from on that! Interestingly, however, the people who seem most keen on the Kindle are those who do, in fact, spend all their work (and leisure) hours in front of the computer. So really, it’s just one more way in which we can choose how we wish to read.

  • 6. Chaz Folkes  |  August 11, 2008 at 10:22 am

    I also believe that there is room for both forms and if a book is out of print, an ‘e’ release might encourage a reprint in paperback; it would be a nice thought at least.

  • 7. John Boland  |  August 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Two things: well maybe 3:
    1) interestingly enough Amazon just bought which sells a ‘real’ book every 2 seconds. 160 mill. for a company 10 years old, started with no money.
    2) I’m just redoing so I can switch to Dreamweaver. Also chance to redo every page with the hundreds of google alerts I have on Spud. And I am in process of setting up blog at same time!!!
    3) and your note about Kindle has helped rekindle my efforts to redo my second book as it really would be better on the net.

    So thanks…
    webmaster for the Estate of Spalding Gray

  • 8. Gill Hands  |  August 11, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Anything that gets more people reading MUST be good,and welcome to blogland btw.

  • 9. mitziszereto  |  August 11, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Yup, you are so right! And thanks… 😀

  • 10. Sue Guiney  |  August 12, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Lots of discussions about ebooks this summer, and my own publisher, bluechrome, blogged on this subject just a few days ago. He has convinced me that kindles and other ebook machines are good, helpful to small presses, and will keep books (not to mention their publishers and authors) alive. I know he will be setting my novel up to be published in this format, and I think it’s exciting. Never thought I’d hear myself say that, though.

  • 11. Gary Eby  |  August 12, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    I appreciate the information you are sharing on this blog. Other writers and authors could benefit from your wisdom. Feel free to let them know about your blog and facebook pages at my publishing club on Squidoo. Sincerely: Gary Eby, author and therapist.

  • 12. mitziszereto  |  August 12, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks very much. I will look you up!

  • 13. naomi  |  August 12, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    congrats on having your book re-issued! I for one, will always prefer the good old fashioned paper pages! That said if I was trying to find a book and it was only available through kindle, ect I would seek that version out.

  • 14. Brenna Lyons  |  August 12, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    As an indie/e and indie/e/p regular, you don’t have to sell me on e-books. I read more e-books per year than I do print books, and my current books available for sale include: 6 works in print only, 7 in e-book and print, and 14 in e-book only. Coming in the next few years (that I know so far), I have 1 in print only, 19 in e-book and print, and 2 in e-book only. My OOP titles (some of which are already contracted to release again…most of them in e-book and print this time, if they were in e-book only before) include 6 in e-book and print both and 10 in e-book only.

    We do still need an affordable, durable reader that reads all file types…and/or a universal file type every reader can read, but we’re getting there.

    As for the reissue…issue, if you’ll pardon a pun, I’d also opt for Fictionwise release, if you have at least ten offerings to give them that have been released before, in any combination of pen names. Now, this may change, in the future, but so far, I’ve made MUCH more money from Fictionwise than I’ve made from Kindle sales, so I make sure any e-book releases of mine go there. Besides, FW offers a ton of formats, including Sony…which means you’ll have your books available for every major reading device and not just Kindle. Just a thought.



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What I Get Up To

I write, I blog, I Mitzi TV, I network, I breathe, I get my name in the press... I'm a true Renaissance lass! My books include IN SLEEPING BEAUTY'S BED: EROTIC FAIRY TALES; GETTING EVEN: REVENGE STORIES (crime); THE NEW BLACK LACE BOOK OF WOMEN'S SEXUAL FANTASIES (non-fiction/survey); DYING FOR IT: TALES OF SEX AND DEATH (multi-genre); THE WORLD’S BEST SEX WRITING 2005 (non-fiction/criticism); WICKED: SEXY TALES OF LEGENDARY LOVERS; the EROTIC TRAVEL TALES anthology series; the M. S. Valentine erotic novels; and a slew of titles available on Amazon Kindle. Find me on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Tumblr, Plurk, Social Median, and wherever else I might decide to turn up!

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