The Wall Street Journal published a rather silly article on the effect of e-books on literary fiction. The award-winning, New York Times bestselling science fiction and fantasy writer Michael Stackpole has kindly deconstructed the piece for us. You can follow the above links to read the original article and Mike's challenge to it.
If you don't have time to read Mike's whole post (which I recommend), here is the heart of his well-reasoned article:
"For years and years and years, literary fiction has been a losing proposition for publishers, and income from genre fiction has subsidized their spending on books that few folks read outside of college courses. In short, commercial fiction pays for literary fiction, despite literators despising commercial fiction. Now that economic realities have caught up with literary fiction, literary writers are facing the same life-choices that the rest of us have been handling for decades. It’s a bubble that’s bursting, the same way the techno-thriller, horror and cyberpunk bubbles burst. It’s the reality of the publishing economy that’s causing this economic disruption, not ebooks. As I’ve showed in previous posts, ebooks are actually more profitable for publishers than paper books. In the digital economy, publishers will profit more, though their cash flow will fall—a point I’m very surprised the Wall Street Journal, of all publications, has failed to recognize. "
My own take on the subject, published last month on AOL.com, might add some perspective, as well. You can find it reprinted here. Personally, since owning a Kindle, I actually buy more books than I ever did. It's so much easier than truckin' on down to the public library! I hope you'll share your own thoughts about e-books as part of this discussion.