The Case for E Books
Way back in the mid 1930’ the paperback novels was introduced. This caused immediate revolution in the publishing industry. New publishing houses blossomed, new writers and genres found their way to readers eager to escape from the bleak reality that was the Great Depression.
But there were detractors, of course, who found the ‘dime novel’ and ‘penny dreadfuls’ (which btw, were around as early as the 19th century) to be considered a vulgar and profound waste of one’s time. Fortunately, the critics were few and far between, usually spoken by teachers who took them up during class time or parents who wanted their children to do chores instead of goofing off with a good book.
So you may be asking yourself now, why are we having this little history lesson?
Because history as we all know tends to run in cycles and the publishing industry has entered again into this by the introduction of the e-novel.
My friends scoff at me because I have written three e novels. Their chief complaints are that they don’t like reading novels off the computer that the e readers are too expensive, and they aren’t really books. After all, you can’t pick one up, thumb through it or cuddle with it before going to bed at night. And teachers tend to take up their student’s e-readers in class when they should be studying and kids (and grown ups) would prefer to read than do chores.
I assume these are similar arguments that those elitists for the early 20th Century gave when the mass market paperback made its debut. And I am willing to wager than once people get used to the idea of books on computer their doubts about whether this is a viable industry will subside and I dare say that the e novel may someday surpass, if not replace mass market paperbacks altogether. But not today. Fifty to a hundred years from now, perhaps, but not today.
Why do I say this? Because of the advantages e-novels have over the standard paperback. Here’s a short list:
- Expense: Paperbacks are no longer inexpensive. You can pay as much as 20.00 for a good paperback now. My e-novel, Marilyn is available at a humble 3.95 per download copy.
- Convenience: With the advent of Kindle and other e-readers makes it much easier to download an ebook and take it with you. Soon, I’m sure this industry as well will make it even easier to read and store e-books. Perhaps someday soon, you can store an entire library on your reader.
- Space: yes, space. E-novels only take up space on your computer or reader. They don’t take up shelf space. You don’t have to dust them or make sure the puppy doesn’t chew on them. You don’t have to worry about decay that plagues older books.
- Environment: All an e-novel does is displace a few electrons whereas paper and hard back publishing decimates forests.
Again, I don’t think that e-publishing will completely replace paper publishing anytime in the near future, but I do see it as a viable and flourishing industry that will, like its predecessor, the ‘penny dreadful,’ become a highly respected market soon. Some of the things I see happening with this industry are:
- College textbooks on kindle. Imagine the inexpense and ease of toting all your college text books on your e reader. Imagine going online and simply downloading your textbook for a fraction of the cost of a hardbound book.
- Imagine going into the library and downloading your favorite reads the same way you used to check out a book?
The possibilities are endless. I am happy and proud to be one an e-book author, working on the cutting edge of this new and wonderful technology.
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Causes Patricia Snodgrass Supports
The Hunger site
Children's Miracle Network
American Cancer Society
The American Heart Association