Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Changing Face of Books

When I started my journey toward publication just a couple of years ago (and I mean barely started--at that point I had a manuscript that was in such sorry shape that you would never know it was the embryonic phase of the novel I'm now sending queries about) I started poking my nose around the idea of the e-book. Just two short years ago, the overriding opinion was that e-books sat in a tiny niche that made it so you couldn't lose the user's manual to a piece of electronic equipment, and that the publishing industry didn't see the e-book ever growing into a mainstream means of publication.

Fast forward to 2010, and statistics show us that books sold in electronic formats have seen a 233% surge in sales over the past year. We've got the Kindle, the Nook, Sony's reader, and of course the iPad (which, by the way...the iPad's sales at its launch apparently dwarfed the launch of iPhone, and if you've been awake for even a few minutes over the past five years , you know what a phenomenon that was.) So that little niche reserved for technical manuals and obscure pamphlets that were too tiny either in content or readership to garner paper publication has suddenly exploded into a force to respect.

I'm amazed, that even just in two years, this reversal has unfolded before my eyes. Where I once dismissed e-books, I'm now thinking that it's a non-negotiable that whatever publisher picks up my book will have to possess the capability to release my work in e-format. While I don't think the hard copy book is going away any time soon, (so many of us still love the smell and feel of a book) I do think that the electronic book is here to stay.

So what do you think? Do you own an e-reader? Are you anxious to buy one? Money aside, if you could have one in your hand today, which one would you choose? If your answer is "none," why is that?

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