Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mourning the loss of the hardcover book

Will hardcover books one day be relegated to the dusty bins of second hand stores in the same way that old records are? Will our kids say, "Eww these books smell funny?" I was a long time hold out in converting to the digital world. My life is books, words and stories--even before I ever thought about sharing my own stories with the world, I had a near love affair with books. I have no idea how many I have, definitely over 500 and possibly even double that. I have overflowing floor to ceiling book shelves, books in boxes, books in bags, books in the closet. I would love to have a dedicated room just for books which would include a reclining chair and a hidden sound system where I can listen to some chill music and enjoy the feel of an actual book in my hand. 

But Mike Shatzkin, founder and chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, which advises book publishers on digital change says people like me need a reality check. And now I'm beginning to wonder if that's not true.

In a July 2010 article written by Clair Cain Miller for the New York Times she says: 
", one of the nation’s largest booksellers, announced Monday that for the last three months, sales of books for its e-reader, the Kindle, outnumbered sales of hardcover books.
In that time, Amazon said, it sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books, including hardcovers for which there is no Kindle edition.
The pace of change is quickening, too, Amazon said. In the last four weeks sales rose to 180 digital books for every 100 hardcover copies. Amazon has 630,000 Kindle books, a small fraction of the millions of books sold on the site."
I can tell you that there are now millions of e-books on Amazon. Near the center of each Amazon book page is a ranking in Kindle sales and then an option to view the top 100 in Kindle sales. It might surprise you to find that included in that top 100 list are some notable Literotica authors such as Selena Kitt. And if you go straight to the top erotic list it will read like a who's who of Literotica authors. Some have reverted to their 'real names' and changed the titles of their stories like Elliot Kay who was known as Bashfullyshameless on Literotica and wrote a Literotica award winning story called Angels, Demons and Alex. On Amazon it is entitled Good Intentions and peaked at 77 on the contemporary fantasy chart. 

In the top 100 in the multicultural genre, you are seeing Brenda Jackson, E Lynn Harris, Sienna Mynx and Me (BIG SMILES) at number 55 for CRASH!

I knew CRASH was something special but I didn't know it would hit the top 100! My top book is STRANDED ranked in all round Kindle sales at 5K. I've looked at the book which was 1 million on the list so being ranked at 5K in sales is pretty cool. 

I know that I couldn't have done this without you guys. I was a slow convert to e-books (both reading them and publishing in that format). And although I haven't given up my love of the hardcover books, I know that digital books give you many more reading options. And just because a book is in hardcover doesn't mean that it's going to be any good. We all know that. Digital books are cheaper, easier to store, and if you utilize the customer reviews you will have less of a chance of picking a bomb--they are a great option for people that have insatiable reading appetites.

With all that said, digital books can never replace the real thing for me. And yes, I still aspire to hold a hard copy of one of my books in my hand. But instead of going through traditional book publishers I am thinking long and hard about self-publishing my own hard copy books through Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Pepper,for this insightful article. I am one of many people who love hardcover books.When we had a storm in Los Angeles and the power went out. My sister could not read her books on her Nook. I pull out my handy flashlight and went into my reading room and chose a book to read. The realitiy is this, books are becoming more expense and only the well to do are able to afford to purchase books. The closing of Borders has left many communities without books. Books are important for the future. Yes,ebooks are easy to store but the poor are unable to purchase computers. I am waiting for you to print your book on Amazon in a hard copy. Thank you.


Holiday Shopping at Amazon