One of the big topics discussed among the ranks of writers of fiction and non-fiction these days is: E-publishing and what sort of future does it have?
Computers and the Internet are the wave of the future. It is becoming difficult to find someone who has not at least heard of the Internet. The Internet has moved into many aspects of our lives and is positioned to penetrate even further.
Many people already shop on the Internet for clothing, records, and paper copies of books. There are already a few sites where one may download a full novel off the Internet. The day is not far away where this will be a common practice and not the exception.
At the moment one of the big rages in England is the "book on demand" program. "Book on Demand" allows the bookstores to display only one copy of a book available for sell. The customer looks through all the samples on the shelves and decides which books they want to buy. They tell the clerk which ones they want and by the time they pay, the books have been printed and bound in the back room. It saves space in the bookstore, so they can offer a larger range of books for sell and thereby, better serve their customers. This is just one step away from e-publishing.
One of the first steps toward popularizing e-publishing is The Rocket E-Book (TM). The reader for these e-books is a small hand-held computer, not unlike a Palm Pilot (TM). The reader downloads the novel into the reader, where they may read it complete with bookmarks and the ability to make reader's notes on the side. It even comes with a touch-sensitive digitized screen. When one is finished reading a novel, they may delete it and replace it with another one. The present readers will hold up to ten novels but are very expensive, around $500. It is speculated that once the rocket readers go down in price and are more readily available to the general public, the e-publishing business will take off.
E-publishing has the potential of putting the control of their writing back into the author's hands. They will be able to market and sell their own books with very little overhead on their own web sites. Also, writers who write in genres or cross-genres that are not accepted by the major publishers will finally have a chance to have their novels seen. Of course, this freedom also allows for some works that are in no way ready for publication to find their way onto web sites. There will be more books to choose from but the readers will soon become more educated consumers as they learn how to shop for e-books on-line.
The major publishers are not unaware of the changing trends. They are well aware of what is coming down the pipes and are just biding their time. When the Rocket Readers are available to everyone then they will offer the ability to download their novels from their own sites.
If you are like me and love the feel and smell of a new book as well as loving to keep them on shelves around the house to read again and again, do not be too worried. The paper book will not go away. It will just be getting a new younger sibling.
More information on the Rocket Reader can be found at:
Kate Saundby provides "A Cautionary Tale"
Sally Odgers with "SF? Fantasy? What's the difference?"
Michael Barnette's "Commentary on E-Publishing"
Astrid Cooper on "Marketing and Self-Promotion"
Web sites of interest:
Inkspot Epublishing Forum
Lida Quillen's list of e-publishers
Joni has spent all her life daydreaming in Texas. A few years ago, a friend encouraged her to put some of her dreams on paper. What resulted was a series of strange stories. Several of which have been published. She feels indebted to the new friends she's made on-line and in local writer's groups who have been very instrumental in her growth as an author.
Over the last year and a half, she has become very active in many literary organizations and ventures. She is the Editor-In-Chief of Twilight Times, an established e-zine dedicated to speculative fiction. She recently served as the Graphic Arts Editor for Dark Star Publications. She also served as the Managing Editor of Twilight Times Books, the forerunner of Dark Star Publications, a subsidiary of Starlight Writers Publications. She holds several positions within Romance Foretold, including web spinner and magistrate of the new Poetry Shire. She is the Vice-President of the Denton Writer's League. Most recently, she accepted the job as moderator for the Poetry Forum at Inkspot.
As a writer, she had some small successes. The first few chapters of her novel White Fire have been running as a serial in Nightstalkers: Land of Eternal Night starting with the March 1998 issue. Her poem "The Fairie Ring" was in the Late August issue of Eternity. One of her short stories, "The Knight's Quest," was in an issue of the on-line magazine, TimeWinder and another "Ah MOM!" won first place in Romance Foretold's Halloween Fiction Contest. Joni has had seven other poems appear in several other publications in print and on the net. "E-Publishing" is the third article that she has written and she wrote it in response to all the talk about the future of the publishing industry.