It’s time to go ebook, if you haven’t already. Today amazon.com releases their next generation Kindle2 ebook reading device, which is now able to pull information out of the (cell phone) wireless networks internationally…and you don’t have to subscribe to a cell phone service to do so. This means that the medium has gone totally global; you can read an ebook anywhere — and update/sync/buy anywhere, too.
So what? This means that publishers everywhere will now see a new way to reach millions of readers, so they’re all going to push these electronic formats (if they haven’t already). Readers like you and me, will benefit with a huge library of titles available, at cheap discounts and other incentives to start reading our books on these devices.
Stephen Marche wrote a great article in the Wall Street Journal, claiming that the release of the International Kindle 2 will change the book as we know it. A survey of industry insiders at the Frankfurt Book Fair discovered a belief that ebooks will surpass print books as the dominant medium by 2018. But don’t worry. The print versions won’t die; this is just another option. The industry is like the movies: you can watch it in the theater, or buy a DVD or stream it online. All the same movie. Same principle here for books. There are now just more “on demand” options for readers. As a writer, I only see this as one venue among many to reach people.
And amazon.com isn’t the only option (though, like iTunes, I think it will swiftly become the dominant way to get them, because they make it so easy). Barnes and Noble and Sony are both offering competition, and there’s more on the horizon. The ebook marketplace has been the realm of the independent bookseller for years already, too, so specialty publishers like my old friends at Delirium Books have launched imprints (“Delirium Digital Editions”) dedicated completely to very niche markets where you can get exclusive ebook titles only from them.
I feel like I’ve been there with ebooks since their infancy (e.g., the name of this website — gorelets.com — refers to the tiny e-book poems I used to distribute to palm pilot readers years ago, spurned by the fact that there were ebooks but almost none of them were poetry ebooks). A good number of my horror stories have been available at fictionwise.com for awhile now, and a hefty sampling of my books have been in ebook form for years. I’ve learned the ins and outs of working with small publishers to provide these titles cheaply in the electronic book arena. But I’ve always been a little reluctant to climb aboard the Amazon train, and only a few of my books and stories are available in e-format there.
I’m going to change that. In the months ahead, I plan to make more of my work available via amazon.com in Kindle format and may even (as one reader recently recommended) make this blog available on the Kindle. I’ll likely offer them a few original “Amazon Shorts” in the horror category — short stories you can only get on amazon.com. I’ve already updated my author profile page on amazon.com and I will start including links to their site for books.
I don’t expect to rake in the dough — I just want to reach more readers. And as a writer, I need to read the way readers do. I’ve come to the realization that my little old palm pilot just isn’t an adequate reflection of how people read ebooks anymore; and the computer screen has never been the most convenient substitute for a book. Kindle looks like the best, most dominant medium for the message. So I preordered my first Kindle yesterday, and expect great things. You should too. The time has come. They’ll get cheaper and better in the future — techie toys always do — but I’m convinced this is the watershed year for ebooks. You might as well get your feet wet now. Buy a Kindle!
And enjoy the horror. My first purchase on my new kindle will be Stephen King’s story written exclusively for — and about — the ebook, UR.