As pretty much every publishing blog ever has reported by now, Dorchester, starting in September, is going to release ebooks followed by POD trade paperbacks rather than releasing mass market paperbacks. A lot of very serious people who know the industry very well have discussed this elsewhere and made very good points. I am not a very serious person, so I’ll make two points.
1. I, personally, am cool with this. Books are still going to be in stores, and in libraries, so I’ll still get my atavistic thrill from browsing at Borders. Also, POD and ebooks were a model I remember discussing back in my days at O’Reilly, so I think that is where things are going. Which is not to say that anyone else’s reaction is invalid, mind: I can speak only from the perspective of a new author whose book is releasing in spring. But I, myself, am fine with things.
2. Moving on to a lighter or at least less emotional topic, I’ve seen a lot of discussion, as a result of this announcement, about the advantages and disadvantages of ebooks. Ebooks are more convenient; ebooks are harder to curl up with; ebooks are more easily available; ebooks are less affordable. All good points. (I personally have no problem reading online, though I’m not buying an e-reader until either the price goes down or I go a whole year without leaving my cell phone somewhere random, because otherwise I foresee DOOM.)
The point I haven’t seen yet?
Ebooks are way easier to get away with reading at work.
Er, not that I do that. Or at least not at my current job: I like my current job. However, I’ve had jobs I liked a lot less, and I’ve also had jobs that were basically answering the phone when it rang and otherwise doing whatever I wanted as long as I looked professional. You break out a paperback while you’re at your desk, people are going to glance at you suspiciously.
But an ebook? You can read that at your desk and look like you’re scrutinizing important email or going over annual reports. Plus, if you hear the boss coming, you can switch over to an Excel spreadsheet far more easily than you could put away a hard-copy book. I’m just saying, is all.
Maybe I should find a way to market directly to millennial-generation slackers. 😉