future of eBooks

Often, potential clients will tell me they’ve written a book, but when they tell me it runs 30,000 or 40,000 words, I have to break the news that they’ve written an animal that’s too long for an article and too short for a book. No more! eBooks break us out of the limitations of bindings and paper orders, allowing us to create books that are of that “in between” length. You can learn how to submit your book to Amazon’s new Kindle Singles program for those “in between” works here.

Of course, this opens up the question of, when will Amazon/Kindle and B&N/Nook take over the traditional job of publishers by wading through submissions and choosing the best ones, then providing editorial guidance to make the books “sing”? Will they soon begin working with freelance book publishing professionals to create an editorial vision or voice, weeding out the marginal material and highlighting the works truly of value to readers who aren’t related to/best friends with the amateur author?

future of eBooks

Google knows searching and downloading, independent booksellers know how to sell a book. Now Google is going to act like a wholesaler to independent bookstores, offering eBooks that can be read on any device. Independent booksellers will be the ones to recommend particular books. Check out this New York Times article on how it will work.

Of course, this means that people still have to be drawn into the bookstores and get into the habit of trusting the recommendations of booksellers who are known for hand selling books.

future of eBooks

The New York Times has revealed it’s now commonplace for rock and roll acts to offer a V.I.P. to rabid fans with deep pockets. For $1000, you get front row seats, an exclusive catered party invitation, merchandise, and perhaps a chance to hob nob with your favorite rocker and get your photo taken.

“If you call something deluxe, if you call something unique,” said Jon Landau, Bruce Springsteen’s long-time manager, “this is America — someone will buy it.”

What if you could buy an e-edition of the Jane Austen collection which was loaded with all the best commentary on her works from all the greatest scholars, all the movies, a link to her fan club forum, and a chance to win a date with Jane? (OK, the latter wouldn’t quite work, but you get the idea).

Publishers are chasing after A-, B-, and C- list celebrities on any old topic that halfway fits with what they’re famous for, and ignoring their backlist and the opportunities for synergy (I remember that word from back in the early 90s, when megacorporations gobbled up independent publishers and insisted that this would be beneficial because every division would work creatively with each other–that didn’t seem to happen anywhere).

What about nonfiction that would easily hook into other nonfiction and be searchable in e-form? Those of us who would buy the 3 top books on a subject anyway would be willing to pay a little more to be able to cross check topics, get links to outside resources, and directly email the authors through a simple link.

Book publishers need to recognize they are not in the book biz but in the creative assembly and distribution of information biz.