by John D M Myer

Author of Grandpa Goes To Galveston

ePublishing from my point of view

Wow! When Smashwords started 4 years ago ebooks were less than 1% of the book market. As of the first quarter in 2012 some numbers indicate a 30% share for ebooks. It is a moving target, so the exact numbers aren't correct tomorrow. The industry has some major problems to solve to keep up the growth. As an aside here, I hope that paper books will still be produced for years to come. Some of the problems are:

  • How to get brick and mortar book stores to sell ebooks
  • How to reduce the mass piracy
  • How to get ALL ebooks capable of a standard format such as epub or pdf
  • How to find the good stuff
  • How to avoid the junk

First on brick and mortar stores. Include all the indie stores and there are still quite a few. Yes, Borders old stores stand empty across the US. Several methods of either coupon or promo code variety have surfaced but I am still looking for and trying to invent one that works well. Why? If we can extend the life of those bookstores we'll have a great place to sip some coffee or such and browse the shelves. Does their demise mean libraries will eventually become just a row of computers in a much smaller building?

Piracy doesn't seem to be phased by DRM (Digital Rights Management) or copyright laws. We need an active international effort to close the pirates the day they open. Low prices on ebooks from indie authors should encourage all but the most dishonest among us to buy their ebooks from sources that do pay the authors.

No, I don't mean that we should all be reading in one format. Some tech readers swear by pdf's for all the technical illustrations. Smashwords publishes a long list of formats including ePub, Mobi, pdf, text, html and more. Our most immediate problem here is Amazon, that like IBM in the 1960's, believes they are big enough to dictate to the market. Let's hope that they soon realize that good service and convenience plus price are a better way to compete rather than trying to muscle authors to be exclusive with them.

Traditional publishers and authors keep shouting that readers won't be able to find the wheat among the chaff in ebookworld. So far, readers seem to have found a number of authors that were missed by those traditional publishers. We do have some read and rate sites that help but the scale is still way too small for most of us. I also like finding that hidden gem that has low sales figures but is just what I wanted to read.

This is America folks. We need to put up with those less than marvelous ebooks that were never proofread, let alone editted by authors that have an ego to feed rather than a story to tell.

For other views of epublishing try the links in the right panel on this page. Konrath, Smith and Lisle are successful ebook authors. Lisle, Smith and Ingermannson have written extensively on writing and publishing. Ingermannson is the author of an entry in the Dummies series with a writing fiction entry.

Perhaps the way to start after reading the blogs from the panel is to read the requirements to publish with Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.