There’s Publishing, etc.,  —  Part Two 

6 Aug

A few months back, I promised a discussion of e-books, and then (as usual) was side-tracked by more enticing topics. Or something. So I’ll try to catch up with myself here and see where it goes.

E-books, meant to be read on an electric or electronic device of some kind, have been around for more than 35 years, believe it or not! True. But, they were not terribly workable, plus being slightly clumsy. Greater progress has been made in the last 15 or so years, however. I still have some I bought that were on a 3½ floppy or CD. For the most part these were prepared in HTML, and were not at all compatible with trying to print them out on paper. I’ve never read most of those older works, because trying to print them out was such a difficult thing to do that I just gave up. I did, however, actually buy them, so the author did get something out of it all.

There have been several devices made for this purpose, most of which are now part of history. Rocket Reader and Sony (several models) were the major producers in the mid-late 1990s, and then MicroSoft created a reader as part of Windows. At that time, we were still reading on our computers, however, and let me tell you, it’s really hard to cuddle up in front of the fireplace with a monitor and keyboard on your lap! Laptops of that era were not much better, either! (Nothing at all like the little tablet-gizmos of today. Really!)

In 1998, Amazon along with Barnes & Noble, began to sell e-books, but the first Kindle didn’t come along until 2005. NOOK followed in 2009, and the iPad in 2010. That did it! Soon there were all sorts of devices available for reading books, but of course, to put a big crimp in the competition, they always had to be in their own individual and very proprietary formats. One device could not speak to another. Oh, no! Google put the kibosh on that notion, with their Android OS and devices, and this has now become probably the biggest seller. Or if it isn’t Android, it’s iTunes.

And – they keep getting smaller all the time. I cannot imagine reading a book on my phone! I can’t even picture reading a way shorter ‘article’ that way. What will happen, I wonder, 40 years from now when all these 30-somethings will have to resort to the old ‘coke-bottle’ type (thick, in other words) lenses in their glasses or contacts? Of course by that time, they’ll probably have a port built into the skull somewhere in which an e-book can be downloaded into one’s head, without bothering to go through a device first!  I have to say I’m happy I won’t live that long. I don’t really want to know!

Of course, in the meantime, the MP3 format revolutionized the music industry. And guess what? It works for e-books, too! Much easier and way more convenient than the old cassette or newer CD versions of audio books. And of course, between Amazon and iTunes, there’s a sizeable market, not to mention AudioBooks.com. You can easily carry your entire library around in one small memory card or stick!

I think it behooves any author to at least consider this latter medium. I know I’m going to. I have years of reading/taping experience for the Cleveland Sight Center, and one of the books I taped for the Library of Congress Talking Books is still in their catalog nearly 20 years later. I was thrilled to make this discovery earlier this year. (Of course it doesn’t hinder the longevity that the novel is  by Nora Roberts!) I may not make it for any of my Regency Christmas novellas this year, but without a doubt I will do it during 2015.

I’ve just added a new novella for this year (Bella’s Legacy) at Kindle, and with a little bit of luck Francie’s Feast will be available before the end of August. (More about them next month, but in the meantime, here’s Bella’s cover!)   

bella cover-2

As always, if you have questions or comments please do write to me: bookmechanicATgmail.com

 

 

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