Give me a new book…NOW!

We hear it all the time at the library.

“I wish this author would write faster. I can’t wait until the next book is released!”

While it’s true that it takes time for a book to be published, there is a new demand for books to come out sooner. It’s a combination of the society we live in, with it’s on-demand everything, and competition from the self-publishing world. Is this a good thing?  Let’s explore the options.

Authors probably write faster than you imagine. While it takes anywhere from 8 months to a year or more for some books to be released, the author has long since written the story. Much of the time in between takes place in editing and production. There are book covers to be designed, editing to be done, publicity decisions to be made, and so much more. In the past the wait has been exciting–a lead up to a new book in a series, or a stand-alone by a popular author. Both could send people scrambling to the stores the moment the book hit the shelves. But much has changed.

Even if you still buy the traditional hardcover book, the instant world we live in allows for someone to download an eBook version in a matter of seconds (or minutes), the moment the clock hits midnight. It’s exciting to have so much available to us at our fingertips. We’ve come to expect it. So, waiting a year or more for a book to be released is an eternity!

And now there are more authors following the non-traditional self-publishing route, allowing them to take charge of their careers and listen to their audience. If people are begging for a new book, even if an author has just released one only a few months before, authors are able to fill in the spaces with downloadable novellas, short stories or even full-length novels to keep their readers interested and buying. It’s making the traditional publishing houses a little nervous.

While people are starting to make their choices known, the publishing world is responding. Several houses are starting to experiment with shorter release dates.  Yes, this probably puts a lot of pressure on their authors, and most likely does a real number on their catalog organization, but it’s making some authors–and LOTS of readers—very happy.

The New York Times just released an article about series publishing, citing FIFTY SHADES OF GREY by E.L. James as starting the trend for fast-turnover publishing. While these were self-published, James didn’t waste any time between books, allowing her followers to scoop up the books without much downtime. It followed the binging trend that we see most often in Netflix viewers who are used to the concept. And now publishing houses like Dutton are giving it a whirl.  They just released the first of a trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer called  ANNIHILATION, and will release the second book in the series in May, and the third in September.  It’s a trial run, sure to please fans who want to know what happens. But some are worried it will saturate the market too quickly, and won’t build the same kind of fan base.

bookshot_vandermeer_annihilation-208x300

One also wonders what it is doing to the authors. Are they having to work double time to not only write, but promote an entire series? Will the finished product be as good as it might be if it is rushed? Will it actually make some authors more popular because readers know they won’t have to wait long for books, or will they tire of an author who is constantly chugging out collections?

Only time will tell, of course, but it’s an interesting idea that needs to be explored.  If you like to read a series from beginning to end without waiting, this idea could be for you.  Maybe this is a trend all publishing houses will soon follow and we won’t have much choice. We’d like to know what you think, however.  Would you prefer an entire series to be released in short order, or do you worry about quality over speed? Leave us a comment to tell us how you feel.

Published in: on March 20, 2014 at 3:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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Your Invisible To Be Read Pile

I always enjoy looking at the stack of books sitting on my bedside table. It’s a stack of possibilities, of worlds I can’t wait to visit and new friends to meet. It’s ever changing, depending on my likes and on my schedule. Sometimes, it’s big and bulky–always falling over when I knock the table the wrong way—sometimes, there are only a few slim books. But I enjoy looking at it, either way.

IMG_2868(Not my actual stack of TBR books, but you get the point.)

The idea of a “to-be-read” pile is exciting, even if no one else sees it. But what if you read eBooks and download all your desired titles to your Kindle or iPad. What happens to that pile?  It’s no longer there. For some, this might be appealing…very organized and easily switched around. You can take your entire TBR pile with you on vacation or on a business trip. You can read anything from your list at any time….on the bus, at the top of a mountain, or in a small cafe halfway around the world. There are no limits when you have your books on a device. Who wouldn’t like this?

Me.

I enjoy looking at that stack, and while I often augment my choices with eBooks and audiobooks that I’ve either purchased or downloaded from the library, I still like the feel of actual books. I like looking at the spines all lined up, the various book cover colors and font styles forming their own piece of art. Isn’t that why people artfully arrange books on shelves in their homes? You can look in any magazine and see books as decor, but I challenge you to find even one eBook reader on display. Even an article recently in The Guardian proclaimed that 16 – 24 year olds prefer print books to digital ones, regardless of the fact that they are considered the generation of technology. They cited an emotional attachment to books as one of the reason they like to hold hard copies in their hands—it’s easier to become involved with a book you’re holding, and books as a status symbol, of sorts. The more books on their shelves, the more privileged the readers appear to be.

The same debate seems to be revolving around people who read solely on a device. Although many people are thrilled with the ease at which they can carry around many books and switch between them at will, something is lost by others not being able to see what you’re reading. Isn’t that part of the fun? How many times have you seen someone reading a great book and commented to them about it? It’s a great way to strike up conversation (speed daters, take note!), and many readers will love to talk with someone else about what they’re reading.

Do you have a stack of to-be-read books, and if so, does it include eBooks or are you old school all the way? Do you care that no one can see what you’re reading if you do it on a device? Do you prefer this? Join the conversation below!

Published in: on January 15, 2014 at 3:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Are You Ready for a Book Apocalypse?

bookapocalypse

Much has been said recently about the idea that print books will become obsolete in the near future. While many people have embraced “new” ways of reading (ebooks, audiobooks etc.), a lot of people are reluctant to give up print books altogether. But what happens if the world changes and a total print apocalypse happens?  Would you be ready???

What is a Print Apocalypse?

The complete destruction/removal of any printed matter on a worldwide scale.

How Quickly Would it Happen?

A total annihilation of books would probably take some time, especially when you consider the number of books in libraries, schools, stores etc. Once the print apocalypse begins, however, it would mean nothing new would make it to printed form.  I don’t think we have to worry quite yet, but there may come a time in the future where everything will become digital.

Can I Stop It?

Probably not. Ebooks are here. Digital media is not going away. As much as we love the smell of books, the weight of a good book, and the joy of opening a cover and beginning to read, digital books/newspapers/information will allow us to carry more, have updates by the second and let us read the latest thriller within seconds of its release. This is a good thing. Really.

How Can I Prepare?

Right now, most of us are comfortable reading headlines and articles on the internet. Some people have graduated to reading books online or on a device. And there is a growing number of people who have stopped darkening the doors of libraries and bookstores altogether, preferring to read only on a tablet or e-reader.

If you don’t regularly read the headlines or articles online, that might be the place to start. Find you favourite newspaper online and read it on your computer for a week. Or subscribe to you favourite magazine on your tablet. Most mags and newspapers are interactive now, which means you can download recipes, shop directly for whatever you see on the pages and email the author of an article you enjoyed, right from your computer or device.

Your next step would be to learn how to download ebooks, either from an online store, or free from your library. Once you begin, it might not be your sole form of choice, but you’ll probably discover it’s much nicer to bring along a tablet that weighs 10oz when you travel, rather than a suitcase full of books.

What If I Can’t Do It?

New technology can be difficult at first. Understand that, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Young people are GREAT resources for helping with devices and technological issues. So grab a kid, or check out the “help” section of most web pages. Embrace technology. You won’t be left behind in when the Print Apocalypse happens!

Published in: on October 7, 2013 at 1:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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eReaders?

Just a funny comic that was in the newspaper this weekend that more than one person mentioned at the front desk!

IMG_4849

Published in: on July 25, 2013 at 1:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Kindle Fire + Canadian Libraries = ♥

The Kindle Fire has just been released in Canada!  While many will not even care about this interesting news, the showy tablet has some bonuses for Canadian users….they can now use the library OverDrive app on a Kindle!!

fireThe Kindle Fire seems to be the only Android-based Kindle product, and therefore, allows library users access to books through the OverDrive app.  Apparently, you’ll need some account information (like Amazon info), an Adobe ID , and of course your library card number and PIN to download books. After that, you’re good to go.

So far, all of the other Kindles are not compatible with the Canadian Library version of OverDrive, but that may come at some point. For now, Canadian librarians are rejoicing (or cringing) as we add one more device to our line up of eBook/audiobook readers.

Science Fiction Writers of America Outraged Over Hydra Contract

When we purchase books, many of us probably never think about all the legal things that go on behind the scenes when a book gets published. Last week, however, the Science Fiction Writers of America were up in arms about a new contract idea from Random House that affects their science fiction e- imprint, Hydra. They are not happy, and Random House doesn’t seem to see the problem.

Traditionally, in simple terms, writers are paid an advance from the publishing company as payment for their work. The publisher assumes all costs for printing, binding, distribution etc., and the book is put on the shelves. As the book begins to sell, the publisher is paid until all their costs are recouped and the advance they gave the author has been recovered, and then the author begins to share the profits with the publisher. If costs are not recovered because a book doesn’t do well, an author might never see any more money other than their advance.

ebooks

With this new model, there are differences because of the fact they are an e-imprint (which means no binding etc., but includes different costs such as digital marketing), but they’ve also switched up all the rules. An author picked up by Hydra will have to cover all the costs and will be paid no advance. That means, Random House might decide to pay their editors $5000 if they feel it is necessary, and their marketing team $8000 if that’s what they believe they need in order to make the book successful.  The author has no choice in the matter and must shoulder the costs.  Then, when the book starts selling, both author and publisher share the royalties.  The argument is that the publisher is taking a chance on the author by giving them the opportunity and providing them with the best people in the business, and yet they both get to reap the rewards right from the start.

It seems like it might be an interesting way to do business, and one which some authors would jump at the chance for. But wait…….

The catch is that the author now also loses all rights to their work, too...indefinitely. The publisher asks for all rights, in all forms, for the life of the copyright (which could work out to be 70 years or more after the death of the author). You can see why people are upset.

Last week, there was much uproar over the whole idea, and Random House replied with their own letter to the Science Fiction Authors of America to try to make them see the light. I’m not sure it worked.  It might be more work and cost more money and maybe not net the author the same residuals, but it’s looking like self-publishing might be the way to go to avoid the massive copyright problems. You can read the Random House letter here to see for yourself.

The real problem with this new model, if accepted, is that it might be game changing for the business. What if paper books went the same way? Many authors wouldn’t be able to afford the costs of producing the books and would be forced to release in ebook format only.  If other imprints follow this new direction, the world of publishing is changing, for good or not. Will this be the direction ebook publishers have been longing for since their inception? We’ll have to wait and see.

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