Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Golden Goose

Lately the industry news has bored me silly. (Well, maybe I was already a bit silly.) Have you ever sat back and watched someone make a big fuss about nothing? That's about how this eBook stuff strikes me.

Hullo? We live in a digital world - or at least we need to get up to speed that technology is catching up to the original StarTrek. There are five million-zillion eReaders (or a few less) - pick one. I'm just not there because I've seen it (and so have you) with videos - Beta, VHS, DVD, BluRay...and whatever is next.

I'll get excited when there is a universal or multiversal (made-up word) format. Until then, I'm sitting back watching everyone scramble to win our affections by aligning their catalogue with this reader or that one, and don't forget the app, thank-you-very-much. In the meantime, I'm not interested in reading about the price issue because if I don't like the price, I'm not buying it (whatever "it" is - including eBooks and their readers).

The same goes with the GoogleBookscan question that has been in and out of the news for years now. It's simple. Non-writer people got excited with their ability to digitalize printed matter and went off like "a house-a-fire" copying books like they were there for the taking. Just because a kid leaves their bike in the front yard doesn't mean it is free for anyone who wants it, it means the kid left it there and plans for it to be there when they return (not likely, but that is the expectation).

I don't buy for one minute that the bookscan project has anything to do with preserving our literary history - it has to do with making money off of writers' imagination and ability to do something talented with it. I don't really think anyone at GoogleBooks project came from a novelist background. The part that bugs the heck out of me is that libraries condoned this without regard to the fact that they own the book, not the content. How dare they! I'd have thought they knew better. I would have thought they had more respect for the craft.

While every other industry news item is about one of these, in one form or another, here we are writing our hearts out. (And laughing our butts off.) "They" don't seem to get it. All of this is about the business of making money off of our craft.

(Here's the silly part.) So I was thinking, what if we kept working in our cottage industry (that's what this is - a craft) but for SIX months didn't submit any queries? What if [also] all of us stopped selling our books - on our websites and shipping to the online retailers? Sure I know there are far too many writers who would cross the imaginary picket line, but wouldn't it be something to get everyone's attention that they are nothing without us?



  2. Oh I forgot all the news about the future or publishing - sheesh, like anyone knows what the future holds.

  3. Well, I think what you are referring to technology wise is known as the 'hype cycle' - all expectation and hype, then it settles down.

    Social media, for example, is said to be at the peak. It will change - it has to. Maybe the same with all this ebook stuff.


  4. Ah that explains it! Thanks, Carrie.

  5. I am not interested in anything technical except my laptop. I will not buy an ereader thingy, I like to turn real pages.

  6. Glynis, I'm with you. I'm a writer, who cares about the other stuff. I know that I have to be aware of the industry, but sometimes it all seems like a pesky misqueto. I like real books too. That's why my books are only available in paper format.

    Same goes for the social media, Carrie. I've never been one to do something simply because 'everyone' is doing it.