Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

I'm not going to use this forum to express my political views.  One of the things we are taught is that discussions about religion and politics often end in arguments.  We each have a unique stand on these issues that might be clear as mud to the person beside us, so I will choose to exault our independence and be thankful for those who have fought hard to secure it for us, and not condemn those that have taken advantage of it and corrupted the system our forefathers worked so hard to build. (oops, I guess I did express a teensy little opinion . . .)

I find myself today thinking about the evolution of change.  The cliche is that nothing is so certain in this life as change, and I know I've seen more than my fair share.  In my job, in my life.  Change is always difficult, by its very nature.  Its our adaptability that measures how difficult that change will be.  I see the publishing industry changing, much the same way the music industry changed.  It is clear that we are advancing further into an electronic age.  I voiced my opinions on the Kindle, et. al. in another post a few months back.  I see this as an inevitable evolution, but as in music, it is not clearly one or the other, it is more the trend, allowing for holdbacks and conscientious objectors.  The thing that disturbs me, however, is the greed that walks hand in hand with the process of change.  Case in point:  I have published two e-books in conjunction with the publication of the paperback version of those novels.  The selling price was about $5 as I recall (don't quote me, I'd have to go back and check).  As I was researching an electronic reader, I came across a disclaimer that I couldn't currently buy any books because they were restructuring the pricing of same.  It seems that with increased demand, they feel it necessary to increase the price.  So now, instead of buying a relatively inexpensive to produce ebook for $5, they want you to pay $10.  I get the economics of it - they have to pay for the hardware and the infrastructure, but on the other hand, isn't a lot of that already in place?  They are charging high prices for the readers to cover the cost of manufacture and networking, it seems to me.  Maybe I'm missing something and I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I have a real problem with increasing the cost of ebooks just because there is a greater audience today than there was in the past.  That being said, if the publishers choose to go away from the production of paperback versions, then maybe they need to cover the cost of marketing and editing and all the other things that go into publishing a novel, but then I consider paperback books in the grocery store.  Aren't they still selling for $4.99 or $7.99?

Yes, the face of publishing is changing.  I can accept that.  I see it as a higher mountain to climb - more competition with an easier to access format.  In an already highly-competitive profession, I have my concerns about what the market is willing to bear, and quite frankly, it is influencing my decision of whether or not to buy a book reader.  If I'm going to pay full price for an ebook, seems to me holding a paperback in my hand for the same or less would contradict the desire to change.  Or maybe I'm just old fashioned . . .

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