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Fiction eBook Future Bright
The Web is awash with ebook fiction that often doesn't measure up to what readers demand. Thus
many no longer even consider a purchase of fiction in an ebook format. But this is changing. And
For Writers And Readers
Major Houses Are Moving Online
For some time now, work of established authors has been available in electronic form through
avenues such as Amazon.com. Offline print publishers have been tracking this new idea with keen
Now several publishers are making their entire list available in an electronic format. It seems likely
more will follow suit.
This means quality, professional work will soon be more readily available.
The Technology Behind It All
The reason print houses are making such moves is the proliferation of portable devices. Lap tops
have been around a while. But now we have dedicated reading devices, Palms and related devices,
and more recently, pocket computers.
Of note was the introduction of the Microsoft Reader a short time back. Software that runs on a
variety of devices. More recently, Microsoft has plunged into the hardware game with its Pocket
PC. Microsoft knows how to market. That they have joined in the fray, suggests a great future for
portable devices. And for authors and readers.
Why Portability Is The Key
The basic reason for lack of success in selling fiction in electronic form has been that most folks
won't read at a computer monitor. How-To topics seem to sell well. But not fiction.
Readers want to cuddle up on the couch, the beach, or wherever to read fiction. They don't want
to be locked to a chair in front of a desktop computer. They want to become totally comfortable,
as they are accustomed to doing with a printed book.
Portable devices now make this possible. While a bath tub might not be a good location, most
anyplace else will do.
What This Means To Writers
The path to becoming an established author will not change. First find an agent who can get your
book sold. Or possibly connect with a publisher directly. Once published, keep those new titles
There's nothing secret about the above approach. Any serious author has taken this path. But the
catch is, many top notch works don't make it into print. There may be as many as a hundred titles
rejected for every one printed. And many of those rejected are as good or even better than the one
that was accepted.
If this is the case with your work, as it is for many, the growing acceptance of fiction in electronic
format offers a new path to success as an author. While this trend is not going to knock hats off,
there will be a constant growth in sales of quality fiction in electronic formats. With each passing
day, there will be new and better opportunities for authors.
What This Means To Readers
A new kind of website will emerge, quite different from most existing book sites. Savvy business
professionals will avoid head-to-head competition with the major houses, for they can be expected
to dominate. Instead, they will sell titles in a specific area of reader interest. By this I mean they
will focus total attention on areas major houses ignore.
For example, male adventure is a genre quite popular among many readers.
But by 1990, major houses had dropped this form in favor of others currently selling better. Since
the big guys can be expected to continue in this manner, small businesses will succeed by catering
to the needs of readers, unfulfilled by major houses.
All of which means readers will again be able to find the kinds of tales they enjoy, that are no
longer available in their local bookstore.
The Web Makes It Happen
This is all made possible by the existence of the Web. Your favorite bookstore is forced to carry
titles in greatest demand. Else they'll lose customers to other shops.
But the Web provides a different playing field. If there are only a few in your home town
interested in say, Historical Romance, then such titles may not be available in bookstores.
But a website focused on such titles can be very successful by drawing on the relatively small
number of interested readers in every town in the country. That is, an audience too small for a
specific bookstore to consider, collectively is a massive audience to a website. For potential
customers are only a click away, wherever they happen to be located geographically.
Here's To A Bright Future
Serious authors will have a great opportunity to attract fans. Readers will have a wider, richer
collection of titles to select from. It's happening now. And the pace is accelerating.
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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