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Hey!! What's the story?

Old argument, I know, but just curious. Real books or the electronic rubbish (see how totally unbiased I am)? 

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I don't really think Mr. Chapman was meaning to come off as snobby, William. His logic seemed reasonable to me, and I'm still mostly with the print/paperback camp.

But what would happen if a publisher told you that your work could indeed be published, but electronically?  You may be surprised how quickly some of us can have an about face about technology when it means survival of our work.

Believe it or not, there are even some really solid books that only exist in digital format. I'm not about to go out and spend money on a kindle, but I think the modern reader should be open to both worlds. I do, from time to time, read digital books on my computer.

William Forbes said:

John, I'd just like to thank you for reaffirming my belief that a lot of people who have moved to ebooks are incredibly snobby about it.

I'm just wondering where I fit into your neat little pigeonholes?  You see, I have an ebook reader (Nook) and a smartphone on which I can read ebooks and, guess what?

I don't like it.  For me, it's not reading, it's not the same.  I love the weight of a book in my hands, I love the physical act of turning the page, I, indeed love the smell.

I have read a book in the bath (not anymore as I don't have a bath) and, yes, one book did get wet when I dropped it.  A couple of hours on a radiator and it was still working, no messing about with plastic bags.

You prefer ebooks.  Fair enough, that's your choice, more power to you.  But there's no need to be condescending and patronising towards those of us who don't.


John Chapman said:

For every person who says they like the feel and smell of paper books there is a person who hasn't yet tried an e-reader.

I have a huge collection of paper books - over 3,000, Since I bought an e-reader I've seldom looked at them. Why carry round bulky and heavy books when the e-version on an e-reader weighs almost nothing and takes up far less space? Even my oldest Kindle Keyboard e-reader can hold my entire library. My newest can not only hold all that but also my music collection and video library. If a 7 inch tablet is too bulky - then I can read on my mobile phone just as easily.

Ever read a paper book in the bath? You end up with a soggy book. Put your e-reader in a zip-up plastic bag and it will survive falling in the water but will still allow you to turn the pages.

Of course there are disadvantages - my old Kindle requires re-charging at least once every 3 weeks. That has to be a real problem! Then, just occasionally there is an ebook which is more expensive than the paper copy. The huge number of cheaper and free ebooks outweigh that though. Finally not all books are available in ebook formats and for those you'll just have to put up with the smell and dirt from mouldy old paper.

Real books or the electronic rubbish (see how totally unbiased I am)?

You're absolutely right Daniel. There is a lot of 'electronic rubbish' and if you are buying it it's always best to try a free sample before making the purchase - sort of like browsing the pages of a book in the bookshop.

In the past agents or publishers weeded out all the rubbish before a book reached print. With ebooks that's not the case. What it does mean is that a huge number of people now feel they can see their stories published. Perhaps amongst the 'rubbish' there will be an author who goes on to develop and produce accomplished work which is 'not rubbish' and which you'll be glad to read. Without ebooks that work would never have seen the light of day.

Of course - the reverse is true also. One example I can think of wrote an erotic version of a well known book which proved successful e-rubbish and went on to be printed in paper - still rubbish and something the publisher should have been deeply ashamed of.

Granted yes, but as you said, because the reverse is also true it makes it that much harder for genuinely good works to gain proper recognition when rubbish surrounds them on all sides. The traditional publishing process, though perhaps not ideal for many of us, at least instills a bit of humility in the average writer in producing work that is truly exemplary rather than regurgitated cliche.

And yes, as I say that I AM aware of the shelves groaning with fantasy, vampire, zombie and erotica to capitalize on certain successes in those veins. No system is perfect. 

John Chapman said:

Real books or the electronic rubbish (see how totally unbiased I am)?

You're absolutely right Daniel. There is a lot of 'electronic rubbish' and if you are buying it it's always best to try a free sample before making the purchase - sort of like browsing the pages of a book in the bookshop.

In the past agents or publishers weeded out all the rubbish before a book reached print. With ebooks that's not the case. What it does mean is that a huge number of people now feel they can see their stories published. Perhaps amongst the 'rubbish' there will be an author who goes on to develop and produce accomplished work which is 'not rubbish' and which you'll be glad to read. Without ebooks that work would never have seen the light of day.

Of course - the reverse is true also. One example I can think of wrote an erotic version of a well known book which proved successful e-rubbish and went on to be printed in paper - still rubbish and something the publisher should have been deeply ashamed of.

I think it is important for all of us to keep in mind that just because something is published for Kindle and Nook, doesn't mean it is self-published necessarily. A lot of small press companies of quality now focus primarily on digital publication, because it is affordable and direct.

Daniel Hale said:

Granted yes, but as you said, because the reverse is also true it makes it that much harder for genuinely good works to gain proper recognition when rubbish surrounds them on all sides. The traditional publishing process, though perhaps not ideal for many of us, at least instills a bit of humility in the average writer in producing work that is truly exemplary rather than regurgitated cliche.

And yes, as I say that I AM aware of the shelves groaning with fantasy, vampire, zombie and erotica to capitalize on certain successes in those veins. No system is perfect. 

John Chapman said:

Real books or the electronic rubbish (see how totally unbiased I am)?

You're absolutely right Daniel. There is a lot of 'electronic rubbish' and if you are buying it it's always best to try a free sample before making the purchase - sort of like browsing the pages of a book in the bookshop.

In the past agents or publishers weeded out all the rubbish before a book reached print. With ebooks that's not the case. What it does mean is that a huge number of people now feel they can see their stories published. Perhaps amongst the 'rubbish' there will be an author who goes on to develop and produce accomplished work which is 'not rubbish' and which you'll be glad to read. Without ebooks that work would never have seen the light of day.

Of course - the reverse is true also. One example I can think of wrote an erotic version of a well known book which proved successful e-rubbish and went on to be printed in paper - still rubbish and something the publisher should have been deeply ashamed of.

I've created 9thDraft publications for the reasons that you're discussing here. We will be focusing on ebooks primarily; sometimes in conjunction with pbooks, but to begin with it will be mainly ebooks. There are a few reasons for this - cost and need. I have been converted to ebooks over the last twelve months and I believe many have and will continue to be converted due to the ease of use and availability.

Don't get me wrong here - I am a massive fan of 'real' books, but are we in love with the romantic element of paper more than the actual story, more than the thing that books were designed for in the first place - the message? I wonder.

I also believe that there is a lot of rubbish out there, but it isn't necessarily because ebooks are easier to publish. Many traditional publishers who, in my opinion, are disconnected from reality and in love with their own synopsis don't know what readers want, feed them what they think they want and produce more than their fair share of tripe that may or may not be full of typos.

There seems to always be a swing here - you get the snobby big guys who believe their shit doesn't stink and can do what they want, then there are the dregs at the other end that struggle to find words to randomly paste to a scrapbook in hopes it will sell a million.

But this is not true, because there are also many in the middle made up of good traditionally slanted publishers that are attempting to change the old ways AND great startups and Indie publishers that are trying to do the same. There will always be others that don't fall within any of these categories and that's also good. The last thing we need is clones producing the same old shit.

Yes, I know - I digressed. What can I do? I like STORIES, not books. Guess that is the crux of it. Ebook, pbook, w(whatever)book, the story is what we really want!? Right?

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