They’re the wave of the future (or the now depending on who you talk to). I know Amazon, Apple, and all the book publishers are in a tug of war about pricing. Publishers are running around like chickens with their heads cut trying to figure out this new world. Should authors get a higher royalty rate? How do they calculate the rate?
It’s a lot to wrap your head around, and I am the first to admit that I haven’t spent much time studying this issue as I probably should as an aspiring author.
However, I do have a few opinions on e-readers in general.
I have an Ipod. I love my Ipod. I love having all music in one small device. If I’m in the mood to listen to Madonna’s "Like a Prayer," I can with a few clicks. I can then go listen to "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas or "The Time of My Life" from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. It’s fab. Proponents of e-readers claim this same advantage of e-readers.
Yeah, except for one significant difference.
I owned all those songs before I ever got my Ipod. I didn’t have to re-buy them when I got the MP3 player. The same cannot be said for an e-reader. I have thousands of books I’ve bought over the years. There’s no Book-RW that I can stick them in and upload the books to my computer, so I can transfer them to the e-reader.
So not only do I have to shell out hundreds of dollars for an e-reader, then I have to buy more books on top of it. It’s not exactly an economical option.
Which brings me to my next concern.
Two co-workers have Kindles. Because I love shiny, pretty new gadgets as much as the next person, I oohed and aahed over them and chatted with their owners about why they like them. When I expressed my concerns about the cost of the device to the second co-worker, she cheerfully shared that of the 100+ books on her Kindle, she’d only paid for 3 of them. The rest were free downloads from Amazon. As someone who would like to make a living at this someday, that wasn’t exactly music to my ears.
I understand why publishers do it – they want to lure readers in to buy other works. And it’s true I didn’t look at her list of her books to see what she owned (I’m sure a lot of them are literary classics in the public domain), but still, she took me by surprise and I wondered how many other people are out there like her.
Maybe I’m making too big of a deal about it.
I’m not anti e-reader. I do think they’re cool and shiny. If someone gave me one, I’d take it a heartbeat. I’ll probably buy one in the future.
I just think there are a few issues that have to be worked out before we can all wave goodbye to all the Barnes & Nobles, Borders, and even Amazon warehouses of the world.