Monday, February 21, 2011

Our interesting time

Winner of giveaway - Obsidiantears83!!!

Thanks for commenting, everyone. Was truly interesting to see how many folks are still in love with the paper :)

Ever heard the Chinese curse 'May You Live In Interesting Times'?

There's no doubting that for those of us involved in publishing and bookselling, this is very much interesting times. Worldwide, the news that Borders in the US filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy was met with a gasp. This was followed, in Australia, by the news that REDGroup, which own our Borders stores as well as our oldest booksellers Angus and Robertson in Aus and Whitcoulls in NZ had gone into voluntary administration.

Here in Australia, that's put a quarter of our bookstores at risk.

There's so many reasons for this and despite some people's best efforts, the finger can't be pointed at one culprit (It's not JUST the internet's fault, folks). But in the end, one thing is clear - publishing and bookselling is changing. Trying to cling to the old ways, keep things as they were is about as futile as poor old King Cnut trying to hold back the tide.

The big problem of course is that no one quite knows what the final face of publishing and bookselling is going to look like. What will happen to print books? What will happen to major publishing houses? How will everyone involved make their money in the future?

Scary, and yet at the same time thrilling. For us authors - the one's providing the stories that the readers want and need - it's kinda like being the first engineer a new planet with your visor stuck down. You know that once you figure out how to open the visor, you're going to see an alien landscape of beauty, terror and incredible opportunities.

So here's hoping that we have pioneers with vision, workers with guts and that at the end of it all, we authors can still share our stories and you readers can still find and enjoy them.

I've got a copy of Power Unbound (book two in the Dream of Asarlai trilogy) to give away. Just tell me what you prefer right now - paper or electronic books or maybe both? Will draw winner February 28.

34 comments:

Casey H said...

Nothing will ever replace holding a physical book for me. But I have to admit, I did download the free Kindle app for my droid phone - it makes waiting in line much easier.

c4casey(at)comcast(dot)net

Mysteriousrose said...

Hi Nicole

I definitely prefer paper. Sometimes I read E-books but I like having the book in my hands and I love a pretty cover.
I would love to read your book thank you for the chance to win.

Katie said...

I have an e-reader, but I still perfer the physical book. For me, they are just easier on my eyes.

THanks!
Katie
bigferret at email dot com

nymfaux said...

Both. I'm a Libra, we're indecisive.

I love REAL books for all their bookiness--the feel of turning the pages, the way they smell of dreams and memories.

But I also love my Nook--the way I don't have to choose which books can fit in my backpack/purse/cary-on--The way that that I don't have to drive an hour-and-a-half to my closest bookstore to satisfy my craving, or the hour-and-a-half back until I can sit down and read it--the way that I don't have to wait until the bookstore opens on release days, and can snuggle in my bed while my book downloads at midnight (usually earlier, because I live on the west coast)...

And I also love that so many old and rare volumes that were becoming scarce and hard to find (sorry if that's a little redundant), are now being made available to everyone, for all time.

One thing I'm not super-crazy about--the prices...what happened to the idea of saving all that money (and the environment) without the hassle/costs of printing, and passing the savings on to the consumer??? --oh, AND on TOP of that--I don't know about other places, but BN doesn't count your BN card towards ebooks or any Nook items--although they have had some specials (of their choosing), it's been a year, and I have yet to see any store coupons (10/15/20% off of books of your choosing) that work on ebooks.

Yay!!! Giveaway!!! :)

Helen Lowe said...

Hey Nicole--the way it's been reported here, the heavy debt loading attached to the REDgroup business by PEP, who over-leveraged to buy it a few years back, has probably been the biggest nail in what was until then a perfectly viable business's coffin--but sadly that doesn't change the end result of a potential 25% loss of market for both book buyers and sellers. Although of course it's not over yet--the business may yet trade its
way clear. I certainly hope so!

I am a 'real book' gal, too: I love everything about them, from browsing the shelves for a new read in real time, being attracted by the cover, picking it up, reading the back cover blurb, the inside cover, the first few pages--and then taking my final selection(s) home and at some stage, curling up on the sofa and letting the story take me into that other world in a way that doesn't feel like work. (Screens are definitely all about work and 'not relaxing' to me.) I have read a few books in pdf format and somehow it's just not the same, even those with the more sophisticated page turning technology.

But I must admit, looking around my house overflowing with books, that sometimes the storage capacity of an electronic device attracts. But then as a friend said recently, "But Helen, books are your defining interior decor scheme. You couldn't possibly change that!" (lol)

obsidiantears83 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
obsidiantears83 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
obsidiantears83 said...

I am reading both paper and ebooks these days, but I still prefer paper. It is so tactile, smells amazing and has a weight to it. I can't imaging a world without books. They have been part of human culture for centuries and for good reason. It is also still easier to buy books, were as we have issues with buying ebooks in Australia. Yes, REDgroup and others may be in trouble, but the demand for books is unlikely to completely be overtaken for decades, never if bookwyrms like myself have a say. Books have a special place in my heart and always will. I bought the ereader for travelling, and it is great for that (I got flooded in at the family farm in Queensland - the 2 paper books lasted a day, thank god I had my ereader and about 500 books! salvation!) and for downloading trashy novels I wouldn't normally buy, but even though my room is overflowing with books and I have no where to store them any more, it won't stop me from buying more.

obsidiantears83 at gmail dot com

unseelieme said...

I have to say I love real books. The thought that there could come a day where I won't have a bookstore to walk into makes me nauseous. I love the smell of the paper and ink. I love to hold them in my hand and feel the weight and texture of them. I love looking at my bookshelves overflowing with colorful bindings. And bookstores? To me, they are the ultimate destination - I'd live in one if I could.

Do I have an e-reader. I do. And I like that, too. I like buying from unknown authors ($1.99 books? I mean...hello?!). And I'm slowly purchasing all my favorite books in that format, too. Although my real mission at this point is to make sure I own every book I love in real hold-in-your-hands paper and ink form.

My hope is that bookstores don't die. Maybe it will end up with Indie bookstores for the real thing? I don't know, but I wouldn't want to live in a world without real books.

heatwave16 said...

As much as I am a tech geek, I love the feel of a real book. It is just more cozy & romantic. An ereader is cold, and I spend a lot of time looking at computers at work. Plus, I love to browse in a book store. Not as much fun as surfing the web...

heatwave96(at)hotmail.com

donnas said...

I have read a few ebooks and I like them for the convenience when traveling. But for home reading I love paper books. Ebooks are just not the same.

Sharon S. said...

I like both, but the convienence and ease of using an ereader can't be ignored. I also love browsing the shelves in a book store, but I don't always have time to search. My kindle gives me access to books/authors I would never have found other wise.

Wordsmiff said...

Without question, I still prefer paper books. But them I am something of a bibliophile - I love the look, the feel, even the smell of a book. A Kindle or whatever does not hold anywhere near that same thrill. Besides, I'd probably just keep mislaying it if I had a Kindle.

tetewa said...

I definately prefer print books! tWarner419@aol.com

Danielle Gorman said...

I'm still a print girl. I don't mind ebooks but since I still have to read them on my computer I would rather have print books. Nothing beats holding a book in your hands. Also, I love being able to go back and reread pages with ease. I know I will eventually move on to ebooks because I am seriously running out of space for all of my books, but unitl then print books all the way.

iqb99@yahoo.com

Bella said...

Definitely both. I love paperbacks, but I do prefer e-books when I'm reading installments in a series that gets to the point where it's more miss than hit. I only want my shelves filled with books I'll want to read again someday.

bella-on-toast@hotmail.com

mariska said...

I still prefer paper books, thank you :)

uniquas at ymail dot com

nymfaux said...

oops--didn't post my email:

nymfaux [at] gmail [dot] com


also I just started watching Buffy: The Vampire Slayer for the first time--there's an episode where Giles (librarian/Buffy's watcher) is explaining to the computer teacher why he doesn't like computers...It basically comes down to "knowledge should be smelly."

I know it sounds silly--but you can look at all of our comments, and smell is one of the biggest reasons we love REAL books--And part of me wonders if years from now I will have the same vividness of my reading experiences on my Nook as I do from all my smelly books...

J.hehl said...

It has to be paper. That's part of the experience. No electronic device can replace to feeling of opening a book for the first time. The weight of the book telling you just how long you get to be in another reality. A paper book entices your senses. The texture, weight, an feel of the book; the smell of the pages and the mysterious cover art. I hope to never have to experience to loss of paper books to electronics.

SandyG265 said...

I read both paper and ebooks. Some older books aren't available electronically yet.

Stephanie said...

I prefer paper books. The only ebooks I read are ones that I can get for free or win in a contest. There is nothing like holding a book and seeing the wear after reading a good book multiple times.

smccar1 at hotmail dot com

van_pham said...

I prefer paper books, will never get an E-reader. I like having in physically in my hand, and i think the prices of e-books are ridiculous.

Van
Littopandaxpress(at)yahoo(dot)com

Susan said...

I definitely prefer printed books. The feel of them, the smell of them, it just brings back so many memories.

However, I do have an iPad and I have been reading books on there. And the convenience of downloading a book at 1:00 in the morning or on an impulse after finding a terrific blog about paranormal authors (!), can't be over-stressed.

Sue

sophiesmomsue [at] yahoo [dot] com

Jackie Uhrmacher said...

Paper! I have a Kindle for review books, but I generally end up buying a paperback copy later on for my collection, lol.

cheesecake.thief59 said...

I know this is going to sound kinda weird (or maybe not, because everyone here is a bookworm too) but I love the way books smell. Ebooks don't have that personal, unique scent that books have. That's why I can never replace books!

cheesecake.thief59(at)gmail(dot)come

Nicole Murphy said...

Thanks everyone for your feedback. Wonderful to see so many folks that still love the paper! With great readers like you, hopefully it will never die.

Karyn Gerrard said...

It must be my age, I prefer paper books. Only read ebooks for review, otherwise, I doubt I would read ebooks at all.

karyngerrard@gmail.com

Llehn said...

Physical book becuase I'm a tactile person.

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

CrystalGB said...

I prefer a paper book but I read ebooks too.

Cylver said...

I've been thinking about buying a Kindle, since I like the idea of being able to take several books with me wherever I go. But right now I just can't justify the expense, so paper it is!
Also, I'm a bit of a klutz. If I drop a paperback, no problem: I just pick it up and keep reading. If I drop a Kindle: BIG problem. Nuff said!

Sara said...

I like both paper and ebooks. Living with a disability though, I find it so much easier to shop on Amazon and download my book of choice without having to go all the way downtown to search the bookstore physically and then drive all the way back home again. It's exhausting and painful. While I'll never give up paper books (I have so mny of them!) ebooks have certainly made it easier for me.

Sara said...

Sorry, forgot to include my email addy: sweetbrier at shaw dot ca :)

Joni said...

Hi Nicole
The general concensus is books and I could not agree more. I love going into a B&N and browsing. So much to choose from people sitting in chairs deep into reading a book. I don't have a e reader, don't know that I ever will. I can see the convienence but still a book is for me thank you.
PILGRIM_REPTILE@YAHOO.COM

Spav said...

I prefer paper but I have an ereader so I also read ebooks.

spav05(at)gmail(dot)com