Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In case you were curious

I don't know if you guys have been following what's happening in publishing, but if I had to sum it up in one word, that word would be apocalypse.

So the next time someone asks me about the Kindle, I'm probably going to stick my fingers in my ears and sing "La la la I'M NOT LISTENING." Just because, you know, I enjoy reading books, digitally or not, and I'm starting to think it won't be much longer that you'll be getting them in an edited, designed, quality fashion if everyone keeps conspiring to put publishers out of business.

"So what is it that an editor, like, does?"

I want to clarify that I'm not some stick in the mud backwater type of person who believes that the only true book is a printed book and that e-books should just go away. E-books are great. Hooray! Finally! E-books are here! No, I'm reacting to the fact that Amazon has decided that books should cost $9.99. That pricing is unsustainable. It's hurting everyone: authors, retailers, publishers, and in the long run, even consumers who are getting used to that unrealistic sticker price. To those who say that the e-book revolution means we won't need publishers anymore, well: I hope you enjoy reading all those unedited books. Really. I'll be sitting back cackling in an armchair stockpiled with Jane Austens. (Perhaps these exquisitely designed ones.) Unemployed, probably, but cackling.


Traci said...

Uff, I know.

I'm not usually so optimistic, but I think it will sort of turn around. I don't think it'll ever be what it once was, but I do think that (1) people expect some level of quality and will voice their irritation when they're not getting it, (2) books will always exist because schools exist and kids love books and parents who buy their kids books will remember that they like books too, (3) the loss of Kirkus will be deeply felt and something will swoop in to fill the void and it will be revolutionary.

And the fact that the prettily-bound Penguin books are getting such buzz gives hope for and faith in bibliophiles.

Now if we could just get everyone to stop publishing books by and about Sarah Palin (hell, controversial politicians in general), maybe there would be room for some growth.

Laura said...

Thing about the Sarah Palin book: it's one of the fastest selling books in history. It sold 300,000 copies in its first day.

You vote with your wallet, you know? (I use "you" in the general sense, not "YOU," as I am quite positive you and Andrew did not buy GOING ROGUE.)

Laura said...

Which is all to say, publishers are not going to (nor, really, should they, since we all need to keep our jobs) stop publishing books that sell. Which means you're all in for a lot more vampire books.