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"We need to make books cool again. If you go home with someone & they don't have books, don't fuck 'em."--John Waters

I'm the author of more than twenty novels including SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, THE MIDNIGHT ROAD, THE DEAD LETTERS, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. Look for my next one THE LAST KIND WORDS due out May '12 from Bantam Books. Contact: PicSelf1@aol.com

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kindle

THE FEVER KILL is now available on Kindle, along with SHORT RIDE TO NOWHERE and all of my Bantam titles.

We've all heard that e-books is the most rapidly growing aspect of publishing. My wife loves her Kindle, and apparently so does everyone else who owns one. Other folks seem to be willing to go to the stake and burn alongside their printed paperbacks before they'll ever go digital. I had to think of a world without physical books in it anymore,w hich seems more and more likely nowadays. Even if publishers are willing to print them and readers are willing to buy them, bookstores are drying up everywhere. B. Dalton's is gone, Waldenbooks is gone, Borders is hanging by a thread, B&N is up for sale. Indies are having a harder and harder time of it. Where would we even go to buy books anymore? What would the outlets be?

Where do you fall on the topic? Are you a Kindle/Nook lover who enjoys saving space on the shelves? Or are you a Luddite who's hating this new technology that's rocking the bibliophile's world?

15 comments:

Frank Loose said...

I love the feel of a real book, flipping actual pages, placing a book marker, studying the cover, all the things that make a book a book. That said, I am entertaining buying a Kindle. The small one. In fact, if they were not on back order at Amazon, I would have probably hit the purchase button already. But, since they are on back order, I am waiting.

I have "played" with a friend's e-reader, but not actually spent time with it like I would if reading a book, so I'm not sure what the reading experience will be like. Another friend loves his small Kindle.

We'll see. But, in the end, the market will force me to own and use one. If not now, soon.

John Platt said...

Me? I've been holding off on buying many new books because 1) I have too many that I haven't read, and 2) I don't have room to store the books I already own!

I will make the switch to Kindle (or something like it) later this year, but I'll never stop buying books, too. The ones I buy in hardcopy will be bought for specific reasons, like autographs, art, etc.

As to where I'll buy those "real" books... that's a very good question!

Chris said...

I much prefer books, for all the reasons everyone always lists. I would prefer never to have an eReader, and would happily go to my grave having never used one. I'm old enough now that there are enough printed books available to see me through the rest of my life, and was quite prepared to draw that line in the sand.

Then my mom gave me a Nook. I decided to try it out.

The first book I read on it was Winslow's Savages, which was great. The experience wasn't as good as reading an actual book, but close enough. Given the size of my TBR queue of printed stuff stacked around the house, I still won't be buying many eBooks for quite a long time, but probably will every 5 books read or so. Could I live without it? Absolutely. Can I live in a world with no new books being printed? Grudgingly, but yeah, I suppose I could. But I won't be happy either!

I hope worst case is like it is in music; digital music rules the universe, but there is still plenty of vinyl being pressed to satisfy those of us who like to spin the black circle!

Here's my review of my Nook experience, for anyone interested:

http://stumblingthewalk.blogspot.com/2010/08/nook-one-week-in-part-two.html

Fred Zackel said...

While I do not yet own an e-reader, I have posted much of my writings up on their platforms. Some is OOP, while some is stuff my agent couldn't (or wouldn't)sell, and some is brand new. The e-reader will shake up the industry, and the winners & losers will be legend. But the Story will prevail in whatever container it comes in (see audiobooks, for one example.) I hope I get to survive the flushing of the slush pile toilet. If I don't ... no big thing.

Robert Gray said...

I bought a nook some months ago, and the device has served me well for traveling. Try carrying the hardcover version of Under the Dome around the airport and you'll know what I'm taking about. When I'm home, however, I never touch my e-reader. There, I always go to my bookshelf. Always.

In a perfect world, I think every paper book should be sold with the e-equivalent. But that's just me.

Peter Farris said...

My hope is that there will always be room for printed books (where we'd buy them is the question, huh?). I've heard a few figures tossed around, but I think eBook sales are hovering around 5% of total sales for some of the larger publishing houses. I'll probably begrudgingly buy an eReader simply for the access to OOP material but I have to admit, I'm not excited the way I was when iPods took over the universe. My book fetish runs deep.

I'm certain that percentage will only grow, too, which leads me to believe publishers in the future will still do a (smaller) run of Hardcovers for the purists, a modest trade run and then that's it. No represses, no second or third editions and surely no mass market unless it's some blockbuster phenomenon like Twilight or Harry Potter. Every writer's work will live on as an eBook. I can accept that as long as publishers make the print editions worthwhile...like adding extra content you wouldn't get with the eBook version. I'd be more compelled to by a print edition for the interview, author commentary, extra short story, etc, than a bare bones text file any day.

I'd like to see a world where bookstores are smaller, more intimate. Stores that don't sell toys and stationary. Stores that stock a real inventory. Not 150 James Patterson-edited novels. Stores that specialize in genre fiction. Horror, Crime, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Comics. A store where 1) you'll find what you're looking for and 2) buy on impulse anyway.
Let someone looking for the latest Dan Brown novel go buy it at CostCo.

I better keep dreaming...

Chris said...

I forget sometimes about the nature of big box bookstores, because my book buying is 99% at one of the three indie stores in my town, all of which are still going strong. But you're right, it will be tough to buy books if there aren't any stores!

That, and I don't buy a lot of hardbacks. I much prefer trade paperbacks.

michael said...

I am more interested in content than format.

My number one reason I own a Kindle is explained by this story. I have 500 books on my Kindle. I suddenly am in the mood to look at or read one of them. Two clicks and I am reading (at home or anywhere I am with my Kindle in my pocket). I have several hundred print format books, but we will stick with 500. Now try to find the one you want to read.

What is the future of the retail bookstore? Will it be online only or will some of the brick and mortar stores survive? The bookstore could follow the record store that exists in very few lucky places or has been taken over by the WalMarts of the world (I believe WalMart is all ready the leading brick and mortar seller of books). But there is some reason Apple has 300 retail brick and mortar stores around the world. Imagine a bookstore with a POD device, room for book lovers to gather,interact, and read, and with covers and samples to check out. Buy the book and use the POD device for print or download and carry your entire library with you at all times.

The next big moment will happen when the Google Editions finally join the fun. Google's aim is to have every book ever written available to buy. Google has signed a deal with the American Booksellers Associations to supply ebooks for the ABA's 14,000 independent bookstores websites.

So a future with any book every written available with a click on a device you can carry in your pocket. Yeah, I like that.

Mike Dennis said...

The brave new digital world is dawning as I write this. Unfortunately, I feel digital will ultimately take over from print. It'll have to wait, though, for everyone who's ever held a book in their hands to die off before the takeover can be complete.

Meanwhile, I'll probably buy the next generation of iPad when it comes out, which I suspect will be sometime after Christmas. The falling cost of digital books will enable me to take a chance on an author with whom I'm unfamiliar.

And, naturally, I would hope it would enable others to take a chance on me.

patrick said...

Tom,

Here is my comment from Rara-avis in November 2009:

Re: Kindles and e-books in general


As a person who has read and collected many books for many years and who
currently owns and enjoys a Kindle, I thought I would respond to this thread.

I think the best response was from one person who asked does it need to be an
either/or situation. I have been reading mysteries/hardboiled material for
almost 30 years and have spent literally tens of thousands of dollars in that
time at chain bookstores, independent bookstores, and used bookstores. I have
collected many first edition hardcovers as well as lots of PBOs of the Gold
Medal era and I love them all. But, frankly, I am running out of space and find
many of the books I buy not worth keeping. Hence, the Kindle purchase, also out
of curiosity.

I have downloaded some of the old Chandlers and Hammetts and enjoyed them while
waiting for a plane. I continue to frequent independent booksellers in my area
as well as some of the chains. I would say my purchases go about 70% books/30%
digital and I don't feel bad about either one. Barbara Peters, who owns the
Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scotssdale, AZ said that if a person bought one
hardcover or two PBs from their independent bookseller each month, that could
help stave off the demise of these booksellers. I have been doing that as well
as enjoying other books, digital and oldfashioned print. In fact, I bought a
limited edition hardcover of Otto Penzler's new book The Lineup, signed by each
contributing author, from the Poisoned Pen; a pretty penny but a book well worth
it.

I enjoy books, no doubt. But I also am seeing the advantage, both covnenience
and space-wise, of having a Kindle. My hope is that other book lovers will
continue to enjoy bookreading while doing what they can to support the old while
not shunning the new. I also grew up with newspapers. I have subscribed to the
LA Times for 22 years and watched it go from a half a phone book thick bundle
for 25 cents to a magazine thick pad for 75 cents. I will try to support it as
long as I can because I love to read a newspaper and not get my news from
online. I have also watched travel agents disappear, replaced by the internet.
And my sister had to retire from the US Postal Service this month because of
decreasing revenue, due to the internet and online commerce and email. These are
advances of the future as well. For books, we can try to support what we can for
as long as we can. Thanks for listening.

Patrick Lee

Anonymous said...

I loved working in a bookstore in the 80s but the first time I ever got online and did my own book search I realized that I could live anywhere -- I didn't need a city. Well I still live in one.

I never wanted an ipod but I ran out of space for the 2500 vinyl records years before my daughter's birth. My son's sleeping in what, last year, was my "Office" lined with books, mostly out of print. Some of the most expensive books I bought online were falling apart and the authors and their heirs never saw a dime.

I've had a kindle for one week and I now never have to choose what to pack on a trip. It's all still new to me but, right now, I'm comfortable in all these worlds

Dan Luft

Anonymous said...

Any chance your stuff will be available for the Nook?

Tom Piccirilli said...

All my Bantam titles are available through the Nook as well!

Horror Books said...

Tom,

My wife lives with chronic pain. Day in and day out she hurts. She is a reader -- fought to read even under the constant threats of beatings (and there were beatings) -- and she learned to read fast.

So you can imagine how awful life became when holding a book caused tremendous wrist pain. It was bad enough that it kept her up hurting all night.

We got her a Nook -- partially because she can download and read e-books for free from our library's E-Media Collection via Ovrdrive. The Kindle can't do that.

The Nook is lighter than most books and she has resumed reading with glee.

I own a lot of your mass market books both horror and noir and for the last few years haven't been able to read them because two prescription pairs of glasses failed to correct me vision enough to read the small print. I did tackle The Cold Spot and The Coldest Mile but at a cost of some painful headaches.

I plan to purchase a Nook or a Kindle as soon as we can afford it and begin picking up the e-book copies of all your books I own but cannot read -- but desperately do want to read.

The first book of yours I read was the Night Shade Books edition of A Choir of Ill Children which remains one of my all time favorite novels and one of the few I've re-read.

It seems pathetic that the majority of work by one of my favorite authors is unknown to me because of stupid vision problems. Both the Kindle and the Nook can adjust the font size and the background or screen color so I can read in comfort and without headaches.

I don't believe that books will die out although I do believe that the book industry will have to change and adapt. But there will always be a place for books in my personal library, just as there is a place for e-book readers and MP3 players (I listen to a LOT of books on MP3).

Thank you,
Greg "The Undead Rat” Fisher

Horror Books said...

Tom,

My wife lives with chronic pain. Day in and day out she hurts. She's a reader -- fought to read even under the constant threats of beatings (and there were beatings) -- and she learned to read fast.

So you can imagine how awful life became, when holding a book caused tremendous wrist pain. It was bad enough that the pain could keep her up hurting all night.

We got her a Nook -- mostly because she can download and read e-books for free from our library's E-Media Collection via Ovrdrive. The Kindle can't do that.

The Nook is lighter than most books and she has resumed reading with glee.

Meanwhile, I own a lot of your mass market books -- both horror and noir. For the last few years I haven't been able to read them because two prescription pairs of glasses failed to correct my vision enough to read the small print. I did tackle The Cold Spot and The Coldest Mile but at a cost of some painful headaches.

I plan to purchase a Nook or a Kindle as soon as we can afford it. Then I want to begin picking up the e-book copies of all your books I own but cannot read. Until that time, I've got my Kindle for PC and I just picked up Fuckin' Lie Down Already and Nightjack.

The first book of yours I read was the Night Shade Books edition of A Choir of Ill Children which remains one of my all time favorite novels and one of the few I've re-read.

It seems pathetic that the majority of work by one of my favorite authors is unknown to me because of stupid vision problems. Both the Kindle and the Nook can adjust the font size and the background or screen color so I can read in comfort. I can read without headaches.

I don't believe that books will die out, although I do believe that the book industry will have to change and adapt. But there will always be a place for books in my personal library, just as there is a place for e-book readers and MP3 players (I listen to a LOT of books on MP3).

Thank you,
Greg "The Undead Rat” Fisher