Welcome to my blog!

I'm a divorced mom with a teenage daughter and two pre-teen sons. Writing is my first love. When I'm not writing or working or playing taxi to the kids, I also toy with photography and baking.

So, basically, my camera rarely sees the light of day and my mixer stands in the corner in permanent time-out.

To see some samples of my writing, you can check out my website: www.csrickard.com

Friday, October 23, 2009

e-books and publishing

Nathan and Eric had great posts on the e-book price war that started this week.

I abhor WalMart. I never, ever shop there. I do like Target for common household items, but I don't shop there for groceries or other 'specialty' items, like books or DVDs. My big gripe with trying to cram something of everything into one place, is that you have to forgo variety. And I LOVE variety!

I have never bought a book from a Target, grocery store or anyplace other than a bookstore, whether brick and mortar or online. I wish I understood more of the implications of the pricing war, but my initial sense is that WalMart realized it didn't offer the cheapest items in the area of books and decided to stick its feet in the pool. Of course, Amazon, being the big fish in that pool, retaliated in kind.

At present, the price reductions haven't effected the profits to publishers or authors, but plenty of people worry that it will. Again, showing my ignorance in the business side of things, as long as there are multiple places through which to sell books, I don't see how Amazon or WalMart have any bargaining power to try and force publishers to reduce their costs to match the below-profit prices these guys have been offering. My only hope is that it won't last long enough to force the remaining independent booksellers out of business. I don't see how they could compete at all in this type of environment. Of course, the fear is that WalMart or Amazon will force so many out of the field that they will then have that ability eventually.

Along those lines, the ABA sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting an investigation into the pricing war. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

With all of the focus on e-books and online purchases, there are still those naysayers that think e-books are a fad or won't last long. And there are those on the opposite side touting the beauty of e-books to the doom of paperbacks. I think both are wrong. I love e-books, but I love paperbacks as well. I still buy both and see the value in both. I think they complement one another. I also think online sites like e-stores, author websites and blogs offer a wonderful marketing opportunity for both paper books and e-books.

There was also an article by LibraDigital regarding the marketing power of free online chapters. Here is an excerpt summarizing the results:

“We know that allowing readers to preview book chapters before buying has a positive impact on both print and eBook sales,” said Russell P. Reeder, President and CEO of LibreDigital, Inc. “In the case of one well-known book publisher, one in three people who browsed decided to purchase the book online. As a result, leading publishers are increasing their use of online previews when planning promotional campaigns for both new and existing book titles.”

I fully intend to offer my first chapter free online. Even before this article came out, I instinctively knew it would help, probably based on personal experience. This year I read first chapters offered on websites of authors I'd never read before, and ended up buying about 6 books as a result. Four of those were e-books, the other two were paperback.

I think paper books and e-books will both be around for a very long time.

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