Frustration

Some days are just….frustrating and eBooks continue to be, I’m sorry to say,  a bit strange.    I think authors and publishers need to be very cognizant of the fact that pulling eBooks off sale through different channels,  whether to try an exclusive with some vendor or for some other reason has several negative consequences.

First of all you need to be aware that anyone who has purchased your book  (including with a free coupon)  will still own the book.   The website they obtained the book from will still show it in their libraries and allow them to re-download it any time they want.   And sometimes,  some of these people,   if they liked and enjoyed your book,   may try to pass those links to your work on to other people they know.    And the thing is,  with those direct links their friends may be able to see the complete listing for your work.   Only to be told it is not available through this outlet at this time if they try to buy it.      This is not a warm fuzzy experience for prospective readers.      “Damn,”  they might think,  “these eBooks are just flaky and unreliable.”

The fact is that experiences are cumulative and every time any one of us contributes to someone having a very negative experience with an eBook  makes the overall market for all eBooks just a little bit tougher.     In the past,   it seems to me,    authors and publishers truly invested in their relationships with book sellers.     These days the very idea of being a bookseller seems almost antiquarian.    Everyone and his brother has their web sites set up to link to that big company in Seattle that pays a pittance to any webmaster who drives traffic to their vast online stores.     But making money by selling books that other people write?  Very few would even attempt such a thing these days.

I had started off today talking with an author I really like very, very much,   and idly planning a future promotion for a series of books she wrote.     And spent so much time fussing with my tablet and trying here there and every where to get the information I wanted to I could buy and download and read another of these wonderful novels I’m genuinely excited about promoting.    And I find myself all caught up in how badly smashwords sucks on my Android,  and how frustrating it is to know you are searching with the correct title and author and to have even spelled them right on the relatively tiny android keyboard only to keep getting a blank page and it just doesn’t work today.

I am continuing to re-read Rita Mae Brown’s  Loose Lips  (in a wonderful hard cover edition I picked up Somewhere).    I know there will be days I will again whip out my tablet,   buy and download a great book and read away with great pleasure again.    Today is Not that day for me.        Here’s hoping it’s a nice weekend in your world.

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13 comments on “Frustration

  1. Well, I like Smashwords. They seem much more author-friendly and reader-friendly (for eBooks) than other publishers, distrubutors, and resellers. I feel like I’m still in control of my work there, and can set the price, make coupons, let them handle orders and such, and stay out of the fray that is Amazon (which is not real author friendly, as far as I can tell).

  2. Smashwords does seem to offer a number of clear advantages to authors, including automatic creation of all eBook formats and distribution to all of the major eBook retailers. It seems to me that authors have more than enough to do already without having to learn about and make deals with every last retailer. And part of me rather snidely wants to say that authors foolish enough to make exclusive deals with one retailer….will inevitably get what they deserve. (The rest of me thinks I should just shut the heck up and go read quietly until I am feeling much better.)

  3. Alan, We most certainly are in a major transition in the creation and distribution of media and at this juncture I’m not sure anyone is happy with the eBook landscape. My sense is that with more and more openness and ease of distribution the economics will certainly change but eventually widespread frictionless distribution will be a huge benefit for the reading public.

  4. I don’t own any eBook by choice. I want to hold my book and mark on them as far as I like. Additionally, I don’t like the idea that Amazon could delete the purchased book any time they like – with creepy reason. For these and all other minor concerns, I removed kindle app (or any similar app) from my Android even though they are installed by manufacturer.

    • /shrugs. A big part of my point is that authors will be much better served by having a robust ebook market where one company like Amazon or Apple CAN’T just control everything. And to be fair, I have to admit that the Kindle app is a lot better than the Kobo app on my tablet. Yet I just bought a book through Kobo 🙂

  5. O no, cake again! And looks scrumptious too. Before you drive me downstairs for an early breakfast…

    I do not like the idea of Kindle at all – I share Nicolas’s pleasure in the physical act of reading and am loth to give it up. However, I have too many books. My husband has too many books. I gave up membership of the Folio Society after many years, which was hard. I tried to stop buying books. I tried to throw away books – I thought my husband could throw away many of his without great loss, he thought I could. Impossible! The UK version of the Seattle company you mention sends me books post free within 24 hours at a discount. Sorry, Waterstones. Still, I must do something. I have now got the online version of Kindle – you pay Kindle prices and can read any Kindle book online. But it’s not much fun reading a whole book online. So you print and end up reading the book on A4 paper. Not very environmentally friendly. Back where we started!

    • Since getting my tablet, Laura, I have to say that reading on a small device that is specifically designed to read books on is so different than trying to read a book length manuscript on a computer screen as not to be a fair comparison. I love books too, and I know that there are books that I will re-read again and again in paper simply because I have them and know that I will want to revisit these authors and characters at times again in the future. But I choose not to let my love of paper books blind me to the realities of eBooks as the place where anyone who wants to write and get read is hanging out these days 🙂 I don’t want to win any arguments against paper books, and believe me I have as much nostalgia for some of book publishing’s glory days as any one who ever hand sold a book in a retail store. But as a writer….I would be foolish not to be learning everything I can about eBook publication.

  6. Just look at all those happy likers of your blog – if that doesn’t cheer you up – then we’ll just have to dream something up to cure frustration and the doledrums. Frustration is so wiked – feeding the anger, the blood pressure rising, the thinking destroyed. O feeling, thinking and willing why are you so connected in our being. Throw in a bit of technology to up the ante – Chrome froze on loading, the gps went round in circles in Melbourne and so did i trying to follow it. Patience – by any other name is – so damned elusive. Then ebooks – downloaded a couple – have it read them – no. Time, procrastinations, prioritisation – now where did I put that file?

  7. Well….reading your reply I find myself glad I don’t use GPS. I mapquest the address and make sure the directions really make sense. And I most always find my way to wherever I was going 🙂 As for Chrome….it bugs me, but still seems best available alternative at this point.

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