Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Reading Revolution?

Low cost - highly portable - ubiquitous availability - huge audience. Ebooks? Nah, I'm talking about the mass market paperback revolution of the 1950's. I'm not quite old enough to remember, but were Scribner and Cerf wailing about maintaining the price point for the 'book' - even though the container was clearly different? In fact, affordability and the fact that you could buy them in the pharmacy, train station and newsstand were critical to building the audience for the Irving Wallace's of that era. Does not the ebook - in all its permutations, and all its formats - hold the promise of repeating history and again amplifying author platforms, expanding audiences and engaging new fans? Publishers - drop those prices on ebooks. Authors - INSIST on it, for your own sake. Your audience will multiply.

3 comments:

  1. Great to see you last night! So hey, do you have any recommended reading on the paperback rev? it's an interesting comparison; would be neat to actually draw out some numbers. - agw

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  2. I couldn't agree more. I heard from a die-hard book friend last night that she was contemplating buying the Kindle 2. And even I was tempted. Ever since my huge collection of books in India fell to a termite infestation last month, I'm becoming increasingly enamored by the possibility of e-books. I doubt that paper books will go away in my life, but I am excited by the possibility of masses reading electronically in a portable form.

    Either way, as you say, GO BOOKS! Wake up publishers and authors.

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  3. Interesting perspective and from a purely supply/demand model you're probably right. Although I have an iphone that I use to read the news from every Sunday at the beach, I still haven't been able to break myself of the 'real' book habit....though I suppose that eventually reading a book in a non-ebook format will be viewed the same as listening to music on a record player....old school.

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