12 responses to “Riding the Avalanche”

  1. Tyra Masters-Heinrichs

    I think you’re 100% right that books aren’t vanishing anytime soon.
    The copyright issue is huge. At least, Judge Chin’s ruling is finally going in the right direction.
    You touched on my biggest fear, ownership of our collective past. Libraries in the Western world are under organized threat. If anyone wants access to history or the classics in the Corporate future then you’ll have to pay. Google talks about an electronic library, yet when you read the fine print, they’re talking about an on-line store, not a library.
    Yet, I also feel this is a great time to be a writer. People want a good read. They want quality entertainment. Right now the number of book, writing and theatrical groups are expanding, it seems everywhere. This year I’ve been to two ‘meet the writer’ promotions at my library and two author tours at McNally Robinson’s in Winnipeg. I’ve attended four live ‘radio’ plays. I believe that those seeking quality self-publsihing, plus authors carried by small and medium presses and publishers (not-corporate owned) are the future. It’s just getting there. Any suggestions?

  2. Lynda Williams

    Lovely description of small press publishing. Appreciate your honesty in this article. Your work taught me SF could be so much more than about changes in technology.

  3. Barbara Saunders

    I am a book lover who began reading before age 3. I work as a writer. I also have a visual processing problem that makes reading very slow. My electronic reader enabled me to get through about four times as many books in the past year than I read in previous years, and I have found I retain more information than I do from printed books. Reading from a “window” rather than from two facing pages has made all the difference.

  4. Angelia Sparrow

    I’ve been writing ebooks for seven years now. Thank you for a balanced and clear article. You hit all the points of concern without the flailing “ZOMG! They’re coming for my library!” note of panic that often taints such articles.

    Epub is exciting for a lot reasons. It allows specialty authors and smaller niches to find their market. How small? I consider any book of mine that sells 500 copies to be a roaring success. On the other hand, getting the rights back can be a pain, fighting pirates (not the fun sort like my fictional ancestor) is constant and time-consuming.

    But at the end of the day, most readers want a paper book, something they can return to time and again, if they decide a book is a keeper. Ebooks are great for ephemera, novels you’ll read once, enjoy and forget. I think this shows in that romance is one of the hottest fields in e-pub. Besides, e-books are hard to sign!

  5. Natalie Ford

    So, when/where can I (in the UK) buy Always Coming Home as an eBook (kindle or .EPUB)?

    1. Thom

      Dear Ms. Ford,

      It looks like the publisher (Univ of California Press) has not yet made the book available in an eBook format. My guess is that it will within the next year or so. There is a nice preview of the book from Google eBooks at http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780520227354, on the Indiebound site. Perhaps that will hold you until the full version is released. Thanks for asking, and thanks for reading NW Booklovers!!

      Thom

  6. Rachel

    That was a good read! Ironically, I will be PRINTING it out to share with my writers group. We often have this discussion. And you know, you can’t have meetings without paper, unless everyone has the same iPad or e-reader or – Star Trek-like device.

  7. Chrissy Olinger

    Oddly, I used to say the exact same things about ereaders. I got a newer Kindle and a nice cover. Now I hate reading paper books because I have to hold them open, keep track of a bookmark, and can’t turn the page by pressing a side button. I went back to re-read a favorite trilogy recently in large trade paperback. Got so aggravated I downloaded the set for my Kindle.
    How did I ever find my place after falling asleep and dropping the book on the floor?
    I do adore my books. I love the titles I keep handy lined up on my shelves like family photographs. I guess, for me, it was a matter of finding a habit-rhythm. 🙂

  8. Klaus Block

    I prefer real books too and I like reading in the bath, sometimes asleep. It´s very expensive to repair a e-reader falling in the water. I like the books standing in my shelves.

  9. Robert M. Blevins

    We have noticed the upsurge in sales of eBook versions as well. At first, print versions and Kindle versions were pretty much selling neck-in-neck. However, there must be a lot of folks who don’t want to wait for that print version to arrive, or perhaps our new plugged-in Generation E wants that particular book NOW, even if they have to read it on screen.

    Still, it’s a mystery to me why folks would settle for the e-version of a book when they can hold that beautiful dead-tree version in their hands. In any case, I think Le Guin hit the nail on the head with her essay on this one.

  10. Vicki Mitchell

    I love books. I always will. . . . But I have discovered as my eyes age, even after cataract surgery supposedly corrected my vision to 20/10 (reading glasses required) that I love the “Adjust Type Size” feature on my Kindle. I have purchased Kindle copies of paper books I own because they were printed in too fine a type size. On the other hand, I have no qualms about purchasing a paper copy of a book I own on Kindle — especially if I have a chance to get the author to sign it!

  11. Damn Kids, Get Off My Lawn « UST Publishing House

    […] Le Guin (no introduction necessary) recently sounded off on the pros and cons of digital publishing. Hers are valid points – for one thing, the copyright […]

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