e-books and us
After reading Linda’s reflections on the value of critiquing groups in general and the Ladies’ Killing Circle in particular I must add that because of the group I have more than a dozen short stories and three novels published. Their frank and occasionally brutal assessments of my work inspired me to listen, learn and
internalize their comments. Now I’m afraid that all the critiquing groups in the world aren’t going to help most Canadian mystery writers.
Why this dire prediction? Because it’s looking more and more as if e-books are the future and Canadian small press publishers haven’t negotiated the terms to get our books on e readers.
In the US this last quarter both Barnes and Noble and Borders reported large losses. Along with Indigo/Chapters, these US stores have discounted best sellers, failed to promote the works of small publishers and devoted large sections of their stores to gift items that have nothing to do with books. In other words they’ve done everything they can to monopolize the market and make money but it isn’t happening. If these behemoths can’t do it, can’t sell books for a profit what will happen to books printed on paper and to bookstores?
E-book readers are easy to read and the books are half the price of their print counterparts. But if bookstores and books disappear we will all be poorer. There will be no trading books with friends, no donations of books to libraries, no bookcases filled with old favourites or with the books you read as a child.
Some categories may survive. Coffee table books filled with glorious photographs or paintings may not transfer well to e readers. Parents may still demand children’s books. It’s difficult to visualize curling up with a child and an e reader although among the multitude of aps on the Apple pad there are appealing children’s books. Perhaps a new larger size of reader suitable for picture books and coffee table books may be in the works.
Whatever the options it seems likely e-books are the way of the future.
Because small Canadian publishers have not reached an agreement about the publication of e-books our books are not there, are not available. If we are going to survive as writers, readers must have the option of downloading our books.
I know that small publishers with few employees have banded together to try to negotiate a deal to make this happen. Our survival depends on e-books.
Is there anything we can do? Any way that we can help?
Joan Boswell A member of the Ladies Killing Circle Joan co-edited four of their short story anthologies: Fit toDie, Bone Dance, Boomers Go Bad and Going Out With a Bang. Her three mysteries, Cut Off His Tale, Cut to the Quick and Cut and Run were published in 2005, 2007 and 2007. In 2000 she won the $10,000 Toronto Star’s short story contest. Joan lives in Toronto with three flat-coated retrievers.