Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roll on, ebooks

The news is kind of old now, but I'll repeat it anyway: ebooks are outselling print books. This surprises me not at all, but it does make me think a little bit about the psychological shift that it implies.

See, for years, I've loved the cheesy romance novels, even back to the bodice ripper days, oh yeah. I even have novels with Fabio on the cover. And I always, always felt ashamed reading those things out in public. This might have been related to the fact that I was a literature student and therefore was expected to spend my free time enjoying War and Peace and Other Things of That Nature. But I never did, and I always endured the scorn of my peers.

How liberating it is, however, to whip out my BlackBerry or iPad in a post office line or on a bus and indulge to my heart's content and never hear the slightest disparaging sniff from people who ought to be minding their own business anyway.

There's another paradigm shift that accompanies the changeover from print books to ebooks: length. Word count is no longer dictated by paper prices or shelf space. An ebook can be as long, or as short, as it needs to be. Savanna Kougar
noted this inher RWBB post discussing the popularity of ebook novellas and short stories. As she pointed out, the ebook format certainly aids readers who are just looking for a short-term distraction, but I think it also means that books that need 120k words can get them without deforesting a small county.

I like this flexibility. I like the anonymity and personalization. I like the trend.

But I still have a secret desire to hold a printed book of mine in my hot little hands someday.


Savanna Kougar said...

Viv, that's the beauty of these times, I think. Ebooks and print books, and the whole strong POD trend. This means all of us as readers have CHOICE. We can enjoy the anonymity of ebooks, and not chopping down trees. Or, we can hold that bodice ripper [love them!!!]in our hot little hands, the one that was print on demands, so there's much less waste.

Savanna Kougar said...

P.S. You'll hold your own print book soon.

Vivien Jackson said...

I forgot to mention, though I guess I implied it, that I get so much more enjoyment out of those tarty book covers now that I can save 'em on my phone and refer back whenever the, er, inspiration strikes. And then I can keep my book shelf all hoity with embossed leather sets of Shakespeare and other suitable crap. The goodies are my guilty pleasure!

And as to the other, well, a girl has big dreams. :)

Savanna Kougar said...

Tarty book covers... luv it... lol...

Those covers are an art form unto themselves as far as I'm concerned.

Yeah, keep the leather bound ones for those who don't deserve the pleasure.