E is for Ebooks

Back at the turn of the century (the 1900s to the 2000s) I often said, “If they get the cost of the readers down, e-books are going to take off.”

I don’t know if anyone listened to me. Others, obviously, had the same thought. The readers didn’t really get cheaper, not down to the level I thought would be necessary, but inventive minds took the idea and came up with microchips that would store lots of memory (which is increasing day by day) and readers that could do more than simply duplicate a word file.

Everyone knows the explosion of e-readers has pushed book publishing in a new direction. It’s been as dramatic as the invention of the Gutenberg printing press. With the invention of the press, the masses had access to books. With e-books, the masses (us) can now publish books.

This ability to bypass traditional publishing houses that nowadays choose and reject manuscripts based more on their perceived financial value than their literary quality has been fantastic for those writers who have wonderful books that may not be best sellers. The negative, of course, is ANONE can publish a book. There is no gatekeeper.

Wait a minute. Maybe there is a gatekeeper.

We, the readers, will now be the ones who praise or reject a story. (I always like to read those first few chapters before I actually push the “buy” button.) We’re the ones who will vote with our wallets.

There have always been writers who have self-published. Now, at least, they don’t have to pay huge amounts of money to say they have a published book.

The real winners, I think, are all of us who had books published in the past that went out of print. My romances were on the store shelves for 6-weeks or less. After that, it’s been the used book stores that have profited from the sale of my books. Anyone looking for a copy of a book published ten or twenty years ago had to search for a used copy, possibly pay more than the original, and hope pages weren’t missing.

The original Harlequin Temptation cover. Sounds Like Love, published 1986
The original Harlequin Temptation cover. Sounds Like Love, published 1986


e-book cover 2014
e-book cover 2014


Thank goodness I was given the rights back to most of my romances. I only have a few out as e-books, but they continue to sell and are making ME a lot more money than if they were in a used book store. Now I need to get busy and get more of my previously published romances out as e-books. (My first two mysteries are already in that form, and publishing companies finally realized they could make money by utilizing the e-rights, so my future mysteries will also be out as e-books.)

Will e-books live forever?
Can there be an infinite number of e-books?

I wonder.

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6 Responses to E is for Ebooks

  1. Dee Connell says:

    It’s definitely a great time for new writers like myself to start publishing. There are so many more options these days, and it’s very empowering. I’m glad that you can revive your out of print novels and make some more money!

    • Maris Soule says:

      Dee, I still think traditional publishing is important, but there are many wonderful stories that simply don’t fit the business model of those publishers that are now controlled by corporations. Thank goodness smaller publishing houses have taken up the slack, but even they can’t publish all of the wonderful stories that are being written. E-books and POD are giving a third option. It means more work for the writer, but at least the ms isn’t sitting in a drawer, never to see the light.

  2. Lucy Kubash says:

    I think the thing I love most about e-books is that I can discover new authors who would otherwise be unknown to me. And the fact that they keep books available forever. I’m not sure if that’s always a good thing (for authors who would like to have their rights back) but at least they’re not off the shelf in just a few weeks.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Lucy, it certainly didn’t take the publishing houses long to realize the advantage of holding on to e rights. As you said, I think most authors would like to have those rights, but at least the books are out there.

  3. What good points about e-readers, books, publishing, etc. In 2000, I didn’t think it would go, wanted to touch a book, go to bed with it. Well…the conversion didn’t take long…and now I’m convinced it’s better for me to e-publish. Thanks for all the input. Your A-to E is dandy!

    • Maris Soule says:

      Wil, I still like a book in my hands, but downsizing forced me to give away many and my Kindle (or iPad) certainly make taking a multitude of books with me easy. I’m enjoying your alphabeth blogs, too.