Let us not quibble about definitions. Writers and readers know what I mean. These are the novels that offer an experience that cannot be slotted into any genre category, stories that move the mind and the heart, and explore the human condition by authors whose need to tell these long stories of the imagination is a sacred calling.
For fiction writers in search of a publishing outlet, these are the best of times. For fiction writers in search of readers, this is the worst of times. For fiction writers in search of monetary rewards it is, for most, a disaster.
The challenges for genre fiction writers, those who fashion their stories within the confines of categories such as mysteries, romance, fantasy, zombies, vampires, erotic, and all the subgenres within them, are enormous. If such writers are unbranded and unknown, the odds of finding readership traction in an arena where thousands enter the fray daily are daunting.
Read more: Fiction in Flux
Don’t believe all that hype about government interference that is designed to foster an Amazon monopoly of the ebook business. What the six major publishers were alleged to have done was collude in fixing prices that, if true, was a desperate act that they must have known would fall afoul of anti-trust laws.
The new ploy by book publishers is to characterize Amazon as a monopoly poised to take over and dictate terms and run rampant over those who create ebook content. That is like saying Starbucks is a monopoly because it currently dominates the coffee retail business.
Read more: Don’t Believe the E-Book Monopoly Ploy
The electronic punditry, with their technological, elitist mindset, is now making noises that the single-use e-readers like Kindle, Nook and the SONY Reader are merely stopgap devices that will one day merge into the tablet, offering immersion reading, like the novel requires, as merely one of a million other ways to gain “information” and fill leisure time.
They argue that a single-use device is inherently obsolete in the face of the multitasking onslaught of the tablet, which packages in one carry-around-gadget everything one needs for the fulfillment of most communication activities from video to gaming to record keeping, scheduling, shopping and most other entertainment and information requirements.
Read more: Will the Tablet Kill the Novel?
So, Amazon is to become the official publisher of its own books. It was, of course, bound to happen, too tempting to resist. After all, it does represent a large chunk of the retail book business and does operate its own production and distribution facilities both through its Kindle and print sites.
In effect, it now competes not only with its suppliers (meaning other publishers), large and small, but also with other authors, both traditionally published and a giant wave of self-published authors.
Read more: The Publishing Civil War
After years of agony, the demise of Borders was as predictable as the sunset. It was like the horse and buggy murdered by the horseless carriage. It is sad and hurtful to many people who worked there but no crystal ball was needed. Its time had come.
The brick and mortar chain stores are probably doomed and what remains will contract and eventually succumb as more and more readers morph to screen reading on devices.
Read more: Beyond Borders
In another few weeks, I will be moving to another apartment in the same building in Manhattan where I have spent the past few years. While moving in itself is a traumatic event as everyone knows, my principal problem is books.
I have a huge collection of books. In the three or four major moves in my lifetime I have culled, boxed, given away and donated thousands of books. During each nesting experience, however, I have acquired yet more books and have repeated the culling process each time. I could never pass a bookstore without buying one or more books.
Read more: My Book Problem
I am a great fan of Apple products, own an Apple computer and an iPhone, but I am not yet convinced that the upcoming iPad will dominate as the reading device of choice for e-books. This does not mean that it won’t find its place for all the other applications, especially games and movies and the avalanche of coming iPad apps. Indeed, the technical aspects of the reading experience might even be somewhat superior, albeit temporary, to what is now available in reading devices exclusive to e-books e.g. Kindle and the SONY reader.
Read more: The iPad and the Dedicated Reader