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Janitor On Duty

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January 9th, 2009

2:12 PM

Much ado about "dead tree books"

Remember folks, it's now a bad term and you really shouldn't use it anymore, because it insults all authors who are published in print form and that is bad. This is a public service announcement from me, in case you didn't read the Dear Author thread about how Chicken Little destroyed the publishing industry (seriously, Jane's article and some of the comments are worth reading... at least until Nora Roberts showed up and the whole thing took a detour into semantics and "Are you insulting me? I think you are!" territory). So yeah, remember, "dead tree books" = BAD.

PS: Emily Veinglory pointed this out, and now that I have read the whole thing, I agree: the whole "Ellora's Cave Sues Border!" comment thread is worth a read because there are some interesting stories coming out about Ellora's Cave print program. Not that I am gleeful or anything, mind you. It's just that I've heard that Ellora's Cave print books had disappeared from many bookstores recently, and these stories explain what could have caused the distribution to go under. If these stories are true, it's another cautionary tale about the dangers of not preparing (financially) in advance to deal with bookstore returns. The whole issue of bookstore returns is dealt with in the other thread in DA that I linked above, so spare yourself an hour or two this weekend to read those two threads.

6 comment(s).

Posted by Nora Roberts:

Well now, Mrs. G, I didn't say that it insulted all authors published in print form. In fact, I said it might be just me it rubs wrong.
January 9th, 2009 @ 8:09 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

Oh, you know me, I have my tongue firmly against my cheek when I said that.

Blog Land has been a little too serious lately!
January 9th, 2009 @ 9:14 PM

Posted by Katrina Strauss:

E-book authors have dealt with the attitude that we're writing in a second-rate medium for some time. I joke that if I had a dollar for every person who said "Let me know when your book comes out in print and I'll buy it" that I could stop writing for a living. Not saying it justifies e-book writers slamming print, but just asking that print authors bear in mind that we e-authors deal with unintended insult on a constant basis. (At least we did... I do see the tide and attitudes changing in very recent months.) I can't help but feel a bit smug that I now refuse to buy a new release unless it's in e-book.
January 9th, 2009 @ 9:45 PM

Posted by vein:

You know, I see nothing at all insulting in "Let me know when your book comes out in print and I'll buy it". The majority of readers only read in print. I keep email notification lists for my readers that are 'all releases' and 'print only'. The second email list is pretty long and I am happy to have their money :)
January 9th, 2009 @ 10:47 PM

Posted by Katrina Strauss:

I'll be happy to have the money from print sales too. ;) It's just frustrating when, at times, I feel I am pimping the medium itself as much as my own work. I'm not here to revolutionize the publishing industry -- I'm just a writer who wants my stories to be read, and I happened to start with e-books first.

For every readers who's still not on board with e-books, I equally see several of our peers who act apologetic that their work is "only in e-book", while their idea of promo is to promise it will eventually be in print, too. I used to take that apologist stance as well. When I stopped apologizing, my e-book sales went up, which as we know increases chance of a work then going to print. It's a crazy cycle.
January 10th, 2009 @ 3:15 AM

Posted by MD:

Well, I don't read ebooks mostly because it hurts my old eyes. That's why I ask for print/dead tree book publication dates. When I can afford an eink reader, I may read more ebooks. Until then, I'm going to be avoiding the headaches that come with eyestrain.
January 12th, 2009 @ 2:57 PM