NaNo and Ebooks

National Novel Writing  Month

So, here is one of several badges for bragging rights. Yes, as mentioned previously, I have finished the month-long project of writing 50,000 words (closer to 60,000 words this year), and entered the official count. Badges, bragging rights and a sense of accomplishment are the prizes.

I think I probably mentioned before, but the goal for myself is to learn to drop all external distractions and focus on my screen, my thoughts, my ideas and imagination in order to write a scene, or perhaps three.

To me, this is one of the primary attractions of NaNoWriMo — learning how to just simply write.

I read an article today — http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melanie-benjamin/for-the-love-of-writing-n_b_783569.html — that talks about writing for the pleasure of writing. In our visual world of today, so many people have lost the art of writing anything by hand; a grocery list, a letter to a loved one or friend, a diary or journal. There is a certain intimacy of pen in hand that simply doesn’t happen, even sitting at a laptop or PC, but at least if you keep an online journal you are writing, and yes, as Melanie Benjamin’s article suggests, you are doing it for the pleasure and nothing more.

NaNoWriMo does capture some of that by demanding you meet a word count quota, forcing yourself to write — inevitably what comes out is from the heart, from and for pleasure.

A Word about Ebooks

And how about epublishing? I have written before, but I will again —

http://tnt-tek.com/books/current-crop-of-ebook-technologies-unacceptable/

— lot of problems, but it is a new industry. I have the Kindle software on my cell phone, and it is the only way I will read Amazon’s books.

What is the reason for that?

I find it difficult to justify the purchase of a digital reading device, such as Amazon’s Kindle to read their books — it is that simple. If I do, I limit myself to purchasing books from the digital device book list, at their price, at their discretion. How many times have I searched for a book in digital format, only to find it available on a site that would require me to shell out more money for another brand of reading device.

In my way of thinking, Amazon, and all the others, such as iPad, Nook and eReader, must either remove the DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions, so that I can shop around chosing books to purchase and download from any site that sells ebooks,

or…..

The reading device comes free with the purchase of your first book. If that were the case, I can accept the justification of continuing with DRM restrictions, so that I only purchase books from that site for that device. Or, alternatively, you pay for the device, but then receive the value of the device refunded through the purchase of the books.

Of course, that means I would have several eReaders on my shelf, each with  my downloaded purchased books from that company. Having three or four eReaders — each with a few hundred books in it — uses a lot less shelf space than the equivalent in hard copy books, doesn’t it?

In the meantime, I will use the free versions of ereaders on my smartphone, and purchase and read books from a variety of resources.

Reason two: the books for sale at all the sites I have seen so far are just too expensive. They need to be listed at about half the price they are currently listed at. I guess it is unfair of me to say all, but at the major sites, a typical first release by an established author is about $10 US. Realistically, the list price should be about $5 or $6 at most. The only books that justify a higher price are those that are going to be revised regularly, such as dictionaries or textbooks or high end encyclopedia type books. And, the higher price should reflect my ability to download the revisions without further charge, forever.

As a corollary to the pricing issue, this might a way for libraries to modernize themselves reflective of digital books. Either online, or in person, you can ‘borrow’ the book you are interested in for a modest fee, say fifty cents, and have use of the book for the typical library-lending time frame, two or three weeks. This might provide a way to address library’s chronic underfunding, as well as the idea that the author sees no recompense for books read repeatedly through libraries. The library would split the lender’s fee with the author and/or author and publisher. Lots of work, lots of problems, but a model well worth looking into, in my mind.

Not enough profit to authors: and this goes to publishers of both hard copy and digital. Since the bulk of the work involved in a book is by the author under the current model, writing, editing, marketing, promotion, the bulk of the profit should go to the author. Period. About ninety percent, in my way of thinking. Otherwise, I think that the prize will go to savvy agents who specialize in either editing, or marketing books independent of a publishing house, and publishing houses, per say, will go the proverbial way of the ancients.

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