By Tom Dulaney, Editor
Book-lovers have much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving, including so many things that were not in our lives a year ago:
iPad, the new kid in eBook reading, to the Kindle, the father of the ebook revolution in many ways. (Kindle wasn't the first eBook reader, but it's the one that caught the world's attention.)
We can save a load of money and still read, read, read. Millions of ebooks await our download. All we have to sort out is how to get which freebie from wherever onto our reading device of choice. Amazon makes that a snap for the tens of thousands of free ebooks it carries, and the iPad makes it easy once you know where to look.
Our reading horizons are stretching wide, wider, widest. Again, Amazon gets the lion's share of the credit here, for several reasons:
- New titles from great authors. Just this week, Amazon announced acquiring 121 titles for their Kindle Store from The Toby Press. That brings some of the finest overseas authors to US readers--in English.
- New ebooks for our kids, like the just-added. Rainbow Magic series from Daisy Meadows
- New authors. With its Digital Text Publishing (DTP) that makes publishing a book a snap, we readers can discover new authors. These budding writers get a chance they never had before ebooks and DTP.
- Bestselling author bargains. The A-list of popular authors, including the everywhere present James Patterson, lets us sample huge chunks of their upcoming books. Sometimes, they give us one of their older books, a get-to-know-you marketing method that, nevertheless, gives us a great read at a great price.
- A mountain of books to choose from. Our options range from Gutenberg.org and other such sites, with towering lists of classics now downloadable for free. Plus, Amazon--again way out ahead--now offers us 750,000 ebooks, and the number is only going up.
- Bargain pricing--much of the time, but not all of the time. A strong contingent of ebook buyers expect their ebooks to cost less than the printed book. That argument rages on, and no one really knows if a general policy will settle into place.
- And more...from saving trees, cutting distribution costs, leaving room in our homes that piles of books used to take, and so on.
So while there is much to be thankful for, there are also events to make us wonder. For example, until this coming Monday, Amazon is having a Black Friday sell-a-thon. It doesn't seem to extend to books in the Kindle Store, but we get good bargains there every day of the week. Current pricing during the Black Friday event seems to turn the "ebooks should be cheaper" argument upside down, but that's temporary.
But, for example, today's bargains include Sarah Palin's America By Heart at $12.99 is a penny more than the hardcover Black Friday deal.
And James Patterson's Cross Fire costs $14.99 as an ebook, but $14.00 in the deals. Former President George Bush treats ebook buyers better on Decision Points, with a $9.99 price tag in the Kindle Store and $14.00 as a Black Friday deal.
Boyd Morrison. He couldn't get a "yes" from a publisher, so he published to his web site and Amazon via DTP. Sales took off, and Simon & Schuster revisited.
His first official release, The Ark, has already nailed 98 5- and 4-star reviews out of 120. On November 30, what I think is an even greater book, Rogue Wave, releases for $5.99 in both ebook and print format.
Already-famous thriller writers like Douglas Preston and James Rollins give rave reviews to the book, now available for pre-order.
Shaken this fall, giving 75% of it away, betting readers would pay $2.99 to reward the author--and find out what happened.
More recently, Gayle Tiller's 24 Hour Lottery Ticket gave us a hilarious 46,000-word tale of a crusty older woman fighting off the forces of political evil with the help of a down and out young woman lawyer.
And just this week, the gutsy and brave Carla Rene offered up a Victorian period novel, The Gaslight Journal, in the style of Jane Austen.
All in all, book lovers have much to be thankful for this day. And for those of us who have weathered the economic meltdown, or are beginning to climb out of the mess, there's tomorrow--Black Friday--and the heart of the gifting season just ahead.
Tom Dulaney, Editor
Tom Dulaney, Editor