Kindle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,323 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,565 Posts
I love her observant essays, and I REALLY love anybody's essays on how their habits are changing.

She said one small thing that made me think about short fiction publishing, though: She likes to read short fiction on paper, because she can get a better idea at a glance how long a particular story is before she starts it. And I immediately thought: hey, why not put word count (or approx page count) int he TOC and maybe even in notes at the start of a story. Do it like a magazine -- an italicized blurb, and then a paranthetical note with length?

Like so:

THE DREAM OF THE STORY LABELERS

What happens when an indie author gets an idea for how to present a short story. (1500 words).

And then the story begins.....

I'm always on the lookout for ways to give the audience more of what they want. I just wouldn't want to do it in an intrusive way. Still it's something to think about.

Camille
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
523 Posts
Actually, I would recommend everyone (but especially short story/novella writers) include the word and/or approximate page count. Amazon gives ... what? file size or something like that? That doesn't mean a thing to me.

I heard stories of short story/novella authors getting bad reviews from readers who didn't realize the book wasn't a full-size novel.

And I read Kris's blog religiously. Lots of great information.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,508 Posts
I read her post this morning, and you could really feel her disorientation. After all these years in publishing to find everything so changed, I couldn't imagine what it's like but she expresses it so well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,565 Posts
BarbaraKE said:
Actually, I would recommend everyone (but especially short story/novella writers) include the word and/or approximate page count. Amazon gives ... what? file size or something like that? That doesn't mean a thing to me.

I heard stories of short story/novella authors getting bad reviews from readers who didn't realize the book wasn't a full-size novel.

And I read Kris's blog religiously. Lots of great information.
No, n I didn't mean in the book description -- that goes without saying.

What she was talking about is individual stories WITHIN collections. So in the book description you might say the whole collection is 10,000 words, and it might have 5 stories of varying lengths. The question is why not label each story INSIDE the book with length? This one is 1200 words, that one is 5400 words... put that information in the TOC and also under the title of each story as it appears in the book. Nobody does that now, but I think it would be a good idea.

Camille
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,679 Posts
Yes, e-book sales are increasing, but they are-using the best, most provable numbers I can find-still less than 25% (I know, I know. We can argue about that. I don't want to.) Let's use 25% of all books sold as e-books. That means 75% are still paper.

And with the brick-and-mortar venues declining, it gets harder to find those books, which automatically makes the consumer more cautious about purchasing them.

B&N is achieving its goal of driving more customers to the web. But that is going to hurt the traditional publishing business, perhaps faster than any of us expected (except the most pessimistic bloggers). Expect more shake-up in the traditional publishing world. Expect to hear more gloom and doom from that quarter.
I'd say that Kris is underestimating the percentage of ebook sales for fiction. That's mostly a guess, though.

She also can't be surprised that every customer who switches to ebooks hurts brick and mortar bookstores, which in turn hurts trade publishers.

I hope that stores like Powell's can survive, and that every major city has one or two great bookstores like that. I'm pessimistic, though. And if they survive in the form that she B&N in, what good are they? I don't want bookstores with fewer books and more toys and other stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
523 Posts
Asher MacDonald said:
I hope that stores like Powell's can survive, and that every major city has one or two great bookstores like that. I'm pessimistic, though. And if they survive in the form that she B&N in, what good are they? I don't want bookstores with fewer books and more toys and other stuff.
Hah!! We don't have that now (a great bookstore in every major city). At least not here in Upstate South Carolina.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,565 Posts
You know, stepping back and looking at how Barnes and Noble drove the small bookstore out of business in the first place....

In some ways, this gives me hope for those small bookstores.  What B&N is doing is getting out of the "superstore" business -- that is, they're stocking like they did when they were a news stand.  Just a few books.  More like Walmart than like a bookstore.  If readers can't find variety, they will look elsewhere.  The small bookstores have a chance to compete once again.  Maybe not a great chance, but I think there will be some very successful gleaners out there.

Camille
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,688 Posts
I wonder if B&N is experimenting. The store Kris describes is very different from the B&N I go to. They did remove one circular display for the Nook kiosk, but all the rest of the shelf space and displays remain. Makes me wonder how many other models they might be trying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,679 Posts
Terrence OBrien said:
I wonder if B&N is experimenting. The store Kris describes is very different from the B&N I go to. They did remove one circular display for the Nook kiosk, but all the rest of the shelf space and displays remain. Makes me wonder how many other models they might be trying.
They may have different models for stores with different revenue levels.

I went into a B&N the other day that serves as a university bookstore (though there's an official university bookstore also). Their selection of books was slim, which was no surprise, but what was a surprise was that they didn't carry the Nook. This, at a store right next to a couple of universities (Washington University Medical and St. Louis College of Pharmacy). Twenty-somethings love electronic gadgets. No Nooks?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,323 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Asher MacDonald said:
I'd say that Kris is underestimating the percentage of ebook sales for fiction. That's mostly a guess, though.

She also can't be surprised that every customer who switches to ebooks hurts brick and mortar bookstores, which in turn hurts trade publishers.

I hope that stores like Powell's can survive, and that every major city has one or two great bookstores like that. I'm pessimistic, though. And if they survive in the form that she B&N in, what good are they? I don't want bookstores with fewer books and more toys and other stuff.
I have a lot of hope that Powell's will survive. One, it has a pretty loyal customer base and people (such as Kris Rusch) have been known to drive hundreds of miles to shop there and Two, they are being pretty pro-active in cutting expensive and diversifying their stock. Even I buy books there although they can't always supply my research requirements.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,679 Posts
JRTomlin said:
I have a lot of hope that Powell's will survive. One, it has a pretty loyal customer base and people (such as Kris Rusch) have been known to drive hundreds of miles to shop there and Two, they are being pretty pro-active in cutting expensive and diversifying their stock. Even I buy books there although they can't always supply my research requirements.
I bet if they make it there will be people who plan vacations around visiting them, and who use Google's bookstore thing to give Powell's a slice of each ebook sale.

It is hard to imagine a future where, say, 75% of book sales are ebooks, and also seeing bookstores survive in appreciable numbers. I think print books will be like antiques at some point. Some people will collect them and others may want a favorite author in print even though they read ebooks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
I think Kris's overall point, that the business is changing and trying to find its way, is valid.  But I don't think print is dying, nor are brick-and-mortar bookstores. The one of which I'm a co-owner, Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, is soon to be Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego and Redondo Beach--we're opening a second branch, after 19 years in business.

Now, it's no superstore. It's a specialty store that sells mystery, sf, fantasy, horror, and a few related items (some graphic novels, lots of kids/YA in those genres, associated nonfiction). We also have various outreaches, business-to-business, a brisk trade selling at certain conventions, etc. The sorts of things a successful independent bookstore does to stay that way.

And we don't look down on people who do what Kris claimed not to do: "I’m not one of those obnoxious people who stands in the aisle of a brick-and-mortar store and downloads the book on my Kindle or iPhone app.  I’m not that crass."

In fact, we post QR codes on the shelves. If we can sell an e-book, and it's something you'd rather read in digital than print, you can scan it with your smart phone and order it on the spot. From us.

The world is definitely changing. But movies didn't end pleasure reading. TV didn't end theatrical movies. Video games didn't end any of the previous three. The rise of digital will give authors more, different outlets for telling stories, but it won't end storytelling. And the printed book is still a nearly ideal marriage of form and function--you can read it anywhere, you don't need power, you can put it down and pick it up at any time and it's still right there. The author can sign it for you, actually touching the book that you possess--a big plus for collectors, and still a great way to cement a fan's appreciation.  E will take a bigger and bigger bite of the pie, but print won't die. Not in my lifetime, and probably not in yours.

And the smart booksellers will keep their stores open, and keep making money by putting readers together with the books they'll love.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,679 Posts
Great post, Jeff. As someone who has spent decades buying print and loves books, I don't want to see print go away.

So where do you see the percentage of ebook vs. print sales settling in a few years?

I think you have the right attitude about ebooks too. If a customer in your store prefers ebooks, sell that customer an ebook. There has to be a way where that can happen where the sale includes store, customer, and publisher and no one else. I realize that Google wants a cut, but I'd hope at some point they could be eliminated. Fewer fingers in the pie means a bit more for the bookstore.

It's hard to not be pessimistic, though. It's 10pm right now for me and if I feel like a new book, it's so easy to buy one from Amazon, B&N, or Kobo instead of waiting until tomorrow and going to an indie bookstore and buying one.

I love bookstores. I managed one for two years. I've spent thousands of hours in them over the past few decades. Yet now I seldom go to one. That's a real problem for you when the people who love you start shopping somewhere else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,137 Posts
I had noticed this same phenomenon in B&N several months ago, but didn't examine it in specific detail like Kris did. I noticed the children's section had expanded. I noticed that the Nook shelves had taken over a lot of space. I did notice that some famous bestselling authors had very few titles up. Most of the chairs had been removed, and the place seemed nosier because of young children running around.

I did not spend as long as usual in the store and have not gone back. I am buying most of my books on line. 

For a long time B&N has been my favorite shop. I remember being sooo excited when the store first came to town. No longer.
Ann
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
Asher, I'm not prescient enough to know, or even have a guess, where the balance will settle. But I think it will, and print will continue to be part of the mix.

One thing I am certain of is that the folks hanging out on "Kindle Boards" are ahead of this particular curve. It's not surprising that there are lots of people here who have curtailed bookstore shopping and print-book buying--that's kind of the raison d'etre of the board. What should also be remembered is that people who hang out here are avid readers, and therefore ahead of another national curve. I don't remember what the last statistic I heard about book buying in America was, but I think the average American buys fewer than 10 books a year (possibly far fewer). The glory of the digital era, to booksellers and writers and people who just generally want to live in a culturally vibrant, literate country, is that it is encouraging people to read and to expand their literary horizons. I will not be surprised if, in a few years, when the novelty of e-books wears off and they're just another form of book, to see people who once exclusively read digital going into bookstores, having decided they want permanent, physical copies of the books they love. Vinyl's enjoying a comeback, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,323 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
JeffMariotte said:
Asher, I'm not prescient enough to know, or even have a guess, where the balance will settle. But I think it will, and print will continue to be part of the mix.

One thing I am certain of is that the folks hanging out on "Kindle Boards" are ahead of this particular curve. It's not surprising that there are lots of people here who have curtailed bookstore shopping and print-book buying--that's kind of the raison d'etre of the board. What should also be remembered is that people who hang out here are avid readers, and therefore ahead of another national curve. I don't remember what the last statistic I heard about book buying in America was, but I think the average American buys fewer than 10 books a year (possibly far fewer). The glory of the digital era, to booksellers and writers and people who just generally want to live in a culturally vibrant, literate country, is that it is encouraging people to read and to expand their literary horizons. I will not be surprised if, in a few years, when the novelty of e-books wears off and they're just another form of book, to see people who once exclusively read digital going into bookstores, having decided they want permanent, physical copies of the books they love. Vinyl's enjoying a comeback, too.
Vinyl is a tiny niche for avid collectors. Comparing its sales to MP3s is laughable, to be frank.

I don't think either bookstores or print will disappear, however. You are rather misrepresenting what Kris Rusch said since she didn't say any such thing would happen. But the changes in the publishing industry are on the level of a tsunami. There's no point in pretending otherwise.

Edit: It is an interesting question whether in a few years paperbacks will disappear (as did the pulps) to be replaced by eBooks and hardcovers will exist as a tiny niche market (expensive and thus probably profitable) for those of us who collect them. That is one very possible scenario.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
I also read her blog religiously.  I look forward to it every Thursday.  She's astute and has lots of experience.

I wish she would focus on newer writers though. The last couple of entries seem mostly aimed at professionals, FWIW.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,679 Posts
JJAC116 said:
I also read her blog religiously. I look forward to it every Thursday. She's astute and has lots of experience.

I wish she would focus on newer writers though. The last couple of entries seem mostly aimed at professionals, FWIW.
That's what she knows. When it comes to self-publishing she's learning right along with the rest of us.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top