Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kindle-IPad-Kindle-IPad-MacMillan. Whoa!  Amazon, Apple and one of the BIG 6 publishers are duking it out.  $9.99 or $14.95?  Nucleur or Agency Models?  70/30 split or regular pay and loss leader?  For an author, all this can just make your head hurt.  And it is only the tip of the iceberg.  It goes beyond who is vying for the sales lead in e-book readers.  It goes beyond guerrilla business tactics and shaky ethics.  This is cataclysmic, world-shaking book events here, folks.  And, it seems the universe of publishing will never be the same. 

My humble opinion is, frankly, the proverbial "sky is falling."  I am not your local doomsday prognosicator.  I am not reading tea leaves or hunched over a glowing orb.  God has not granted me a prophetic vision.  I am just reading the winds, gentle reader.

Authors will notice a wider acceptance from publishers soon.  That is a plus.  But, they will be greeted by paltry sales and lack of respect.  While the gatekeepers will sigh and go home penniless and frustrated, the eager unpublished masses will surge forth, their 125,0000 word behemoths held forth proudly as a family heirloom on Antique Roadshow. And the whimpers will be heard for a decade as the reading audience laments the days of print when their choices were scanter, the prices steeper, but the selection grander.  The glut of early sales as readers try to fill their reading devices with cheap or free written entertainment will soon slow to an eddy.  In the end, the readers lose interest and go back to reading classics and dusting off the books on their shelves, finding nuggets of wisdom and escape among the tomes of their younger, dark-age days. And authors, a million strong, will continue their unending cathartic excercises of bleeding out their hearts on paper and computer bytes to no avail, no fanfare, and no coin.  Publishers will dry up and blow away, no longer needed to be the lethargic giant dragon hordeing their cache of treasure.  Agents will diversify and survive on peanuts:  they are used to this life, nothing changes. 

That, my friends, is the future of e-books.  The future of Amazon control.  The future of the death knell of a fat, lazy, narcissistic, elitist book publishing industry.