The Apple iPad launched yesterday, which unless you are living in a cave somewhere, you surely have heard about it. There have been numerous articles discussing how the iPad is going to revolutionize publishing. Prior to the release of the iPad, eReaders such as the Amazon Kindle have been available for a couple years and we have yet to see this major revolution. Are we to believe that only Apple has the magical power to make everyone flock to eBooks? I'm curious to see if this is the case.
The publishing industry is providing its' books to the eReader market, but many are still priced at $9.99. As an avid reader, I will need some time to adjust to the thought of paying ten bucks for something I can't hold in my hand.
There is also another side to the eBook market, the side with the revolutionary potential. Self-publishing has long been criticized as 'vanity' publishing and often cited as writing of poor quality. In order for the stigma to be lifted, writers who choose to bypass traditional publishing and go straight to eBooks will need to provide a high quality product if they want to see any success. This means the books should be just as professional as their traditional counterparts. Excellent writing that is well edited will need to become the norm. Let's face it, if you are putting your name on a product, don't you want it to be the very best it can be? And I'm not saying you need to pay an editor, but you should have other published authors read and critique your work. And then edit and revise to perfection.
There is no doubt that there is money to be made. eBooks can be sold for as little as a dollar, but for a book being sold at $1.99, it's possible for the author to make $.70, which is a decent profit. However, if your book is crap, no one will pay to read it, nor will they pay to read anything else you've written.
I can't say I'm not intrigued by the eBook idea. I have a great manuscript that is sitting on a shelf collecting dust that I've considered releasing as an eBook. But would it be shooting myself in the foot? Would I ruin my chances of ever being taken seriously and be able to get future books published? Should I take a risk and join the revolution or sit quietly on the sidelines and wait for my chance to come? Or would I be able to make a name for myself and build up a fan base for future book sales? It is so the chicken and the egg. What are your thoughts?