Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Do Inexpensive E-Readers Lead To Cheap E-Readers?

Just read an interesting article about the Kobo being released in June. I think I am potentially seeing a trend here that personally, might not be that good.

This is an attempt to create a low end price for an e-reader. That's fine with me, but I fear that in an attempt to keep the price lower, the quality of the readers in the end will decrease. No, I am not one to say that the higher the price the higher the quality, but I am concerned that companies will start diving on board to create less than quality material.

We see this all of the time in marketing. We have seen this in publishing. When e-publishing came out, there was a sudden flood of the market of "publishers" that had a huge computer server and began putting books out there. The quality of the writing as far from good. This is not to say all e-pubs are bad, but there were many that just dove into the business because it was cheap. Fortunately, some of those died off, but still, many continue.

Just something to think about.



  1. I see your point, but the KOBO, which I own, is superior to the Sony, which I used to own, and at least on par with the Kindle, from the research I did :)

  2. On epublishing, you have things a bit backwards. I was involved in indie epublishing in the late 1990s, and the market wouldn't have existed without the indies.

    For example, the original ebook reader for individuals, the Rocket, had very few of the conglomerate publishers willing to risk their books on the digital market. The indies not only entered this market, they thrived in it with some quality books and an author sales force who not only promoted their books but also digital reading and readers. They built the market we have today.

    As to quality of these publishers, some of the current successful romance authors who came out of indie epubs include Kate Douglas, Linnea Sinclair, Lilith St. Crow, and Michelle Bardsley. I could name a dozen others without trouble.

    As to the future, I imagine the indies will be better able to survive the lower prices and lower margins of the digital future than the conglomerate publishers with their high overhead and need for higher margins. As books become even less of a profit center for corporations who expect higher and higher margins, I predict that they will sell off their publishers who will return to their own roots as small companies without stockholders.

  3. I can't resist jumping in here. My take on this is that agents and publishers will continue to work with the very cream of the crop, the Pattersons andf Steeles, and competition will be fierce for these rainmakers. A lot of agents & publishers will choose to drop out of the grinding race. Apart from the very few lightning strike newcomers, "Water for Elephants," "The Help," and the like, the rest of the debut authors will move in droves to the internet as soon as their ms as completed, and see it in print within 24 hrs., on Amazon,or Createsapce, (for paperbacks,) and take their chances in the open marketplace. Check out Konrath's interview with Karen McQuestion, who sold over 30,000 copies of her SP Ebooks on Amazon in her first year, AND got one optioned for a movie. Too nice.
    This is all both good & bad. I think the Ecream will rise to the top very ,very slowly, as there will be an ocean of milk to get through. Life is change, yes? I love writing directly for readers, and knowing I will published immediately. The downside is obvious. So glad you enjoyed being in Wisconsin, Scott. I've been hoping you would appear.