Mystery, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, horror & YA by "Cheryl Kaye Tardif" & romance by "Cherish D'Angelo". Cheryl is represented by Trident Media Group in NY.

Monday, August 30, 2010

An author's thoughts on the Kindle 3, the iPad, ebooks and piracy

I'm interested in the Kindle 3 ereader for 2 reasons. I'm an avid reader and I'm an author. I've been able to check out 3 ereaders to date: the Kindle, the iPad and the Kobo. They each have their pros and cons, but today I'm going to focus on the Kindle 3, with a few comparisons to the iPad.

While many people are very happy with the new Kindle 3 ereader, others are upset about the restricted library size, pricing of ebooks, the lack of sharing abilities and the fact that they can only purchase ebooks via the Kindle Store.

Regarding library size, they all have large libraries and more books than any one person will ever read. Kindle and Kobo have great selections. The only advantage the iPad has over the others with regards to library size is that you can download free apps for the iPad that will give you access to Kindle, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and many others.

I was impressed with the iPad. Then again, I own an iPhone so I know that the experience is similar, just on a larger scale. But if all you're looking for is an affordable ereader, then the iPad is just too much machine for you. And the back-lit screen may be great at night, but it's wearing on the eyes during the day. This new Kindle sounds like it has some great features. At the very least, the Kindle team listened to customers and gave them some of the things they wanted, like a lighter ereader, quieter buttons etc.

I do agree that an ereader should be able to read multiple formats though. And I don't think we should have to buy all our books at one store. If ePub truly does become the universal format and ereader manufacturers create a way for us to add books from multiple ebook retailers, then the majority of readers will be very happy.

As an author, DRM is important. It protects writers against piracy. Most authors understand you want to share the book with your best bud. I want you to share it. What I don't want is for someone to be able to make copies of the file and then share (or sell) those files illegally. And sadly, that's what's happening.

I'm not sure what the solution is. Nobody is. Do we eliminate DRM and keep ebook prices high to help compensate for pirated copies? Or do we lower prices and keep some DRM intact? Is there a way to design an ereader that can share files between your computer, laptop and ereader, yet only share with other readers if they pay a small surcharge to the publisher (and therefore the author)? Would that satisfy readers?

If publishers and authors could be sure that readers would give away THEIR copy of the ebook and not make copies, things would be easier. But there are unscrupulous people out there who think authors and publishers are all rich. We're not. Or they just think they're entitled to do what they want, whether it's against the law or not. You've purchased one copy of an ebook. The copyright belongs to the author. COPY right. When you lend someone a print book, you've given them your copy. you haven't reprinted it and loaned them a copy. When you file share ebooks, you're pirating extra copies.

Anyone who says authors write and promote every hour they can for the fun of it is full of crap. I want to make an income. I have a right to make an income. That's why I'm a professional writer and not a hobbyist. Although I'm a bestselling author with multiple titles, if I calculated what I actually make per hour, it probably ranges in the poverty level. But this is a business to me and I look at it the same way I would if I'd bought a restaurant. I have to work it and work it hard before I see the rewards.

Anyways, piracy aside, the issue here is ebooks and the future. You can hold onto your paper books all you want, but ebooks are here to stay. This is the future of reading. People who enjoy reading will try an ereader and they'll realize they like it. Schools will have ereaders and computers, no more textbooks--eventually. Pricing will drop as more publishers realize that quantity is what they want. Already you can find awesome reads for under $10.

My own ebooks all retail for less than $5. One sells for $0.99. And I'm not the only author out there that has affordable ebooks. Sometimes we even offer them for free. :-)

I hope my post offers a bit more insight into the world of ebooks--at least now you have an author's point of view. I'm embracing ebooks and ereaders. :-)

Happy reading, everyone--whether you're reading a hardcover, paperback, e-ink or back-lit screen.

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