Liars Club

Read any good screens lately?

by Simmons on December 7, 2010

in Liars Club Philly,The Writing Life

A middle class writer/citizen. Probably a dang Democrat.

Time once again for a new Burning Question about writing and publishing. Check in often to see how we Liars respond. To see past answers to other Burning Questions, click on our For Writers page…And to keep up on all the new stuff, subscribe to this blog!  Then you won’t miss anything…honest.

Burning Question #14: Are ebooks going hurt or help novels? And what impact will they have on writers/writing?

Liar Kelly Simmons kicks this one off:

I meet people all the time who tell me that eReaders have changed their lives. No more lugging books on vacation or business trips.  No more pesky overflowing bookshelves.  My sister-in-law put it like this:  “My Nook brought reading back into my life.”   And when I saw my first novel, Standing Still, on an iPad, I admit it.  I gasped with delight.

But almost everyone I know who owns one of these devices has one thing in common. They are upper-middle class citizens. The first people I knew who had them were, to put it bluntly, filthy freakin’ rich.

What does this mean?  It means the industry has succeeded in selling the wealthiest citizens on the cheapest versions.  (Oh gosh, buying used titles on eBay is so pesky and bothersome!  Why can’t you create something cheap just for moi?)

Why don’t we just conjure up electronic Savile Row suits and virtual Cartier jewelry while we’re at it? And Jeeves,where, oh where, is my Tiffany Groupon?

Don’t get me wrong:  I am in favor of any technology that promotes reading to anyone. I am not anti eBook.  But couldn’t we have begun by gussying up the eBooks with value add-ons:  bonus content, video, interviews, etc that made them worth more, not less?

I could talk for hours on the demise of the bookstore, and the value of human beings helping you select a good book.  That’s a separate topic for another day.  For today, I just want to marvel over how stupid it is to sell wealthy people cheaper stuff.

Kelly Simmons is the author of Standing Still (Simon & Schuster) and coming in February, The Bird House. Learn more at Kelly’s also a very responsible tweeter: and a good facebook friend to have (kellyatbubble), primarily because she gives free stuff away.  Even to rich people.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc Schuster December 7, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Just out of curiosity, is there a difference between the royalties authors receive for e-book sales and print sales?

Kelly Simmons December 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm

My understanding (but I’m not positive) is that the percentage is the same, but because the base price is lower, the profit is less.

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