Ebook studies about market shares and sales are all over the place. But eBook studies about reader habits are a little harder to find.
That’s why I was excited to finally see one that talked about… copyright.
What is a book “worth” when authors are being taught by Amazon that the way to promote their work is to give it away? Or when a quick search for “free ebooks” on Google can get you over 100 million results?
Here are the results from “The Online Copyright Infringement Tracker” from Kantar Media. The statistics are UK-based, but have a lot of significance for any author, reader or otherwise lover of books in all their forms.
It’s an uncertain descent into darkness when you start thinking about heady questions like the future of books. In my short story, Digitally Remastered Classics, I try to ask a lot of those questions.
It’s widely accepted that Calvin & Hobbes is the best comic strip in the known world.
More than anything else, that’s because of its universal appeal. Kids, college students, and adults have all found something unique to treasure in Bill Watterson’s timeless comic strip.
I grew up reading Calvin & Hobbes. As I got older and read them, something strange happened… I started seeing Calvin & Hobbes in more than one dimension.
I could understand the subtle messages of the strips, which made them even better and made me appreciate the strip even more than before.
Besides the genius of the writing and the art, Watterson is the perfect example of someone who accomplished what a lot of writers bemoan as impossible: a balance between the commercial and the artistic.
In the summer of 2010, when I started my first job, I listened to about six hours of Pandora a day. The ads were an annoyance, but I sat through them because I loved the songs that Pandora found for me.
I knew that there was such a thing as “Pandora One,” but, like most millennials, I scorned the idea of paying for something I knew I could get for free.
Yet Pandora persisted. Hours and hours a day, it brought me amazing bands I never would have otherwise heard.
A few months in, I took the $32-a-month plunge. And I’ve never looked back.
Why did I buy something that was so optional? More importantly, how can any creative person ever hope to get compensated in the age of the optional purchase?
Since around October, I’ve been talking a lot about the future of books and the future of eBooks.
I’ve made a guide about how writers should blog in a way that gets people to read your stuff.
I’ve also talked about how building a platform and an audience is crucial to getting anyone to actually buy your eBook in the first place.
It’s time to put my hypothesis to the test.
I’ve talked about how bad writers can be at Facebook before. It’s pretty obvious if you just take a look around.
There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but in general it seems that us writerly folks tend to not like social media that much, particularly the insta-smile networks of Facebook, Twitter, and their even more photo-oriented ilk.
The reason is simple:
Facebook has been something of a Rubik’s Cube for authors. Even if you take a look at some of the most famous authors’ Facebook Pages, you can tell that the teams pulling the strings have a pretty poor understanding of how it all works.
In my quest for authors who use Facebook effectively, I first came across the Facebook Page of E.L James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, and talked about why that Facebook Page worked.
But now, I’ve finally found Inglath Cooper, who has over 18,000 Likes and a really active fan engagement.
What’s her secret?
The other day, I got in an argument with my friend over a recent article about what a few start-ups were doing to nonfiction books.
Well, “argument” is being generous. More like four exhaustive Facebook posts written by two tired people who have the same opinion about things, but disagree to pass the time.
Anyway, my friend’s position was simple: the innovations by the start-ups were bad for literature, bad for readers, and, really… just bad.
My position was that the innovations were good. Because technology is good for books. I think it could usher in a Golden Age of Creativity if everyone stops crying about it.
Here’s what the start-ups were trying to do:
Jane Friedman thinks that self-published eBooks are going to have depend on a “readership that consumes books like candy.”
The idea is that you should write a lot of stuff. Publish it. Then, you repeat until you make a profit.
Essentially, this means the books themselves will be like candy. Sweet, short-lived, instantly gratifying… and maybe a little unhealthy for literature.
Here’s what Friedman, an editor at The Virginia Quarterly Review, says the basic model for these sugary eBooks is:
When I set out to grade five author Facebook Pages, I wasn’t quite sure what I would find.
Mostly, I expected a vast treasure trove of disappointment. Mostly, I wasn’t disappointed in discovering that disappointment.
Until I took a look at the Facebook Page of E.L. James, author of 50 Shades of Grey.
Now, I’m not really convinced that Facebook is a useful tool for a self-promoting author who hasn’t published anything. After all, you can’t market hype about something no one has ever heard of before.
But once your book does come out, there are ways you can create an interesting, exciting Facebook Page for it.
Let’s take a look at how the 50 Shades of Grey team does it: