Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The best thing about e-publishing

We are, I am told, entering a new era of reading. Books will soon be gone, replaced forever with the Kindle (/ipad/whatever). I'm not entirely sure books will be gone forever, there are many instances when a paper copy is the best format, but this post isn't really about that.

It's about this...

For the past...quite a long time (years) I've been trying to get hold of a copy of A Stitch in Time by Andrew Robinson. Yes, it's a Star Trek book. Get over it. I've wanted to read this ever since it was first published since a) Andrew Robinson played Garak in Star Trek (and is whom the book is about) and b) it's supposed to be quite good.

For reasons unknown, I didn't bother reaching into my pocket and exchanging my hard-earned money for a copy when it was first released. I can only figure it was because I wanted to wait until it was out of print to try and get it because I like to make my life as difficult as possible.

The key phrase in that last paragraph was 'out of print'. Obviously the market for Star Trek novels isn't eternal and eventually sales fall to the point where it isn't worth the publisher printing more copies on the off-chance some idiot waited ages to try and buy it.

As I found out, when something goes out of print two things can happen:

  1. The book becomes practically worthless and you can pick up the book for nothing on ebay(/wherever)
  2. The book rockets in price.

A Stitch in Time didn't exactly rocket, but it was a bit of a pain to get hold of and it was a little pricey. Which was annoying because, you know, it's a Trek novel and I didn't want to pay very much.

Then it struck me: with e-publishing there's no reason for any book to go out of print ever again.

I could read any book ever written, if I so desired.  All that's needed is that a very small file is kept on record somewhere and then everyone would be able to easily get hold of it, whenever they desired, forever.

Forget about space-saving, or any of those other reasons thrown about. This, I think, is the very best reason for e-publishing to prosper.

For those interested, A Stitch in Time is actually available for Kindle.

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