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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ebooks level the playing field for Authors

Mass market paperbacks are dying. This is due in large part to ebooks taking away the normal paperback buyer in airports, drugstores and those large racks that used to sit in front of department stores and every convenience store. My second novel came out in mass market and should have been trade. Tobacco Sticks went out the there as a literary courtroom drama set in the South in Virginia in 1946 and had to fight it out with spy novels, thrillers, slasher novels, mysteries and just about every mass genre out there. I had no choice in the matter and the publisher later admitted that trade would have been a better fit for the novel.

The beautiful thing about Ebooks is that the author is in control.  There is only one format and that levels the playing field. No longer is an author competing with hard covers, trade, or mass paperback. No longer is the author stuck in a format that doesn't fit because of publishing realities. The book goes out there as an Ebook and it is on the same footing as every other author. Bestseller or unknown, the reader will receive the same product without the stigma of mass versus trade versus hardcover.

And the book can stay out there. No publisher will remainder your title falling into the dreaded OUT OF PRINT STATUS. You book will not be pushed to the back of the store or worse not displayed at all. One copy will not be stocked while five hundred copies are stocked of other titles. Books will not be sent back to the publisher because they didn't sell out in the first month. The ebook revolution has put the author in the drivers seat finally.

So mass market paperbacks will disappear. Eventually hardcover will  probably go away. The big authors will dominate the ebook sites and will be pushed out there first, but the reader can search for the author he wants and there the book will be for all time in  electronic mass, trade, and hardcover glory. The authors best effort will be there without publisher interference. Can an author ask for anything more?

Books by William Hazelgrove