been in the news for days. It's been the news
for days. Stephen King's first foray into e-books
was a mega success. 400,000 books sold in the first
24 hours. And the publishing industry is a buzz.
what is the meaning of this? Will print be replaces
by the new electronic book? Or is it just proof
that King's 1.3 million readers will buy his work
in whatever format it's presented?
I think that the Internet and various computer applications
for stories have great promise, I don't think anything
will replace the printed word and the bound book,''
King said in a statement.
most industry pundits think otherwise.
new theory is that "throw away books" AKA paperback
books --the genre titles that few people keep will
be replaced by e-books. And for good reason. Electronic
format books are easier to store, use no paper,
and can be produced more economically without any
warehousing or returns--which are the biggest problems
in the book industry.
there's also something going on among the e-author
community--over 1000 authors--who have been trying
to get some notice for their titles for the last
two years. Most are thankful that a big name finally
stepped in and legitimized the format--educating
the general population that e-books are a valid
form. But there are also dozens of angry e-authors
claiming that they laid the foundation for this
breakthrough and none of them are getting any of
fact is the media didn't take e-books to heart until
King scared them into it. But so what else is new?
Until King's little novella burst on the scene no
e-author had sold anywhere near that number.
In fact, total sales for all combined fiction e-book
titles have not reached King's supernatural 400,000.
not much of a surprise that there is griping among
the troops. This group of enterprising, entrepreneurial
e-authors have suffered the slings and arrows of
the publishing community and the general public
but have refused to give up. They've been told their
"e-books are not books." They've been asked when
they are going to write a "real book"? They've been
refused reviews by almost every major review publication
except for Publisher's Weekly, which began running
e-book reviews in 1999.
the truth is, the barrier has been broken and the
general public is now educated and the time is perfect
for e-authors and e-publishers to jump on King's
coattails and ride the wave.
many readers don't know what e-books are now? How
many online bookstores will refuse to carry e-books
now? What local paper won't do an article on the
man or woman who is doing what King is doing in
its very own town? And what writer should be ashamed
to only be published in e-format, when the King
is now published in that format also?
the Bullet may have been a test for Simon & Schuster
to see whether the public was ready to embrace the
e-book format. It may have been a marketing ploy
to sell a 66-page novella that otherwise would not
have been printed. It might have been a lot of things.
But does any of that matter?
bit the bullet and bought the e-book and jump-started
a form and an industry. So what if the industry
is almost three years old? So what if others laid
the foundation for this giant step?
isn't the time for sour grapes. It’s time for e-authors
and e-publishers to turn those grapes into champagne
and toast the new era.
Rose has been called the Poster Girl of e-publishing
by Time Magazine. In March 1999, her novel Lip Service
was the first e-book discovered online. (Trade Paperback,
Pocket Books July 2000) Her other titles include:
Private Places--an e-novella only available at Mightywords.com
(April 2000) and How to publish and promote on line
with over 500 links, written by M.J. Rose and Angela
Adair-Hoy (St. Martin's Press. Jan, 2001). Rose
also covers the e-book industry for Wirednews.com.
She is currently working on her second full-length
novel for Pocket Books.