Since the year 2000, Japanese ebook sales have reached ten billion yen. Reported sales in the U.S. from fifteen e-publishers total some $14 million for the first three quarters of this year, which doesn’t include library and discounted sales that may double the number.
I served as a judge for the recently held 2009 Eppie Awards competition, the "Oscars" of ebook publishing, and was amazed at the quality of writing. Some of the books I judged were from the British Isles and I will definitely look for additional work by those authors as well as our own domestic writers.
I signed with a small publisher for my last two books, and both have come out in print as well as ebook editions. I now have more control over the final product and there’s never a long wait between acceptance and publication. Now that promoting your book online has become so much easier than road touring, in less than a week of publication, my mystery novel, A Village Shattered, reached the number one spot in sales at the Fictionwise-ePress site. It’s a good feeling to know that your book can reach bestseller status in a worldwide market from a small publisher.
I’ve heard disparaging remarks on a couple of forums about “writers of that ilk,” meaning published in ebook form. I seriously doubt the writers who made the remarks have read ebooks lately. In my opinion, they’re first rate from most publishers. I’ve been writing professionally for forty years and have learned something about quality.
I’m also a bibliophile. I love books and have thousands of them in bookcases in every room in my house. In fact, we’ve run out of space. It’s gotten to the point where we’ll either have to build on another room to serve as a library, or make the transition to ebooks. I bought my husband and myself ebook readers for Christmas. My husband loves to read in bed and the reader is backlighted so he can read in the dark while I sleep. Most of the readers can store from 60 to 120 books in their small cases so they’re perfect for airline flights or long trips by car.
This year new marketing models have been developed to standardize ebook readers, and because they’ve achieved global distribution, and electronics manufactures are producing more e-readers for general consumption, the market is increasing dramatically. Amazon.com has its Kindle model, endorsed recently by Whoopi Goldberg on “The View.” She takes the Kindle with her wherever she travels, and loves the fact that over a hundred books are available in her palm-sized reader. There are a number of other e-readers just as capable of satisfying their owners, and hopefully will all soon be standardized so that every multi format book can be read on each one.