GUEST – Alan “tonto” Williams

E-books – Rise of the Author or Decline of the Bookshop?

Thanks to Ben for the invitation to come and guest post on his blog, it’s great to be here!

So, like me you’ve got a kindle or some other kind of e-reader. Great isn’t it? I think so I’ve read more since I’ve had it and it enables me to carry many “books” rather than one or perhaps two. This suits my reading style, because sometimes I want a change of pace during the day with my book reading, and my kindle means I can cover all eventualities. But now it means I buy less books from bookshops, I still go in and browse but I don’t buy so much, I now only buy from stores if the books are not available on kindle and then if I’m online shopping in the kindle store and a book I want to read isn’t there I might buy a hard copy online anyway rather than on the high street.

Now what about unintended consequences? I’m one e-reader owner amongst many. There have already been reports of kindle book sales exceeding paperback sales for the first time, so what if all e-reader owners are no longer buying books from the high street stores. What impact is that having on those bookstores?

It’s not my intention to drive a bookstore out of business by my shopping habits. I love bookshops, but if I still want to visit them, they need to remain viable as a business.

This year I’ve also “discovered” many new authors, it’s how I’ve found my way here for example. In terms of degrees of separation, we go: Twitter, Amazon kindle sale, Twitter, Twitter, and Guest Post! (Or at least something like that).  

Of all of my new discoveries I would say that at least three-quarters, if not more, are independent authors, those who are writing and publishing themselves via the various e-book formats.  Now I can hear some of the comments about self-published authors, being those authors who can’t get a book deal with a regular publisher, and therefore their books are crap and not worth reading, and I suspect that there are some out there that are like that, but I have to say that isn’t my experience over the last few months.  In fact some of the best books I’ve read this year have been those written by self-published, independent authors.  (I’ll be covering some of that on my own blog during December, and invite you to stop by).

The question I have though is how to make a link between regular bookshops, e-books and the rise of the independent author.  I don’t have an answer on this, only questions, but I’m working on it!

Alan “tonto” Williams is a writer, environmentalist, naturalist, allotment holder, blogger, vlogger, and dog owner; oh and a reader of books reader, obviously…

    Thanks, Alan.  
    The rising popularity of ebooks has been incredible. I’m more than thankful for this avenue that has let me put my books in front of people. But, if bookstores went away, I’d have no place to hang out. This may lead to me wandering the streets, becoming mixed up with unsavoury characters and, quite possibly, graffiting something.
    Publishing is entering its most dynamic shift in decades/centuries/existence and booksellers are caught in the middle. I don’t know what the answer is, but I may buy an extra calendar or moleskine just to do my part. There has to be a way to bring digital books and bricks and mortar closer together. Nothing beats strolling the aisles and browsing the shelves.
    If anyone has any ideas on how to bring bookstores and ebooks closer together please leave them in the comments so I can take credit for them.
    Thanks for the post, Alan. You make a really good and really scary point. And bonus points to you for including a picture of your kindle with my book on it. Everyone follow, befriend and visit Alan at his various places on the web.

He’s on Twitter: @tontowilliams
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/tontowilliams
And his Blog is http://tontowilliams.posterous.com

2 comments

  1. Thanks for the chance to guest post on your blog Ben, it’s great to be hear. I too would be interested to hear if anyone has any ideas as to how to keep ebooks and bookstores going side-by-side.

  2. Thanks Alan.

    The only thing I can think of right now is to make the bookstore a place to browse and then download ebooks. Perhaps the store would get a cut of the download, like and affiliate marketer.

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