Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Here's to Ebooks

Traditional publishing is languishing; but you probably know that. Borders is closing stores, B&N begs me to buy their stuff, more and more writers now publish with small independent presses, or issue DIY books. More than issuing, they celebrate their freedom to design, print, and distribute their own work, and in the process profit far beyond the traditionally amoebic and anemic royalties. Me too. My next book will be independently published, albeit in print form, not yet an e-book. But that will come. Here's why.

At the May meeting of Colorado Independent Publishers Assoc. (CIPA to its friends and family), the director of library services for Douglas (no relation) County, CO, Jamie LaRue, announced an important change in the way libraries handle e-books. Jamie's library will begin buying, FROM THE AUTHOR, e-books. Until now, the library was, in effect, renting e-books from a middle man. Given the level of technology, the borrowing of e-books will work: one borrower gets the book at a time for a limited use. Software protections will insure that the book cannot be transferred to a device other than the one checking it out. The books will be cataloged and can be signed out by using an interactive hand-held device, like an e-reader. If the book proves wildly popular, the library will buy additional copies FROM THE AUTHOR. If no one checks it out, after a time certain it will be removed from the catalog.

This makes me want to dance! The artist is back in control of her art (I almost wrote heart and that's true too.) It made the whole meeting room happy. We had cake and champagne. We toasted the arrangement that will link selected CIPA members to the library. They will be the first responders in this firestorm of free press. As Jerry LaRue said, millions of books are now blocked from public view because they lack a formal distribution process without the cumbersome system used by traditional publishers. Let freedom reign! Huzzah!

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