I read a lot of books. I buy a lot of books. I am a bit of a techie and I know how to get almost all of the books I buy for free. It doesn’t take much to figure that out.
Like many eBook aficionados, I have been following the DOJ vs Big Publishers and Apple lawsuit in the states. Although I’m in Canada, I know that what happens in the US in this matter will have implications here. I’d like to say I know who is right and who is wrong, or what decision will benefit readers the most, but I don’t.
I have no reason to believe anyone is listening to me, but I’ll have a few minutes of feeling less impotent if I type out my perspective. As you read this, keep in mind that I am a 60 year old woman living in a place that many folks would see as a backwater. I’m a life-long reader and have had a monthly book budget for all of my adult life.
I want authors to get paid for the work they do. I want publishers, both big and small, to keep on publishing books I want to read. I know publishers have to make money to do that. I want strong on-line book sellers that are making their coin with enough left over to improve the on-line experience buying books. I would like all of this to happen in an environment that doesn’t stifle innovation or further erode the opportunity for indie stores, both on–line and bricks and mortar, to stay in business.
I want my local library to offer a good selection of eBooks to me. Back when I was reading pBooks, I didn’t expect the local library to have everything I wanted to read, and I knew I would have to wait if I wanted a popular book. I am fine with that as part of the eBook borrowing scheme. In most communities library budgets aren’t great, so no matter what publishers decide to make available, or what form factor they do that in, there will always be people buying books that their library does not own or for which there are big waiting lists.
Before eBooks came on the scene, I often bought books because I did not want to wait for the library to come through for me, so I am fine with the eBook experience being similarly limiting. Publishers, you have my permission to hold back (AKA Window) to libraries as long as the book is made available within six months or so. If I want it sooner, I will buy it. I believe that the library is a community’s purveyor of culture and a great equalizer. It is important that people who are poor, housebound, or unable to deal with the print size or weight in pBooks have an electronic alternative.
There are things that absolutely matter to me and influence my decision to buy books. Publishers need to pay attention to this kind of thing. I am not the only person out there that wants to do what’s right and buy books from you.
- I don’t want to pay more for an eBook than its paperbook price. If this is happening because you have rotten deals in place for “regular” books, then fix that. I should not be made to pay for your inefficiency and bad business decisions.
- Pay attention to eBook conversion. There is no excuse for selling me a book that is full of errors because no one actually proof read the electronic version.
- Make sure I get a cover. Negotiate those rights with the artists that produce them or create a cover that isn’t just another green rectangle with the name of the book pasted onto it.
- I should be able to use whatever I buy on any device I own. This means coming up with an alternative to DRM as we currently know it. Pottermore uses watermarks, but there might be other alternatives. Figure it out.
Keep me happy. I buy books.