I was given a Kindle as a Christmas present in 2011 and despite my initial reservations I’ve found it brilliant. I’m a huge fan of online publishing.
Sometimes though, a book is better: I’m reading Antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and I’d love to make notes in the margin, or turn over the corner of some pages to remind myself of where the juicy quotes are. But I can’t.
Overall though, the print industry is going the way of CDs and DVDs – toward extinction – and it’ll be interesting to see how this affects the output. For example, most big rock bands make their money from touring now, where they used to make it from record sales.
I wonder where the money will be made from publishing.
The other thing is to observe the erosion of the power of literary agents, literary reviewers, publishers and the like. On the one hand it has to be a good thing, taking away the gate-keys from a small clique of media types, but on the other it means that the overall quality control of novels published online is likely to be lower.
And feel free to argue that my work is an example of those lowered standards.
Anyone can publish, there are no copy-editors to check the grammar, spelling and coherence of your work, no editors to say “are you sure about this?” Also, there are no publicists to get you interviews in the Guardian or Good Morning, both of which I did when I wrote my non-fiction stuff (under a pen-name).
For me, I’m glad to be free of the shackles of print/publishing and everything that goes with it. I’ve had two agents, and neither was good for me. One agent took six years to get me nothing, the other took six days to get me a contract. For books I didn’t want to write.
Online I don’t get paid as much, but I have a day job that pays the rent and frees me up from the curse of attempting to write for profit. Instead, I get to write exactly what I want, and I get a much bigger readership.
Which is good.