When you buy a book in a bookstore, what do you look for? Is it the cover that attracts you? The fiery description on the back? The author’s profile picture? With ebooks, consumers can’t take it off the shelf and feel its texture, skim through the pages, or get a sense of the thickness and how long it will take to read. They must rely on the ‘look inside’ feature, good unbiased reviews, a blurb that excites and entices, and the promise of a captivating story to make their decision.
Ebooks are forever. Think about this sentence for a moment. You write a novel, get it formatted, design a nice cover, obtain an ISBN, and then download it onto Kindle, or Smashwords, or any of the hundreds of ebook distributors, and it’s available globally to anyone with an ereader. Not only that, it will be available until the end of time. Fifty years from now I’ll be able to show my great grandchildren my books; they’ll type in the title or my name and poof, there they will be. Talk about immortalizing yourself for all eternity. Isn’t that what art is all about?
I am very lucky to be living in an age where I can imprint myself onto the world and be remembered forever through my books. I do feel for all the paperback writers throughout the last decades whose hard work and effort only got them a six-week shelf life for their masterpiece to hit it and if it didn’t it would disappear forever, going out of print and into the paper shredder.
With ebooks I may still be getting royalties when I’m a hundred. I can write and publish what I want and let the worldwide public decide if the book is good or deserving of the litter box. All without worry that the story is being evaluated for the amount of profit it might generate rather than the mind-blowing experience of the story, as is the case with how the big publishing houses (those that still remain) do business.
My novels won’t sit stacked on some shelf in the back of a dusty old bookstore (if bookstores exist in the future), they will always be fresh and ready for download, ready to draw new readers into noir, eccentric, and illusionary worlds. It’s an incredibly comforting thought knowing my stories will be around forever like the mythology of ancient Greece or fables and folklore of olden times. Ebooks will define me as a novelist until the end of humanity. I can live peacefully knowing my legacy.