As a newbie author, I’ve been watching the publishing industry for a while. I’m a fan of the publishing industry as I’m somewhat of a nerd and love love love books. They were my saving grace as an unhappy teenager and as an adult, they are the saving grace from keeping my ass from expanding to ginormous (I do most of my reading on my elliptical, ICYWW).
We’ve established that. I’m also a realist and recognize that publishing is going through some challenges in growing and facing the demands of an increasingly digital world. I’ll be the first one to admit that I do the bulk of my reading on my ipad now, something I vehemently resisted for a while. But sadly, if I want to read, it’s going to be on a device that I always have with me: my ipad or my phone.
That said, I still buy physical books for my keeper shelf. I like nothing more than flipping through a book for a particularly poignant scene or tagging a page for notes to come back to later.
So, in acknowledging that I want both physical books AND digital books, here’s a few things I want to see.
I want an open source ebook reader app that will let me read from BN, Kindle or iBooks or PDF that will SYNC my books like the Kindle and Nook apps do. I like being able to go between my ipad and my phone to keep reading when I’m standing in line or otherwise find myself with a few minutes. I dislike being locked into a single ecosystem which all three of the major players in the ebook market do. Calibre is very close to having the ability to manage all of my ebooks. Give me the ability to sync it, either using iCloud or Google or something and I’ll be a happy girl.
I want a Kids Tablet of some kind. The Nook Kids app is a great app. It’s full color and it’s BOOKS. Not games. Not read out loud movie versions. It’s books. I want a Nook tablet for kids that is for books. I love my ipad for my kids but hell, it’s a little expensive for them to be lugging around. I don’t, however, want a toy like the kids tablets that were the big thing at Christmas last year. The games suck, the ability to transfer files to the damn things requires a PhD and we won’t even start on the battery life issues. A ruggedized Nook for Kids or larger iPod, again ruggedized, would be great for getting the kids some portable books and learning apps that aren’t over priced and dumbed down.
I want print on demand from the Big 6 publishers. I love love love that I’m published in a digital imprint and I’m also a realist in that it makes sense to publish digitally these days. The ability to sell through in print is challenging for solidly established authors, let alone an unknown debut like me. So no, I don’t necessarily want my publisher or any publisher to stay locked into a publishing model that is going to keep losing money if the authors don’t sell enough physical books. But I’m also aware that there is a digital divide and some people either cannot afford an ereader, don’t have the internet connectivity in order to effectively use an ereader or simply won’t use one. I don’t know if that’s 60 people or 600 people and I’m not asking any publisher to guess. But I would love, love, love to see a print on demand option that is seamless to the buyer which makes the book available in print.
I want bundling. I buy a lot of books that are both digital and print. Nonfiction gets bought in my house in hard cover and digital. Fiction on my keeper shelf gets bought digital and print (don’t tell my spouse). I want bundling that saves a little bit of money. I’m not asking for buy one get one free. But a little off the top would be nice.
The last thing I want is probably something only I want but it’s a big one for me because well, I’m anal that way. You know how you can take tabs and run them down the side of a book and label it? Yeah, I want a pdf reader that can do that. I want to be able to see my tabs on the side of the page on my ipad. Maybe it’s my OCD but the app that lets me to that has an automatic client in moi.
So those are things I want. Greedy? Maybe. Self centered? Maybe a little of that, too. But these are things that I’d be willing to be other people want, too. And the company that delivers any of these fills a capability gap that is currently out there.
Let’s see if anyone is listening.