Dixie Darr

The Case for Kindle, Part II

In Books, Lent - Season of Change on April 1, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Lent – Season of Change, Day 28

We often hear about the book vs. Kindle arguments, and Amazon clearly made ebooks a viable option, although they were not the first company to produce ereaders. What may be the bigger story, however, is that Amazon Kindle completely disrupted the publishing industry.

Prior to Kindle, writers had very few options for publishing their book. Traditional publishing required writers to first convince an agent to take their book to the publisher and negotiate contract terms. Most writers found it difficult to impossible to get past these gatekeepers.

In self publishing, writers needed to pay for editing, design, and printing themselves and then find a way to distribute the book through bookstores and other outlets, most of which dealt exclusively with the big publishers.

Vanity publishing took over the production tasks at the writer’s expense, but left the distribution to the writer.

These alternatives were all time-consuming and expensive.

Amazon is probably guilty of multiple negatives, but give them credit for spawning or at least greatly expanding a whole new industry of indie publishing.

Kindle has made publishing fast, easy and cheap for independent writers and other experts. It makes it possible for thousands of freelancers and small business owners to earn a living or add a profit center in publishing.

The industry also supports independent cover artists, self-employed book designers, freelance editors and marketing consultants. By rejecting Kindle, you are also rejecting these small businesses.

Until very recently, many people tended to look down their noses at the new wide-open industry. These books were thought to be of lower quality than books from the traditional publishers. That perception is changing as writers/publishers become more skilled and sophisticated in their production.

Not only can you find new authors that only publish on Kindle, but these books encompass a wide variety of lengths. No longer do all books have be contain at least 300 pages. They also do not have to fit neatly into established categories. If you’re looking for something off the beaten track, chances are pretty good you can find it on Kindle. Some authors and books, including a few of my favorites, are available only on Kindle.

Kindle pays much higher percentage of royalties to authors, gives them exposure to millions of potential customers, and Kindle books offer the most up-to-date information because publishing is so fast. Traditional publishing takes a year or longer to publish, which makes some books out of date by the time they are published.

Traditional books are not going to disappear, at least in the near future. Just as DVDs didn’t eliminate movies and MP3s didn’t destroy the recording industry, these innovations have changed those businesses at a very fundamental level. Ignore Kindle if you like, but it isn’t going away.

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