The topic this week is about books and ebooks in the next five years. Now, I don't own a Kindle or any similar device. I spend so much time on the computer as it is, I'd hate to have to sit at one (or something similar) to read a book. I love the smell of a real book! The paper, the ink, all have a distinct smell that no computer could ever capture.
However, ebooks are becoming more and more the norm. Yes, it does have its advantages. Less paper is used, so less trees are cut down. Less paper waste, etc. Also, having a Kindle or such thing can be great! Hundred of books at my fingertips where ever I am? Glorious!
With that in mind, I do think that the future holds a continuous rise in the popularity of ebooks and epublishing. I agree with Jenn though. I don't think regular books will ever be fully out of style, but more of a partner with ebooks.
Many companies nowadays offer both styles, usually with the ebook coming out first and the print copy out a few months later. This is great for authors as I noticed the turn around time from acceptance to release date is much faster. It's easier to format an ebook for download than to print a few hundred paper copies of a book. So, while the ebook is out there gathering fans, the publishers are working on the paper copies. I think it's a great system that works well for all involved - authors, publishers, and readers.
Now, the down side right now for ebooks, are those "fake" epublishers. You know, the ones that say you're published, but you're really not. These companies give epublishing a bad name! They have no standards of publication (as in no requirements or real query process) nor do they offer any sound royalty returns or official contract. Others are more difficult to spot as they have all the pieces in place but when the author doesn't get their royalty check, they realize it's too late. Now, this could apply to some print publishing companies also, but I don't hear of it too often.
I suppose that there is to be corruption anywhere, as that is the way of the world. So, for the ending part of my post here, I want to warn all authors to make sure you do your research into a publishing company and agents. There are a lot of scammers out there so gather all the information you can BEFORE submitting your work. Read over any contracts - with a lawyer - before signing (with ANY company). In this great world of technology, it's even more important to make sure you keep yourself - and your work - safe.
There is a great site out there - Preditors and Editors. They have a great list of agents and publishers, along with reviews and notices about which ones to avoid. Every writer of any type, should check this list often.
Ebooks and print books are around to stay for years to come, I'm sure. While I prefer print books, I can definitely see the good points to ebooks. They are sure to flourish and become more popular as time goes along. And who knows - maybe in a year or two, I'll own a Kindle too!