First of all, I’m interviewed by singer/songwriter and novelist Marie Symeou on her blog today. Come on over and say hello.
The Guardian is being stupid on e-books – again – at least as evidenced by this article by Antonia Senior about how the rise of e-books encourages readers to read “downmarket genre fiction” (her words, not mine) rather than more wholesome literary and classic fare. I really don’t know under which rock Ms. Senior has been living all her life, but genre fiction has always sold well, regardless of format. If anything, the availability of free or low cost public domain classics in e-book form has induced more people to read them.
What is more, Antonia Senior is also classy enough to single out thriller author Traci Hohenstein as the example for all that’s bad about e-books. Not that she has actually read the book, of course. No, Ms. Hohenstein just happened to occupy a top spot on an Amazon bestseller list when Antonia Senior was writing her article. I hope Traci Hohenstein gets lots of additional sales out of this.
The comments are painful as well. Plenty of people show up to tell Ms. Senior that she is wrong, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, roughly fifty percent of them seem to be science fiction fans outraged that such “intelligent and gifted writers” like Iain Banks, Philip K. Dick or Alistair Reynolds are lumped in with “books about emo-vampires and Mills and Boon romances”. Yes, that’s a science fiction community, always defending themselves by putting down other genres. Besides, I wonder if those commenters have ever read Dick. Great ideas, but stylistically he’s often at the lower end of the pulp spectrum. And I’d rather the weight of an Alistair Reynolds doorstopper in Mills and Boon novels than struggle through one of his tomes again.
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has a terrific rebuttal to the Guardian article and the sheer condescension that drips from its lines. Also note how the post and the comment thread manage to get by without trashing other genres. Honestly, the SFF community could learn a lot from the romance community.
While the Guardian is being stupid (Really, what is it with The Guardian and e-books lately?), the neverending discussions on pricing and KDP Select are still going on as well, as evidenced by the following links:
Phoenix Sullivan describes her experience with KDP Select and explains why she believes that Select members are given an advantage by Amazon’s algorithms. I’m still not convinced, but I always find the perspectives of those who have done well with KDP Select interesting.