Paper or digital? The question has become the new “You want fries with that?”
Banking, catalogs, virus and spam are all moving increasingly into the digital realm. Of course books are too. But whether you read paperbacks or eBooks, one important question remains the same. What makes you read the books you read?
For a tricky follow-up question the Green Porch would like to ask if the answer to the first question remains the same whether you prefer paper books or electronic ones.
Since the first stories shared around the fire pit (with a hearty mastodon roasting on the spit) word of mouth has hands down been the primary means of selection. “Ooh, ooh! I heard Uglplah tell good hunt story!” This remains true today. When choosing what book to read we almost always refer to friends and family, or at the very least to Amazon reviews.
But is that the case with eBooks? Will it remain so?
I have to think personal recommendation and word of mouth are still the predominate forces in dictating which eBooks consumers buy and read. (With so many cheap and free options, buying and reading are two different things. Often it takes a few extra recommends even after downloading a freebie before it moves up the slush pile to be read). But will this change? What qualifies as a personal recommend?
I’ve recently begun following Pixel of Ink for the low-down on digital freebies. The site doesn’t review or even filter content, just posts stuff that is currently free. I use their service as the first gate to finding content (I don’t always read every book I download).
Now more and more sights like Bublish.com are staring to make waves. Bublish intends to connect readers and writers. (A common effort amongst the rising tide of digital content flooding the scene). Their schtick is to encourage authors to “Bublish” (verb) bubbles of content from their books via social media. It’s in Beta now, and you can click here to see a bubble. (I’ve got one in there somewhere.)
What are your thoughts? Does something like this seem likely to influence you to purchase and read a book? Why or why not?
10 thoughts on “Why do You Read a Book? Will Bublish Help?”
I’ll tell you where the future of publishing is! I go to a website where a bunch of aspiring authors are sitting around looking for something to do, and I tell them I want a story about “X” and they write it for me!
Now that would get me excited and ensure that I would read it as I’ve put some money down on it and am anxiously awaiting my custom-made story!
hmmm. Interesting idea, Seth. Would there have to be a certain number of people voting up a certain idea to make it appealing enough for a certain author to bite? I could see myself writing a novel for 3,000 people, but not 30.
A story catered to an individual?? Sorry Seth, but are we talking short stories or novels? That’s an absolutely ridiculous concept. What are you willing to pay for an artist’s time, effort and creative energy, for a story designed to appeal to just you? The building blocks of a solid story are more than just sound writing skills, character development and dialogue — it takes hours and hours of research. Your method would reduce that skillset to that of a person who writes for EHOW.com. And what if said author finishes your project, as per your directions, and you don’t like it? What is it, back to the ole’ drawing board? Sorry, but unless you are a publishing house executive, an agent, Hollywood producer, a member of a royal institution or some private sector bigwig with money to burn, your dangling carrot is going to have masses of crippled and unqualified mules (writers who are unable to understand the nuance of details or develop a strong narrative) chasing after it.
I’ve said this plenty of times, and I’ll say it again. In regards to creative respectability, a writer’s skill set and imagination are often taken for granted. This is because so many people who cannot write a sound paragraph, let alone a 300 page profound narrative, think they are, not just capable, but exceptionable authors. This is the main cause for the negative backlash Indie authors receive. Think about it Dave: Indie filmmakers, or painters are often touted as bold and iconoclastic, Indie authors are stereotyped as mainstream publishing failures and as Vanity press aficionados.
In my opinion, the key to success is still just hard work. Use every tool, every gimmick, and every vehicle for expression at your disposal. Network with people of decent quality—not just of character but also of skill—who are also stuck in the bog of irrelevancy with you. That way, if one of you claws his way out of the mire, the other can offer helping hand. It’s a sound investment. Sharing the same trials brings people closer together; and people of character always remember a good turn.
Alan Moore once said that a writer’s job is not to write what people want, but what they need. I tend to agree with him. Maintaining one’s own voice is an important part of maturing as a powerful storyteller. Write, write and then write some more… the people who get your musings, who connect with you will eventually come forth and offer their appreciation. If they don’t… well then at least you tried to make an impact on the world and your way of life.
Keep on trucking and hopefully with luck all that hard work will yield just desserts.
What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.
-C. S. Lewis
Joseph, I like the idea of writing what people need rather than want. But can both be done at the same time? Just a thought. If you could write a book that engaged your creative best, challenging you to leave it all on the page so to speak, and also have 5,000 people waiting for it, people who have made a “cross-my-heart” sort of statement that they will give it a 3 buck gander…
I don’t think I would be apposed to such a concept (if it could be done). Otherwise, I’m in it for all the hard work and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon! I gotta make sure I give you an awesomely worth (and deserved) review on your collection of shorts, in case you manage to claw your way out soon. I think I just have a couple left. So far I loved the little bit on the sneakers and the ranting voice of the first story was a joy to read. ANywho…
You still out there, Seth?
First off, I’d like to apologize if may previous post made me seem like an angst ridden, embittered douche straight out of the pages of Dostoyevsky’s, “Notes From the Underground.”
With that said, yes Dave writing for a large group would make all the difference. But see, you kind of set yourself in a publishing loop. In order for 5000 fans to choose you to write a specific kind of story for them, you would already need to be established, at least with a modicum of success to have that many fans. Otherwise, what’s to differentiate you from the next guy? Look at Wattpad, you are a much better writer than any of the top reads on that site… the audience on there is mostly lovelorn teens who either want to write like Stephanie Meyer or find an Emo-wardrobe to whisk them away to a place where vampires are hot teen idols and not horrific monsters of legend. If you and I where smart, we would flex are writing muscles and cater to their horrifically trite musings.
Ride the Moebius strip and we are back to square one…. which means, you still have to rely on every gimmick at your disposal to build such a fan base….
The way you and I write, even at our most successful, will never afford us the fan base of a Hunger Games, Twilight or that terribly written Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s like comparing Yo-Yo Ma to Britney Spears. Still, if we persevere, we may find a niche that allows us the economic stability and freedom to just live a modest, decent life. That to me is true success. You strike me as that kind of person too…
Oh, Joseph, I am that kind of person too. A little niche of faithful fans would be great by me. If I can afford to put wine on the table, then I’m good. And don’t worry about sounding douche-y around here. I already have that covered!
Boy, you writer types sure take yourselves awfully seriously. And clearly don’t imbibe enough in drink either (other than your own kool-aid or course). 😉
Honestly, I have no idea what I meant. I made up the idea on the spot. I just read your post and thought, “this wouldn’t mean anything to me–although bubbles are cool”.
But I was listening to an NPR story on the US Government’s (once) secret operation Olympic Games. And I was like, “I want Dave to write about this. This is awesome!”
Throw in a venti latte and you have my idea.
Imagine a Kickstarter-type site where readers and writers come together and submit ideas for stories. You know, just a sentence or two.
If it looks interesting enough to a particular producer they can claim it and then propose a synopsis. Consumers who like the idea can essentially vote for it by buying it (although, like kickstarter, they don’t actually pay until the end).
The producer then goes about writing it giving updates to his micro benefactors, hyping them up to become the producers own little marketing machine. And once done, the book is released to these consumers to read.
After a set period of time the author then releases it to the world.
I’m going to be rich.
I’ll send you two a postcard from the beach.
I could see something like this actually working. Joseph certainly makes a point about fans, but I think what I am hearing from Seth is that people wouldn’t be requesting a story from “me.” They would simiply be requesting/voting for a certain story concept. Then any author could come along and try it.
What I see as critical would be reader approval of the final product. There would have to be a higher level of committment for some of the voters/supporters who would be willing to BETA and approve or disapprove of any story claiming to satisfy the readers desires. If the BETA readers cleared a story then an email would go out to everyone who voted for it saying “your story has been written! Go and buy it here!”
Otherwise, I could slop some piece of crap together that wasn’t even really what the readers were wanting anyway…
Is there room on that beach with you, Seth? I’m ready to drink what ever coolaid/booze mix your making and subscribe to your newsletter.
David, thank you for including Bublish in your post as well as for all your feedback as we launched. We really appreciate it. Our goal is to help writers find their audience, be it 100 people or 100,000. We look forward to seeing more book bubbles from you in the future. Cheers! Kathy
Sounds good to me, Kathy! I’m looking forward to it.