Feet in the Future, Books in the Past: Overcoming the Stigma of E-Publishing
acim, though. It’s new, even to my generation. Reading books that aren’t physical books at all, but digital files on an electronic device is a change. People don’t like change. When it comes to politicians, bad habits, or anything else that grates their nerves, they may say, “It’s time for a change.” What they mean, though, is that it’s time to fix what we currently have. Younger readers may be more likely to embrace e-books, but many readers will tell you that their paper books will have to be pried from their cold dead hands. This reluctance is understandable and forgivable. We can choose what books we read. We should also be able to choose how we read them. Besides, who doesn’t love the smell of a book?
The stigma of e-publishing goes beyond the disdain for e-readers, though. There is a belief that works only published electronically are of lesser quality and value. There is some legitimacy to this argument. With self-publishing as easy as clicking a couple of buttons, there are some truly horrid e-books out there. When I see an e-book on Amazon that has spelling and grammatical errors in the blurb, I cringe, not just out of embarrassment for the writer, but because it makes all e-book authors look bad. I want to email them and beg them to do the rest of us a favor by hiring an editor.
However, just because many authors of e-books went with an e-publisher or self-published because they weren’t picked up by a ‘big six’ publisher, doesn’t necessarily mean that their work is of lower quality or less entertaining. It might be that the market they wrote for was over-saturated. Or it could be that the book was great, but that the author never managed to nail the query. (Trust me, it’s a very different type of writing.)
Or maybe they just became impatient and wanted the control of publishing their own piece. (There’s a lot to be said for the freedom of choosing one’s own cover.) The point is, e-books are just that, books. Some people will like some e-books, others won’t, just the way some people will like some print books, while others won’t. Check out the Amazon reviews of your favorite book, if there are more than ten, chances are at least one reviewer hated it. Does that mean it’s a bad book? Does that mean all print books are poorly written or deadly boring.