Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Unstoppable Alien Invasion

Jacqueline George

They are coming, they are coming! It’s time to lock up your daughters, take to the hills, emigrate, or do whatever you normally do in the face of an unstoppable alien invasion.
Think RABBITS, Australia. Think CANE TOADS. Our way of life is being threatened by this imported menace, and no-one is doing anything about it. Your friendly, neighbourhood book chain store is either teetering on the brink of collapse, or has collapsed already. What are we going to do?
Well, firstly, we have to accept that the ebook is here to stay. Amazon, the biggest book retailer ever in the world, is already selling far more ebooks than print books. Barnes & Noble say they are currently selling two ebooks for every paper one.
Established publishers are in two minds. Although they will not admit it, they love ebooks. They make far more profit from an ebook, which is only a computer file and involves zero expenditure on ‘real’ printing and stocking. All of their production budget can go on expensive business lunches, advertising and (of course) expensive business dinners. Their waist lines will be expanding with their ebook sales. (Probably follows that you should not let a skinny publisher owe you money – he may not be long for this world.)
But, you are muttering, I love the feel of real books. The smell of them, and the whole experience of going to bed with a good, real book. Will I still be able to buy them?
That might depend on how rich you are, and also on what you like to read. If you are a Mills & Boon fan, your favourite tipple is probably safe – for now. They have an established market and can print so many copies that the extra cost is low. If you are looking for something less mass-market – the news is not good. If I write a popular novel on an Australian topic, it will be in the shops at $30 per copy. That high price is driven by the retailer, the distributor and the printer. I take about a dollar of that thirty, on a good day, with the wind behind me.
On the other hand, when I sell the same thing as an ebook, my up-front costs are minimal and I might get anywhere between 25% of the retail price (if a publisher is involved) and 75% if I publish it through my own imprint Q~Press. That means I can serve it up to you for $3 instead of $30 – and still make twice as much in my pocket.
That simple economic fact has the industry scratching its head and wondering where their next big dinner is going to come from.

©Jacqueline George All rights reserved.

Jacqueline George lives in Cooktown, Far North Queensland. She enjoys the relaxed lifestyle there, and finds plenty of time write books, some of which are far too naughty for her own good.
Jacqueline's home page


  1. For me it is really hard to accept that e-books are a reality. I think young people, if they continue to read at all, will pull towards the digital books, so one day ebooks might push print books out of existence. The young love technology over tradition. But for now, I'm glad my publisher is also offering contracts for print books once the ebooks have proven to be successful.

  2. I like print books too, but going on holiday with a stack of books on my ereader is very handy.

    A word of advice - I suggest you don't rush into a print contract with your publisher. There are other options that will probably be more profitable - mail me, if you like.

  3. I have self published and I am thrilled to be with a publisher I trust now. The added platform that being with a group of a hundred or more authors all promoting together helps in ways I could never attempt myself.
    Having been down the POD path, I am grateful to have my books being released as ebooks and when the time comes I would rather sign on with the publisher for print too, on the knowledge that they will be available at a reasonable cost here in OZ.
    Then again, I am not counting the dollars and cents. Being a published author is a thrill, to have a publisher ask for my books when they were already out there... Well.. that seemed to justify the work I had already put into my writing.
    Now I am happy to be part of a family... and to help promote other authors along with my own books.
    Still.. there are great deals now available for people to self publish print or ebooks. If that is how you want to approach the exercise. Look around, ask questions, visit forums and talk to others who have been down that track.

  4. E-books, E-readers, short stories that i can read on my IPhone, love it all! One thing that use to annoy me about reading for example big newspaper while i am having a coffee on my balcony is that every time you feel little breeze you also loose the paper lol Now i can just download an application on my iphone and have up to date/breaking news at my finger tips. Same with books. I'm pretty spontaneous and i too busy for trips to the book store. If i feel like i reading an adventure novel this week, bang - its done, it takes few minutes to download for so much less.

    Life is moving fast these days and trust me it wont slow down and i am going to grab new inventions with open arms that will give me exactly what for less and exactly when i want it :)


  5. Hello Aneta,
    Since we all have e-books here, yours is a very satisfying comment. There are quite a few e-book readers available now. Which one do you use?

  6. I can see where ebooks are all the rage now. So much cheaper than the printed book. For publishers and as it has always been for self published authors is the art of getting that ebook book in the public eye. Advertising. No more A&R shop windows filled with the bestsellers of the moment. It will be interesting to see what happens. Laurel

  7. Sadly I just took my first ebook reader back to the store today. I am not sure if it is just totally useless, or if it is not user friendly, or if I am a total ebook reader incompetent.
    My troubles began with not being able to turn it on, to not being able to download successfully or open downloaded books, to not being able to have the power AND the usb stick installed at the same time.
    This exercise in ebook reading has been a complete waste of time.
    Once 'repaired' I will have an expensive paperweight and probably wait until closer to release date to buy a itablet that works. So much for choosing a cheap imitation of something. ARGH.
    I can't recommend Android Dreambook. It doesn't allow upgrading to more modern Android apps. Waste of TIME and MONEY.
    The scarcity of ereaders here is abysmal too. No choice. Two different machines, neither seem to have anything better to offer, except being more expensive paperweights.
    I want a KINDLE...
    Can't afford one.
    Can't even get to look at one and see how it works.
    The downfall of living in regional Oz.