Sunday, July 26, 2009

Publishing game changer

by Cate Masters

Barnes & Noble made the leap to digital publishing last week when it launched its ebook store. This after previous news B&N had purchased ebook distributor Fictionwise, and fast on the heels of B&N’s announcement they’d hired a digital executive, Jamie Iannone, to manage “strategic initiatives.”
Pretty exciting news for me, as my Eternal Press novella One Soul for Sale is now available through their online bookstore, as will be Picture This, my EP novella to be released on Aug 7.
The downside is that B&N ebooks aren’t compatible with Amazon Kindles or Sony eReaders, though Fictionwise apps support “wireless and wired access” for iPhones and the iPod Touch. Ebooks are already a drawback for some customers, but if I’d plunked down hundreds of dollars for a reader, I probably wouldn’t approve of this strategy.
Still, I’m eager to see how it all shakes out. I’m hoping that, with a big-name publisher such as B&N behind ebooks, piracy will become less of an issue. Currently, it’s fairly rampant. I came across a blog recently reviewing my short story Seventh Heaven. The review was favorable, but the reviewer came across my story through a Monday Book Swap through another blog. Illegal sharing is piracy, plain and simple. But how do I know it hasn’t worked in my favor? Seventh Heaven has been the number one bestseller on The Wild Rose Press site for the past week and a half. And honestly, it was kind of cool having a reader in Finland.
As an author, I’m happy on one hand to have my work more widely available to the public, though I’m not sure how it will trickle down to me. The ebook publishing system needs an overhaul, in my opinion, to provide greater benefit to authors, consistent with those offered by the major print publishers. A playing field slightly more level, finance-wise, so authors can possibly make an actual living at it.
I have a feeling publishing will be in a state of flux for a long while yet.

Cate Masters’ novels, novellas, short stories and flash fiction appear at epublishers The Wild Rose Press, Eternal Press, Wild Child Publishing/Freya’s Bower and Shadowfire Press. Her flash and short stories appear at such web zines as Cezanne’s Carrot, The Battered Suitcase, A Long Story Short, Dark Sky Magazine, and The Harrow. Visit her online at, or follow her on Facebook or on Twitter.

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