This morning, I participated briefly in a discussion about reading preferences between ebooks and physical books. In the course of the discussion, it became clear to me that there is an expectation on the part of consumers that a title presented to them in digital form should be priced dramatically lower than its print counterpart or, in many cases, it should be free.
While I can accept that ebook pricing by and large should be set on a different tier to its print counterpart, the concensus view point made me angry.
Readers have very little concept of the work an author puts into creating, writing, editing and producing a story. When an author commits to a project, it can consume anywhere up to a couple of years of your life. The amount of research, character development, story development, editing, proof reading that is required of a writer is significant – and that’s before the manuscript is handed over to an editor and publisher.
At the end of that writing journey, when you have done everything to ensure that your story is the best possible story it can be, to be confronted with the kind of mentality that says – “oh I would never pay more than X amount of dollars for an ebook” or “I only read free titles” or I don’t believe ebooks are real books…”
It actually angers me.
The one side effect of the explosion in digital reading I’ve observed is the degradation in the value of writing as a craft by consumers and the degradation of the value of literature as a whole.
It is something that, I believe, should be addressed and challenged.