Book readers today are in the box seat like never before. Not only is there an explosion of new titles hitting the market, almost by the hour, but there are more and more opportunities to sample new books and authors before actually committing to a purchase. A new breed of discerning and fussy reader has arrived – and authors would do well to take note.
The runaway train that has become the self-published book market is challenging the boundaries of traditional publishing in a way that has become both exciting and nervous for all those in the industry.
Consider how Amazon Kindle reading has gone through the roof in just a few years. With hundreds of new books being uploaded daily there are no signs this trend will abate any time soon. If anything, it will continue to grow, almost beyond comprehension. So how does this help the end user, the book reader?
Two important developments have become compelling Kindle features for potential readers.
The first is the facility to ‘sample’ the opening 20-pages or so through the online tool that allows potential buyers to quickly open the book and read an excerpt direct on their laptop. Poor or average writing can be spotted a mile away – usually leading to the ‘sample’ being closed and attention switched to another title. I do this myself on at least 4 or 5 occasions every time I log on to make a purchase.
The second driver for change in this new scenario is the availability of ‘free’ eBooks. More and more authors, including the well-established, are dabbling with cost-free promotions in an effort to attract readers and push ‘sales’ onto the various top-selling lists. Once an upward movement has been achieved, the author can switch back to a paid-for title, knowing it has a better chance of success because of the ratings earned during the free period.
The big winner in this is, of course, the reader. A friend recently told me he has downloaded more than 30 ‘free’ titles in the past few weeks; even though he knows there is probably little chance of eventually reading half of them! By the time he starts ploughing through the first titles, there are yet more free offers coming on stream to tempt him.
However, as always, there is a downside to the silver-lined clouds. Let’s be honest about one thing – there are some real turkeys out there masquerading as novels, and the prospective reader will have to navigate his/her way through the driftwood before finding a book they actually want to read.
But readers are a patient and discerning lot. I’m a great believer in the adage that the marketplace will find its true level and that readers will eventually place prominence only on those titles truly deserving of mass support.
Authors can put all the spin they like on their masterpieces. They will, rightly, use every marketing tool available to push, promote and over-egg their product.
Ultimately, however, they will find there is no substitute for a well-written, carefully researched and meticulously edited manuscript. Fail on any of these and the reader will find them out!
I’d love to hear the views of readers on the points raised here. Do you make use of the ‘sample’ reads? How often do you choose ‘free’ titles? Have you come across a recent turkey (to save embarrassment please don’t mention titles by name)? Have you come across a new author worthy of wider support?
There is a wonderful breed of new authors out there. All they need is a chance to be recognised for their painstaking work. They only way they can achieve is through reader endorsement. Your views are more important than you think! Please use the Leave a Reply box below.