Tuesday, December 29, 2009

...price-point on books?

...where exactly is the perfect price-point on books? Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, an ebook publisher and distributor believes it to be $4 bucks. Who’s to say, maybe he’s right...naturally he, a benefactor of ebook sales growth would delight in readers balking at $30 hardcover prices and $17 paperbacks. I’ll admit I too am an advocate of the ebook phenomena...but for an entirely different reason.

Books should be a commodity. There contents dispersed widely...more widely than current times...in a media best served by each respective reader population. Let it take form in massive hardcover’s like my 831 page classic; The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett. Or perhaps my sticky-note laden paperback of; How Good People Make Tough Choices by Rushworth M. Kidder. Then again my useful ebook acquired free; JA Konrath’s, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing Book, like each and every one—cherished equally. Is there a reader population for free books? I believe there is.

A time will come when book writers’ income is derived from those who subscribe to what they say. Sponsors, endorsers, advertisers, benefactors, even angels will finance book/author content dissemination. Corruption you say? Buying of configured sentiment...spinning stories to persuade the simpler population’s? Sure, there will be some of that in a democracy. The ancillary will be readers having content where before they had none.

Ebooks costing $4 or $2 or $0 is a good thing. How can it not be? There are those who cry foul at the notion...but their self-interest is plainly visible. Books on paper will not die soon and for those who cherish the paper version, good for you. However, your pronouncement of paper over ebooks will define your character from now on. My father advised me one time, when I was feeling (and speaking) particularly intelligent in front of extended family...shut-up!



  1. Nice to have a new post from you Garry! Thanks for helping us along with the sometimes difficult transition from paper to pixels. As you probably know, I'm of two minds about this phenomena. Because I'm an illustrator as well as a writer, I'm not too keen on the notion of ebooks replacing classic pictures books, there's just something about the image of cuddling up with a kindle with your three year old that isn't too appealing. HOWEVER....I am for ebooks for just about any other type of book, not only for the reasons you mention, especially cost, but also because of the saving of trees and backs. I see my kids leave for school and come home with backpacks bulging with binders and textbooks. Luckily some of their texts are on-line and more are being added everyday. Now if there was just a way to cull those binders......thanks again for the info!

  2. Garry, I am the proud owner of a Kindle. Ironically, after I owned the device, I found that I purchased more books- paper and electronic. See, with the Kindle every book you desire to read is just a touch away and less expensive than in paper form. Instead of making a trip to the library, I just forked over the $5.99 because it was so easy. I found myself buying books when I was bored at my kids practice or waiting for an airplane. But, you can't lend an e-book from Kindle, and it doesn't look nice on the shelf. Plus, you miss out on the illustrations, cover, and feel of the book in your hands. For a beach side, light hearted romance -the kindle is good enough. But, when I wanted "Hunger Games", I purchased hard cover. I read it, I will lend it to my neighbor, my daughter will read it, and then it will be a beautiful addition to my bookcase and in 50 yrs, my grandchildren might read it and think about what the author was trying to say about the times we live in. I honestly think that the ultimate effect of ebooks will be that people will buy more books. It will simply expand the market - similar to what DVD did for movies.

  3. Like Susan & G.P. I can see the best of both worlds. Price wise, you can't beat the electronic age of books, however . . . I'm sure there will be times in my life when I just want to OWN the paper version!

  4. ...all of you have great points/arguments/concerns...but my intended message is one of the ebooks method of deployment. This digital vehicle enables people (children), our luxury of reading whatever they want whenever. Far away populations able to read the classics and newly authored works finished last week...most at a price-point reachable of their economic stature.

    (...cuddling up with a kindle with your three year old that isn't too appealing...), I see the point, don’t agree, but it’s certainly perplexing. Keeping hold of antiquated notions of learning methods however quaint and comforting, limit depth of understanding, breadth of exposure and certainly appreciation (early adopter) of technology. For example; do you speak a foreign language? Had you started earlier in life, 2, 3, 4 years old...see my point.

    (...you miss out on the illustrations, cover, and feel of the book in your hands...), remember, we’re in the first generation of ereaders. They will get better, real soon. Illustration’s that will amaze you...the like not ever produced in a printed-paper version. Which version would be more profound, more enjoyable, more of an embed to the learning experience? How do we get beyond the ‘feel’ of the paper book? It’s a learned feel. Develop newer feels.

    Today, we have a choice...most of us do anyway. And that’s a good thing. It aids our comfort level, so to speak. But to deny ourselves, other needier populations...our children this newer vehicle is foolhardy. Besides the price is right!


What are "The 5 Most Important--But Fleeting Virtures?"

Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Compassion and Humility.

.....this is a portion of the "introduction" or prologue to the book (not yet completed)...email with your comments.

The books title; Character Happens! The 5 Most Important—But Fleeting Virtues, describes my belief these five important virtues (Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Compassion, Humility), are sporadic in use and diminishing in personal character. The books message is in recognizing this “fleeting” nature and from that reinstitute a more virtuous choice in your decision making.

The paradox of the two words; Character Happens, with another two words: “S### Happens”* (decorum prevents use of actual word) is not without merit. My belief is that observed human character is much like, well...s###! This kind of observation can be disconcerting at times. So confusing that society can hardly make the distinction between the two words and there obvious different meaning. Individuals make virtuous and un-virtuous choices/decisions for innumerable reasons, both consciously and without deep thought. If we postulate; can an individual make a 'more' virtuous choice in life’s decisions should they want to do so? Answer—perhaps. How does one 'reinstitute a more virtuous choice' into their personal makeup...making the response more automatic? Answer—practice. With a concerted effort at 'practice' I believe...an individual might just develop a more 'repetitive' decent response...much like grooving a golf swing.

I love golf. I think the game is like no other. The five stories that make up Character Happens! have a golf storyline. Some readers may not be able to relate to the game of golf or its vernacular or for that matter, why people...a large number of people...love golf. Too bad! You should try it sometime...because it’s more than a game...it can be a life experience. The golf course environment alone is enough to put most people at ease.

Golf is a game played by the individual as opposed to being a member of a team, like baseball. Baseball has umpires who enforce the rules of the game. In golf you are the umpire. Because of this unique method of enforcing the games rules—golf is a “hotbed” for testing the players character...their honesty, their integrity, their courage and sometimes their compassion. And, because all golfers started from knowing nothing about the game; like how to swing, how to putt or chip... they also learn of humility. Now doesn’t it make perfect sense that a book about character would juxtaposition a storyline with the game of golf? Anyway, I thought so.

There are five stories, one for each virtue. The book has six main characters that make up a group of what I call 'golf buddies.' The storyteller, Spencer Madison, in reality is me. Well, somewhat like me...as I have a better golf game than Spencer. The five others vary in age, gender, education, religious beliefs and definitely personality. The 'binder' of the group or what brings them together; golf.

The reader will hopefully discover in their own lives a similar incident with one of the story’s in Character Happens! If not, that’s okay too...as the stories are earnest while humorous, carefree yet compelling. And, I believe each chapter or story makes a 'point' in this wonderful, wacky, dynamic world in the 21st century.

The stories are fictional as are the characters. Names, personalities or incidents are fictional and in no way resemble or refer to a living person. I’ve used paraphrasing of many authors’ ideas and concepts and have referenced them in a special section. Because of these references and the specific genre where the book is to be found, it’s categorized as a non-fictional, personal development book.

for the language but this word best describes the thought I want to convey. In Forrest Gump the term was used to describe situations that happen to all people for no particular reason.