Monday, November 16, 2009

Enter the Nook

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few months, you've probably heard about the Nook, Barnes & Noble's contender in the biggering ereader wars.
My ebooks are now live on Nook. I was able to do this through www.Smashwords.com. Upload your books to Smashwords, and they'll upload them to the Nook (and also Sony.) I'll be tracking my numbers and posting them as the holiday season gets into gear.

For those who have already bought a Nook, or are planning to buy one, you'll be able to find my Nook links on my website, and also right here:

THE LIST by J.A. Konrath - Nook version $1.99

ORIGIN by J.A. Konrath - Nook version $1.99

SUCKERS by J.A. Konrath & Jeff Strand - Nook version $1.59

FLOATERS by J.A. Konrath & Henry Perez - Nook version $1.59

SHOT OF TEQUILA by J.A. Konrath - Nook version $1.99

DISTURB by J.A. Konrath - Nook version $1.99

TRUCK STOP by J.A. Konrath - Nook version $1.59

If you've been following my blog, you know I've made these books available on my website, on Smashwords.com, on Kindle, on iTunes, and they'll soon be for sale on Sony.

I have no idea what to expect in the way of Nook sales. I had zero expectations of Kindle, and was surprised how well they've sold. I had moderate expectations for iTunes, but have sold less than 100 books total in the two weeks they've been available.

In the case of iTunes, I've since tweaked the product descriptions to make them easier to find, and so browsers have a better idea of what they were buying. I'm watching to see if those numbers grow.

In the case of Nook, B&N hasn't even put up the product descriptions yet, so I did that myself as user reviews--which is something I'd also done with Kindle when I first uploaded the titles.

While tweaking the descriptions this morning, I had a few interesting thoughts.

1. The process of uploading ebooks, no matter where they are uploaded to, is time-consuming, laborious, and inefficient. But it still can be done in a matter of hours or days, whereas in the print world it takes months to publish a book.

2. Prices of ereaders are going down, while features are getting better.

3. I still don't have any clear answers why agents aren't getting their clients' blacklists and unsold books on these various ereaders. Shouldn't they be innovating?

4. Etailers still haven't courted any major writers for exclusive deals. Considering Amazon, Sony, and now B&N lose money for each ebook sold, it would make sense for them to directly approach some authors and perhaps actually turn a profit selling ebooks. Are they afraid of publishers? Why would they be, when the publishers are screwing them by charging hardcover prices for a bunch of ones and zeroes which cost nothing to copy or distribute?

5. Ebooks are being talked about more and more, and many sources predict they're going to be a hot holiday item.

6. There are still haters.

Let's talk about #6 for a moment. While I grew up reading print books, and have thousands of them, and love them dearly, and have many fond memories associated with print, I'm getting bored with the knee-jerk "print is the only way a story can be read" reactions I always seem to see whenever ebooks are discussed.

People love the feel and smell of books. They love owning the physical object. That's fine. I do too.

But it's the stories that I really love. The paper, or the ereader, is only the delivery system for the story.

And the ereader is simply better than print in every way, except when it comes to nostalgia.

This reminds me a lot of the early 90s, when many folks were hesitant to buy computers because they simply didn't see the advantages of owning one.

Yes, tech is scary. Yes, the old ways are comfortable. Yes, owning a physical object like a book satisfies some primeval hunter/gatherer gene.

But the story isn't on the paper, or on the ereader screen. The story is in your head. It will be in your head no matter what you read it on.

Why are some folks so resistant to a technology that will make books cheaper, easier to read, easier to buy, more accessible, and at the same time save 40 million trees per year and save a great deal of space around the house?

What exactly are the haters objecting so strongly to, other than disliking change?

That said, who here is interested in buying a Nook? Why or why not?