Friday, September 21, 2012

The Value of a Story Well-Told

I’ve seen this image floating around a certain social networking site and let me first say, I totally agree.

Yes, support Indie eBooks, there are some gems out there. The legacy publishers (traditional publishers) don't always get it right. You've heard all the stories about Johnathan Livingston Seagull, Dr. Suess, etc. etc. A certain trilogy about the multiple ways you can render art using only a combination of white and black (wink,wink) was an Indie book. Now you can find it at the grocery store. Regardless of the content it's sold more than a few copies.

Even Richard Paul Evans, who's had 21 New York Times Bestselling books, couldn't get a legacy publisher to pick up his new YA series Michael Vey. Clearly they were wrong and have since mended ways with Evans and Vey. He related this story as part of his key note address at this year's League of Utah Writers conference.

The above image got me thinking about the price of eBooks.

I love books, in all their incarnations: paper, digital, audio, makes no difference to me. I have them all. In fact, for some of my most favorite stories, I have a paper, digital, and audio version.

Do a quick search and you'll find myriad debates on the state of the publishing industry, digital v. paper and just as many people bemoaning the state of books. I say, suck it up. This is the way of the world. I download countless songs and albums from iTunes with nary a thought to the record stores, their owners, and employees that are no more.

It happened to them and it’s happening to us.

Free? $.99, $1.99, or $9.99 – there’s much talk about how much an eBook should cost and a lot of that is based on how legacy publishers priced their hardcovers for years and years. Just because a book is digital instead of printed on layers of pressed pulp which have been dried, collated, and bound does not diminish the true value of a story well-told.

And if you’ve ever tried to create a story well-told, then you know it’s not easy.

I don’t have an unlimited source of income, so I like buying eBooks from $.99 - $4.99. I'm a regular visitor to the Nook Deal of the Day. If an author chooses to sell at $0.99, that’s his/her choice, but I also don’t mind paying $9.99 for an eBook, because in the end, I’m not paying for the mode in which the story is delivered so much as the true value of the item: a story well-told, and to me it’s worth it.

I recently read another blog post over at the Book Garden about this same image. It gives a nice explanation of how this argument is a bit flawed but ultimately ends up on the same side of the arguement as I do, totally worth it. It includes a keen observation from a commentator about the value of a good book versus other forms of entertainment.

Oh, and when the EMP strikes and kills all the eReaders, you'll be glad you've got some dried pressed pulp lying around.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

When I was little my mom used to ask my dad if he wanted brownies or ice cream for dessert. He'd say, "yup" and we'd have brownies with ice cream. Every time.

I've struggled with e-book vs. "dried pressed pulp" and came to the same conclusion. "Yup." Tell me a good story and I'll eat it up.

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