So I read The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker. And I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty good. It was certainly as good as many traditionally published novels which I’ve read. A couple of clunky sentences here and there which might have been removed by an experienced editor – but which might equally not. A couple of reviews on Goodreads condemned the plot for being linear – which I guess it was, but no more than many novels.
I think it’s unlikely that I would have paid out money for The Emperor’s Edge as an e-book. If I’d had the chance to flip through the book in a store, I’d have taken a chance on an unknown author – but the point about the new world of internet shopping is that it is very difficult to do that. But now I’ve read it, am I going to buy the sequel? The answer is, I already have. And what is more, I paid the higher price to order both the book I’ve read and the next two in POD (print on demand) paperback. I want to lend them to people who I know would enjoy them.
Buroker has made a highly intelligent marketing move in making her first book free. Of course, she can also write, which always helps. If she couldn’t, no matter how many free downloads, she would simply never translate those into sales.
Over on The Passive Voice someone commenting on a post suggested a good move for the big book chains would be to install POD machines in some of their flagship stores. I think it’s a genius idea. The real value of the ebook revolution is the availability of absolutely anything you could want – everything, as I said previously, getting the chance to find its audience. POD in store would give the people like me – and there are many of us – the opportunity to have the same range of choice in hard copy that we have over the ether. The only question is whether traditional models of book selling will catch up to this revolution before it pins them to the wall and shoots.