For God’s Sake, Get eBooks Going, Steve Jobs!

Writers are dying — dying! — out there in the printed paper world.

I didn’t see Shakespeare & Co. closing their lower Manhattan store as a sign.

I figured since Borders opened a big store a few blocks away, it was another Wal-Mart Syndrome reaction.

But then within the past few weeks I’ve seen Barnes & Noble close two big stores. And I mean big: multi-floored affairs, each which had a Starbucks-like cafe in them!

Yesterday I went searching for several books.

I won’t name the writers because they’ll want to slit their wrists after reading this.

Their work was unavailable.

These are recent books. Books that should have still been on the shelves at any mega-store.

Even at Shakespeare & Co.’s NoHo store (which used to have great stock; and which now doesn’t).

But they weren’t.

And then I looked around.

And, dear God almighty!, the stores should have had tumbleweeds running through them because they were like abandoned ghost towns!

This was all in Manhattan.

This has never, ever happened before.

Even in past recessions, I’ve seen people in books stores. The places were alive. Now they are dead.

Books are dying out there.

I don’t know if it’s because people are on the Internet instead.

Or if they’re buying from Amazon instead.

Or if people simply give up because they can’t find the book they want.

We need ebooks to save writers.

We need Apple to kick the crappy Kindle aside and give ebooks the stamp of legitimacy and broad popularity downloaded music got from the iPod.

If this doesn’t happen soon, all will be lost.

This is an outright crisis.

Save us writers, Apple!

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Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, C.O.A.T. - Other, eBooks, Tech - Apple, Uncategorized, Writers - Living, Writing

13 Comments on “For God’s Sake, Get eBooks Going, Steve Jobs!”

  1. slappy Says:

    The excellent “ereader.com” has stated that they are developing the software for iPhone/Touch for their service. So when the app store launches, look for it there. I have been a member for awhile and can’t wait to get this on my iPhone/Touch.

  2. mikecane Says:

    That won’t do it. Apple must do it.

    How many music players were available before the iPod? Many.

    And people could buy DRMed music for them via Plays For Sure (ha ha!) Microsoft DRM.

    It took Apple, the iPod, the iTunes software, and the iTunes store to legitimize downloadable music purchases.

    I don’t trust any company other than Apple to get an e-reading program *right*. I don’t, for instance, want to scroll through a book. I want to flick pages.

    Plus, we need a company of Apple’s size to grind down and break the stranglehold of print publishers. And writers need an outlet where *they* can sell their own work, bypassing the narrow tastes and sometimes-poor judgment of current large publishers.

    Many, many excellent writers are being shunted out of the marketplace, published by small presses that are unable to compete for shelf space in stores. They need Apple to make them equal.

  3. slappy Says:

    Well you have good point. Having it on iTunes with Apples reputation for making amazing UI for their apps would be awesome. But as far as anyone can tell, eBooks aren’t heading to iTunes in the near future. I’m with you there, but in the meantime I have to use what will be available.

  4. mikecane Says:

    I understand your point. What would probably happen in my own case is I’d stick to free or public domain Project Gutenberg ebooks until it was all sorted out.

    Have you ever been over to Teleread?
    http://www.teleread.org/blog/

    I don’t want to be one of those people who buy into a DRMed format only to have it go away — and my ebooks become obsolete.


  5. […] Emotional Response Posted June 21, 2008 Quick pointer to Mike Cane’s rant for the day: Writers are dying — dying! — out there in the printed paper […]

  6. brooklyn Says:

    Yes, it’s Amazon. I usually can’t find the titles I want at a bricks-and-mortar store, so it’s much easier and more efficient to order online. I actually buy more books as a result of the convenience.

  7. mikecane Says:

    Did you get a Kindle too? Have you bought any ebooks at any time?


  8. Finally, a voice of reason.

  9. Cliff Burns Says:

    I hear ya, Mike, and couldn’t agree more. Try finding a book by L.F. Celine or Denton Welsh. Impossible. Book stores these days have become similar to video/movie stores…lots of copies of the latest new releases while the older stuff languishes…or disappears. I look forward to the arrival of e-books in whatever form they take as long as it leads to more diversity and choice, any book ever written just a few keystrokes away.

    Keep postin’, partner…

  10. Martin Hill Says:

    Hey Mike i hear you loud and clear – I just wish Steve would as well. I personally buy a lot of science fiction ebooks on http://baen.com/ about $6 or free, but I too wish Apple would put iTunes’ weight behind the concept.

    It’s a great way to have a library of books on a handy, self-illuminated screen that is always ready at a moment’s notice.

    The general public is reading a lot more – but it’s web pages and blogs not books. Here’s hoping Apple can include ebooks in the new tend.

    -Mart

  11. Reader in the Midwest Says:

    I haven’t bought a book in a brick and mortar store for over five years. I buy all my books from either Amazon, eBay or Half.com. I still like my books on paper. Nobody’s even close enough to having an eBook reader that I would want to use to read a book. If anybody can do it, I think Apple has got the best chance. But until they come out with something, I think that POD will be the way to go for physical stores to stay in business. You walk in order the book, and while you have a coffee in their restaurant they print and bind it for you. Amazon, however, already has a leg up on them. With Create Space Amazon can ship POD books as fast as they ship conventionally printed books.


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