E-Book Status

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Jeff Ayers, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. sparky99

    sparky99 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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  2. Scarpad

    Scarpad Lieutenant Commander

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    Yeah I just got a Reader at Xmas and I'm way behind so I'll be playing in the SCE universe for a while to come.
     
  3. Sxottlan

    Sxottlan Commodore Commodore

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    Seems the most pressing question is the one that will probably never be answered and that is, "why?" Although I guess the main reason any business does anything is because of money.

    I'm sad that it's over. The series quickly became the best starship-based Trek book series being produced. It was nice that the format allowed for this experimentation, but I had no interest in supporting the format and don't feel guilty about it.

    So it was nice while it lasted. Although I still have several more installments to read, I should be able to move on when the end comes (don't really believe it'll ever come back again).
     
  4. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Your second paragraph answers the question in your first.

    And thank you very much for the kind words.

    (Oh, and don't assume it's over forever. :evil: )
     
  5. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    You say you really like the series yet you refuse to support it. That makes no sense. If everyone who enjoys the series supported it, we'd not have this hiatus. And in fact, we might have yet more eBook series.
     
  6. JAG

    JAG Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I support the series wholeheartedly, I do not support the format. I tried ebooks, they are not for me. I am really sorry they are gone, because I enjoyed what came out of them though.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^^But you can't have it both ways. That's like saying "I support Jericho but I refuse to watch TV." SCE/CoE was created as an eBook series. You can't divorce the property from its format. After all, this is business, not ideology. Just saying you approve of something is not support in this context. Buying it is the only support that counts.
     
  8. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Ultimately, too many people felt like Sxottlan and JAG and not enough like JWolf.

    And Christopher's point is well taken. *sigh*
     
  9. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    But surely that's what the collections were for - so people who like SCE but find it difficult to read e-books could support the line?

    You can't ask people to buy stories they can't read.
     
  10. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    It may just be too soon for E-books to survive.

    I think that E-books won't really take off until there is a hand-held reader that is inexpensive. At least, I know that's true for me. Of course, it would have to be reliable too.

    Reading a book online just doesn't do it for me, although I have bought several books that way (books that I really wanted to read.) It would have to be something that I could have on a reader and be able to tote with me, say to the doctor's waiting room.

    With the Kindle going for $350-400, it's not yet in my price range.

    I think given time, people will warm to E-books. For storage alone, if they put out a reliable reader on which many books can be stored, it would be great. **looks at my eight bookcases and various plastic book storage bins."
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    So they could read them, yes, but that's not sufficient support, especially not with the reprints coming out years after the original tales were bought and paid for. You can't support a TV series if you refuse to watch it in first-run and wait for the DVDs, at least not under the current business model. When something is intended for first release in a given format, that format is where the company invests its money and effort; everything else is secondary. So if it can't survive in the format it's meant for, it gets cancelled. Look at Firefly. It got weak ratings on TV, so its killer sales on DVD were not sufficient to get it back on the air.

    Maybe at some point in the future, CoE will come back in a paperback format, and at that point buying the paperbacks will be supporting the line, because that would then be the original format of the line. But as long as it was an eBook series, support had to come from eBook sales.

    Maybe the format was just too new. If even science fiction fans were so reluctant to try a new technology, then maybe it was premature. I agree with T'Bonz, though, that as better readers become widely available (especially with digital-paper technology which is easy on the eyes), the format is bound to take off in earnest eventually. And I think it's something to be proud of that Star Trek fiction took such a risk in pioneering a new format, and that the series lasted as long as it did.
     
  12. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    *shakes head in frustration*

    I understand how Sxottlan and JAG feel. While I haven't read SCE, I'm interested in the concept and at some point I intend to get the paper reprints. However, I simply can't use the eBook format. It's not a matter of economics (although it is a factor), but rather I can't stare at a screen for long periods of time like I can stare at a book. Before anyone starts yelling "but you stare at a computer all the time," an eBook reader omits a brighter light and one sits, presumably, further away from a computer than one would have to for an eBook (to make out the text). One simply does not have that problem with paper. I can never curl up to an eBook for hours on end for this very reason and that is a problem.

    Frankly, I don't see why some people can't understand how one (like myself) can support the product, but not the format. To borrow your own analogy, Christopher, our view is like saying you support a show by watching it on DVD only because you don't want to deal with commercials. Therefore, you support the product, but not the format (commercialized television). It's the same idea. I (and others) don't view the product in the original format, but do view in the subsequent format which is better suited for us.

    YES, I know the whole point of SCE is the work on an eBook level, but I think the faltering sales show that many other people feel the same way as I do: Can't get into the eBook format. I can't help but wonder how the paper reprint sales compare to the eBook sales (and in contrast to books that are originally printed on paper).
     
  13. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't much care for ebooks as a format. I have read very few ebooks that weren't reprinted in print format (couldn't wait to read the Vanguard tie-in SCE story, though).

    But I started buying them. I was concerned that if the ebook line should ever get cancelled, it was entirely possible that they might just disappear, and if they were that unpopular, they might not all get reprinted in dead tree format. Remember when Amazon.com dropped all ebooks that weren't in the format they decided to support? I didn't want to miss any SCE stories, because regardless of the format, the content was worthwhile.

    It's like the IDW comics. Lots of people seem to be waiting for the trade paperback collections. But if no one buys the monthly comic books, eventually they'll lose too much money to bother doing reprint collections -- or any more Trek comics, period.

    Consequently, I've been buying the ebooks and reading the print versions when they show up, and I've been buying the comics and reading the trade paperbacks when they show up. If that seems silly to some people, well, what are you doing to make sure these things keep coming?
     
  14. JAG

    JAG Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I tried it, truly did. I had gotten a couple of the ebooks and just did not enjoy reading them on a screen. I still have the first 3 chapters of Slings and Arrows and I only read the first half of book 1.
     
  15. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If you don't have a Nielson box, that's the only way to support it. (Well, that and purchasing downloads, but I'd be surprised if they were counted any different from the DVDs.)
     
  16. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    QFT.

    Publishers are trying to find ways to break the "waiting for the trade" mentality. IDW does it by offering retailer incentives on virtually everything they publish, as a way of encouraging retailers to buy their product. Image did something interesting with the series Phonogram, where there was extra content in the single issues that wasn't collected in the trade.

    It's a puzzle that's still being figured out. But just as "waiting for the trade" has actually damaged Vertigo's sales, it's clear from readers up top that the same mentality was an issue with Pocket's eBooks.

    "I shall come back, yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxities. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine." :)
     
  17. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    It's not the same, since comics and trade paperbacks are both the same format, whereas e-books and the collections are different.

    You can't criticise people for waiting for the SCE collections if they can't afford an electronic reader, or don't enjoy the experience of reading a story on their computer.

    I wish I had the money to by the e-books regardless of whether I ever got to read them, but I don't.
     
  18. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In both cases, I don't see what the problem is in starting with the trade.

    Leaving the comics part aside for another topic, surely reader interest in SCE/CoE has been proven or disproven from the 10 paperback collections. Given the dicey timing of the eBooks ever since they started, is it that much harder to wait six or eight months between installments?
     
  19. Rosalind

    Rosalind TrekLit's Dr Rose Mod Admiral

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    quote to emphasis. since this really isn't the first time we had this discussion, and all the arguments presented here was in the last ones too.

    good analogy.

    I also wonder how many of the people who buy Trek books know about the ebooks, sure, after the first paperback reprint, they do know about it, but how many of them will bother to check out the ebooks online?

    There's also the price of the book you have to consider, the newer ones are $4.99 each, people know from the first compilation that 4 of them makes a mass market paperback, so that's almost $20 there, but a mmpb is only $7.99. I know if I have to worry about my money, I would also wait for the reprint, because they are much cheaper.

    But, you say, Pocket offers discount on the ebooks on their website, and you don't have to wait till they arrive in your bookshop to buy them. Problem is, Pocket won't sell to non-US or Canada addresses from their website, not even ebooks. Maybe that doesn't affect you, but I'm sure it stopped some of the non-US/Canadian people buying them in the first place. Also, even with a discount to $3.24 on their website, that's still only half of the price of a mmpb, when they are a quarter of the length.

    Now, as for not waiting till they show up in bookshops, the ebooks are not exactly reliable with the release date these days. I wonder how many people look forward to an ebook release, then wait pass the advertised release date, then wait a bit more, then finally give up? I know with the Mere Anarchy series, I didn't bother buying books 4-6, until book 3 finally showed up months and months late, I almost forgot about the series.

    Also, what Bonz said.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    As I said, that should no longer be a problem with digital-paper readers such as the Kindle and its successors yet to come.

    It just doesn't work that way. The production of TV shows is paid for primarily by advertisers. Therefore, by not watching commercials, you are not providing the show with the financial support it needs to remain in production. If, if a show were being made specifically for the DVD market, if its production was predicated on financing from DVD sales and its budget and schedule calculated commensurately with that, then buying DVDs would support its production. But a weekly series on a commercial network has its financing predicated on network ratings, with DVD sales being a supplement. It's a different situation.

    (And in response to the comment above about not having a Nielson box, I'm speaking collectively -- if viewers as a whole wait for DVDs, a show whose budget is predicated on selling broadcast ad time can't survive.)

    Note that I'm not saying one is right and the other is wrong; I think that original-to-DVD production is likely to replace a lot of commercial TV production in the future, and there are definite advantages to that. I'm simply pointing out that the two approaches are not interchangeable. Something that's designed to work one way can't work the other way, not without a fundamental redesign.

    As I said already, the only way that buying books alone could support the CoE line is if it came back as a series original to paperback. But since the original series was conceived, managed, and budgeted as a monthly eBook line, its survival depended on monthly eBook sales. As a paperback series, it would've been impossible for Pocket to publish 12 different SCE/CoE adventures per year, because there wouldn't have been enough room in the paperback schedule. The only reason the series was able to exist in the form it did was because it was in a separate format, something distinct from the standard paperback line and existing in addition to it. So just buying the reprints that came out once or twice a year was not enough to support the original, ongoing monthly series.