[Editors note: any mistakes in this post are the editor’s, not the contributor’s. PB] On 29 September I published my newest novel, and have been both surprised and gratified by the number of downloads. The book is a thriller with a post-apocalyptic setting, and – unlike my others – has been tagged as “science fiction” at manybooks.net and Feedbooks. I have been getting plentiful hits from SF sites.
The penny then dropped, and I posted the following poll at MobileRead:
Many members of the MobileRead forums seem to be sci-fi fans, which may not be surprising, since nearly everyone here can be regarded as an “early adopter” and is thus likely to have a greater than average interest in science and technology. But is it true? I know genres are pretty arbitrary and artificial, but if you had to name just one as your favourite, what would it be? Could a poll of MobileRead members’ tastes give an indication of how far the e-book revolution has got? So let’s find out! Please vote … what is your favourite genre?
So far there have been 76 respondents, 60.5% of whom chose “SF/fantasy” as their favourite genre. This suggests that the “e-book revolution” has quite some way to go.
Technology in its infancy
It’s obvious, really, when you think about it. The technology is still in its infancy: you have to be something of a wirehead to get the best from it. Will the time ever come when e-books are as easy to acquire and use as p-books?
I think it will, and perhaps sooner than later. When non-technical types are first shown a Sony Reader, for example, they are fascinated. When they understand that there are tens of thousands of free and inexpensive books on the net, they think of all the money they spend on paper. But when they learn the price-tag of the device, they draw back. “Later, maybe.”
E-book displays are improving
A parallel between the e-book display and the mp3 player is often drawn, and rightly so. Though they are not directly comparable, both help to remove the monopoly on distribution formerly enjoyed by the old-style publishing models for books and records. And just as mp3 players have got better and cheaper and easier to use, so will e-book displays.
Quite soon, I believe, the revolution will really take to the streets: and after that, no single genre will be able to command a majority of votes from the respondents at MobileRead.