Monday, March 9, 2009

Bring on the Fantasy Ebooks

Although not a brand new concept, as I believe the first ebook was written in 1971, the ebook market, and in particular the fantasy ebooks market, still finds itself in its infancy and initially I couldn't understand why when from a business perspective if you look at the return on investment (R.O.I.) from this style of product what you are potentially doing is taking massive profits with very little expenses, which is great ROI. In conjunction to this low cost of production you can provide a product whose sale price is markedly lower than its conventional counterpart, which in turn provides you with an opportunity to expand sales as consumers are more likely to be prepared to take a punt on a book thus compounding the earnings that can be made.

The reality is that the market is being stifled by one all important aspect, selection. Where are the big name draw cards in terms of written works being transferred to a downloadable format to bring in new consumers and opening up this format to a greater audience? One of the problems here is that those who have embraced this new medium may get too frustrated with it and leave, returning to the old school printed versions to get what they are looking for.

So what is driving the major publishing houses to restrict the release of titles in this format? One of the primary issues is intellectual property rights and piracy. This industry is of course not the first to have to deal with this issue, both the movie and music industry have been hit very hard by piracy from internet torrent sites and digital formats, and it is this that has driven attitudes of publishing companies and thus restricting our choices for this fledgling medium. But are their concerns justified or their response to this phenomenon working?

In reality their concerns are fair as intellectual property rights must be upheld and it is important to protect authors and publishing houses to the works that they have been created for without a decent wage going to those who have created the works nor those who are spending funds to promote and disseminate works in ebook format then the whole thing comes crumbling down and there will be no injection of funds for R&D, market research or marketing of new products or lines. For example if Amazon's kindle had not been produced as it was not warranted as the sales of ebooks were minimal we would be without this quality user-friendly option to read with. So their concerns I believe are just however I do think that their response to this issue is the wrong approach as consumers are still looking to obtain the big name fantasy novels in ebook format which in turn spawned pirated copies that can be downloaded.

This means that there is a missed opportunity by publishing houses for them to generate more readers of fantasy ebooks and grow the market at an even faster rate. The flip side to this is that at present unknown and fledgling authors, such as I, now have an opportunity to get in without big name competition looking to lock us out of the market.


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