Most people reading this probably know by now I’m not a gigantic fan of e-book systems like the Kindle. I’m also not naïve enough to assume I can just ignore the consequences of how reading and publishing are going digital. Some people (Baen) get it; others (everyone still wasting money on prestige hardcover printings) don’t.
This in mind, I must ask: Who here would find it worthwhile for me to start doing e-book versions of my work? This wouldn’t have to happen right now or even anytime this year, but rather as a long-term prospect.
Here’s the possibilities:
The Kindle. Probably the most obvious way to go, but also the most closed-ended. I am not a fan of the device or its implications (apart from the potentially fantastic things it could do for academic publishing), but I ignore it at my own peril.
Sony’s e-book reader. A different ecosystem, one I haven’t investigated thoroughly yet, but which is apparently going to get a serious boost when Sony partners with Google to re-syndicate GooBooks content.
Encrypted PDFs. This is the low-rent version: make encrypted .PDFs available for people individually.
Unencrypted PDFs. This is the even more low-rent version: make .PDFs available to those who want it without any restrictions.
One underlying assumption is that people will still be willing to pay for printed copies no matter what else happens. I’m confident that’ll continue to be the case for a while to come, but I would really hate to be proven cruelly wrong in that regard.
There may be other avenues I haven’t explored yet, so if you can think of others, do mention them here.