My husband sent me a link to an article on io9: Why Science Fiction is Where The Action is for E-Books. The article links to a post at Wired: Why Big Publishers Think Genre Fiction Like Sci-Fi Is the Future of E-Books.
After reading the io9 article, I went to the one on Wired. What I first noticed was the shift in emphasis in the titles. Like science fiction and Sci-Fi are not the same thing. But since io9’s tag line is “We come from the future”, I guess you can’t blame them.
Io9’s post makes some good points:
The Kindle and other e-readers are the perfect places to publish pulpy, quick-reading works that keep you flipping pages to find out next. And they’re also the perfect receptacles for the throwaway books that you don’t necessarily need to keep on your physical shelf forever to let guests know how clever you are.
While in some ways that seems to demean science fiction, I don’t really think it does. At least I hope it doesn’t. It seems to me that it is saying that science fiction books are entertainment. And that is good enough for me. I am currently reading On Basilisk Station by David Weber, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It is entertainment at its finest.
Io9 also makes another good point about the connection between ebooks and science fiction:
But there’s also the fact that science fiction readers are early adopters of technology…
So the fit is a natural one.
The Wired article talks about the new digital imprints set up by the big publishers. All of them, according to the article, are genre-specific. The article offers a number of explanations for the genre-specific focus, including this explanation from Liate Stehlik of Harper Collins:
I think the audience that gravitated to eBooks first really was that voracious reader, reading for entertainment, reading multiple books in a month across multiple genres.
I know that really describes me and my reading — although I was not really an early adopter. I know I really appreciate the ease with which I can get books in all the different genre I read. In the very small town where I am living at the moment, there are no bookstores; I would have to depend on Walmart if I wanted to buy a book and start reading it today. There isn’t even a used book store in town. Ebooks make my reading habit a lot easier to support.
Stehlik is also quoted as saying:
For us, it’s the first time in about fifteen years that we’ve actually increased the number of authors and books that we’re publishing. It’s a great opportunity for us to grow our list, and our reach.
That is very good news for authors and for readers alike. Hopefully the trend will continue.
Note: This somehow was saved as a draft rather than being published. Not sure why I had so much trouble with it, but I did.