Pipe Dreams: Chapter Seventeen

Pipe Dreams: An Autobiography


Traditional publishing is in decline, bookshops and libraries are closing. This is mostly due to modern technology which has given us electronic books.
Many of my friends possess an e-reader, Amazon’s Kindle seems to be the most popular but many similar products are hitting the market and doubtless there will be more to follow.
Like many traditional readers I would not consider any alternative to a printed and bound book in my hands. However, I do not dispute the advantages of an e-reader. One can download a virtual library, carry it in your pocket wherever you go and read it on a train, a hotel room, on the beach or anywhere that you have the opportunity to read.
It is a big bonus for writers and, whilst not a personal fan of these products, I cannot argue against its benefits. There were those early days when I was having 3 and 4 book contracts virtually thrown at me but then came single book contracts, a reduction in sales and, even with a superb track record, problems in finding a publisher.
Now, for myself and many other well-known authors, the good times are back and getting better. E-books are cheap to buy and royalty rates far higher than ever.
Again I am grateful to the Ellett family. First to Pat for her typing, then Fred for his tobacco growing input and now to their son Phil. Not only does Phil offer a wide range of technical services but his expertise in creating and marketing e-books (as Scan2ebook.com) is quite amazing. He and Fred have built a scanner which enables him to scan a book in a fraction of the time it would take to sit and turn pages.
So, virtually all of my books from my first in 1974, through to my latest are available for downloading.
Of course this electronic facility enables anyone to publish their books regardless of quality. There is, and always will be, rubbish out there, badly written drivel which nobody wants to read. It simply won’t be downloaded. Equally it gives new, talented authors a platform to ‘get their work out there!’
However, for myself and doubtless many other writers who have proved their worth in the days of traditional publishing, their sales will be excellent. I have no doubt that with future technology this will get even better.
Only time will tell.

Print On Demand

In addition to e-books there are Print-on-Demand services available so the opportunity to read a ‘proper’ book has not been lost forever. It is there, available to authors and complementary to e-books so the best of both worlds can be enjoyed.
We use Amazon and I can only compliment them upon the quality and rapid turnaround provided by their POD service, and at a reasonable cost.
So, this is the new face of publishing. I feel that we have only scratched the surface so far.

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