Saturday, August 7, 2010

BOOK NEWS: Dorchester Publishing no longer producing mass market paperbacks

It seems that e-readers are doing to books what MP3s did to CDs years ago.

In September 2010, Dorchester Publishing, the publisher of Leisure horror books, will cease publication of mass market paperbacks, replacing them with e-books and print-on-demand trade paperback copies.

I've been a subscriber to the Leisure Horror Book Club for a couple of years now and I'm pretty upset about these changes. First of all, I'm not fond of trade paperbacks. They're more expensive (Leisure has already stated they'll cost $15.00 vs. the $7.99 they cost now), too big to fit in my purse (I always carry a paperback with me) and won't fit on my horror bookshelves, which consist of mostly paperbacks.

Secondly, I don't have an e-reader yet. I was planning on asking for an e-reader for my birthday or Christmas this year, but I don't know how much I will like it. Sure, it has advantages like being able to carry hundreds of books with you, being able to buy and read books instantly without leaving your house, cheaper books (sometimes), saving paper and being more lightweight than most books, but it also has some disadvantages.

First of all, how long do they last? I drop books all the time, splash water on them and they get pretty beat up in my purse. I don't know how long an e-reader could sustain through all the punishment I give to my paperbacks. Secondly, owning an e-book isn't the same as owning a real book. I won't be able to display my books on a shelf with the rest of my horror collection and it will feel like I don't really own them. Thirdly, grabbing a book and reading it is so simple. It doesn't need to be needlessly complicated by having to charge your e-reader or load books onto it.

I don't think that an e-reader could ever replace the feel of a book in a reader's hands. But I guess I shouldn't say that until I try one.

What are your opinions on e-readers? Are my complaints valid? Or are e-readers just as good as reading a regular book?


Daisy Harris said...

I LOVE my Kindle! But lately I almost always use my Kindle App for iPhone instead. We have a small house, so no room for books anyway. I've never ordered trade paperbacks, so I don't know the issues, but they may get hammered out in the future.

I owned a first gen Kindle and though it survives the occasional splash of water from the tub, it did break when I dropped it. My newer one i got for X-mas is much tougher, plus they cave covers for them like iPhones. (I don't use a cover and my Kindle survives being mostly used by my kids.)

I say, don't knock it till you try it. e-Readers are great, and just as much fun to curl up with in front of my TV-fireplace as a real book.

jmcozzoli said...

It's easier to carry a mess of books on an e-reader. Searching, marking up, it's easier, so for college text books especially (and all those horror analysis books), it really provides a good learning experience and reading one.

But you're right: no smell, feel, texture, and collection of tomes to appreciate. Especially with horror magazines, I like to collect them. But maybe having an electronic library will be a better thing.

For instance, I envision most mass market mags/books hitting e-ink, but special editions, value-added ones, will still be printed. And those will be more fun to collect and cherish on a shelf.

At least I hope it goes that way. I'm about to get the digital Rue Morgue instead of print versions: let's see how long that will last for me.

Mick Sims said...

I am interested in this for 2 reasons. I am from the UK - that's NOT one of the reasons! - and I am currently on vacation in Florida. I read about 15 books usually and to cut down on weight I bought a Kindle. I've already read the books I downloaded onto it - but with the wireless connection to Amazon I have bought a few more in less than five minutes.

I invested in a leather case - from Amazon - and using that improves the experience. It helps to have a cover to hold and also protects the Kindle. Reading is easy and having read books for over fifty years I have found the transition painless.

I agree they will never replace the feel of a book. I collect old ghost and horror books and the smell and touch of a book, and the thrill of finding a lost gem in a second hand store is priceless.

My second reason is that I am a Leisure author. I wonder how this will affect things going forwards. My fourth novel - Night Souls - has just come out. What will happen if they take a fifth from me?

The future beckons

error7zero said...

I try to support small presses. Cemetery Dance, Subterranean, Gauntlet, etc. I have dozens of Hard Case titles, published by Dorchester.
I haven't purchased a Kindle yet. My suspicion is that I won't value Kindle books as much as those on my bookshelves.
Is there a difference between a natural book and a virtual book? Between a friend you have lunch with, and a Facebook friend?
Time moves on, however. I'll buy books as long as I can. Yet I suspect books, CDs, magazines, DVD's, and US Postal mail will be gone in 20 years or less.

Michele (TheGirlWhoLovesHorror) said...

That's bullcheese! I certainly understand the convenience of having a little thin thing as opposed to 25 paperbacks, but it's so much better to have an actual book in your hand. Oops! I dropped my Kindle! Now I have buy 25,000 books again. There's definite downsides to technology taking over the world.

Melissa Helwig said...

Daisy - It's good to hear that you can read it in the tub (that was one of my biggest concerns), but I'm still worried about dropping it. I guess I would just have to be careful. I think I'll jump on the bandwagon and try one.

jmcozzoli - Cool, they have a digital edition of Rue Morgue? Yeah, I think that I'll get an e-reader but still buy copies of special editions or other books that I want to add to my collection.

Mick - Ah you're M.P.N. Sims? Nice to meet you! Yeah, being able to carry multiple books at a time is a plus. I doubt I could read more than two books while on vacation - definitely nowhere near 15! If you can get used to it after reading books for 50 years, I'm sure I can too. As a Leisure author what will you do now? Stay with them or go to a different publisher?

error7zero - Yeah, I would too if I could afford it but those are too expensive for me. I like Leisure Horror because they publish great authors like Brian Keene and Jack Ketchum for cheap. Haha, I like your analogy of a friend you have lunch with vs. a Facebook friend.

TheGirlWhoLovesHorror - Haha, I know! That's what I'm worried about if I get one.

Phantom of Pulp said...

I love books. I love their smell and feel and simple nature.

I've been upset for weeks about Dorchester moving to e-Books.

I don't own an e-reader and don';t feel inclined to buy one.

The Dorchester authors will suffer more than the readers, I feel.

Very sad.

Anonymous said...

What about the Fresh Blood comp! Fingers crossed for the winner! I hope the winner and all the other Dorchester authors come out of this okay!