Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Report of ebook deletions.

This past week Amazon came under serious criticism involving the removal of purchased books from their customer's Kindle reading devices. Here's an article in case you haven't heard about it.
Many readers and writers were instantly appalled, most believing the copies of books they purchased--no matter the format--belonged to them. It wasn't an issue of money; Amazon did credit customers for deleted books. For others, this is a matter of security or a form of censorship. How dare they delete books from my device? How dare they tell me what books I can own or read?

In lieu of the objections, Amazon has apologized.

The question now remains: what happens to ebooks in general? Potential backlash effects are a loss of reader trust in electronic and digital formats. This could result in fewer sales of both ebook readers and books, which translates into fewer stories accepted for electronic publication. Hopefully people will realize this was one distributor's mistake but already many chatters and bloggers have mentioned reconsidering buying a reader, most often citing the Kindle as the one they will avoid.

Ebook sales have been on the rise pretty consistently throughout this economic downturn. Unfortunately, we may have to work a little harder on the writing and publishing side of this business to overcome hestiations brought on by this mistake.
Maybe I'm being pessimistic by expecting some fall out. I'd love to see this become a minor bump in the road. I suppose time will indeed tell.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Books with Soundtracks

Last Sunday our TWC chat guest author was Catherine Asaro. She brought with her a musician named Donald Wolcott. Why? Because her latest book, Diamond Star has a soundtrack which goes with it. Yes, Cathrine sings on the CD accompanied by a group called Point Valid. Both the book and CD are available now.

Music and reading have been paired together in the past:

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were later put to musical scores. A project called "Sine Fiction" created soundtracks to novels by Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. However, in all these cases the music was done years after the books saw popularity.

Kids books often come with tapes to read along or sing along. It seems natural for adults to want the same, yet we don’t often take on such creative projects.
Here’s a few I found:

More recently, Ursula K. LeGuin’s1985 novel Always Coming Home originally came in a box set: a paperback with an audiocassette entitled Music and Poetry of the Kesh, featuring three performances of poetry, and ten musical compositions by Todd Barton.

In comics, Daniel Clowes' graphic novel Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron had an official soundtrack album. The 10 track CD was released on the Jenkins-Peabody label. Here’s a blog with a Hensley interview about this graphic novel and its music:

Now on the flip side, rock band ShowBread just released two albums, one called Anorexia and one called Nervosa. (Each album is about a sister.) Instead of lyrics in the booklets, there are short stories. You listen to the album while you read the stories and there's small time marks to tell you where in the music you should be.

So many writers create their own soundtracks to write by. I do. The songs all have a theme in their sound and lyrics which reflect the mood and characters of the book I’m writing. It seems strange to me that more books and music have not been packaged together. Heck, many of the book stores carry both so why not together? That’s much more of an experience for the reader/listener than either medium on its own. I look forward to seeing more.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,