Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why E-Books?

There are two fundamental and essential reasons why I have chosen to publish my work as e-books rather than as hardcover printed books.

The most important reason involves the concept and practice of freedom of expression. As I point out on this site in About Author, I have been writing professionally for thirty years, first in mainstream journalism and then on my own in various capacities including authoring seven novels.

I assiduously applied myself to having those novels published by established publishing houses, including Knopf, Bantam, Ballantine, Soho Press, and many others. None of these publishers would have expressed interest in my work and interviewed me personally if they didn't think the quality of the writing and story telling was not of a high quality and worthy of publication.

The perennial point of contention and separation in each and every case ws their inability to understand and appreciate why I was writing about what I was writing about -- racism, Draconian drug laws, intentionally skewed national economic policies to favor the few over the many -- and how all these things add up to creating a cultural tinderbox of race and class relations in our society that in my lifetime has always seemed on the verge of flaring into an uncontrollable firestorm of violence.

In regards to publishing The Kripalu Story, I found a similar dynamic at work. Literary agents and publishers who knew I enjoyed a professional and personal relationship with Yogi Amrit Desai were eager to entice me to exploit that relationship by providing them with personal analysis of his shortcomings. But all the money in the world could not make me write about Yogi Desai -- or any one else for that matter -- as though I could possibly know what was going on in their hearts and minds at the time they were acting duplicitous. I describe the events as they happened and allow Yogi Desai to express his thoughts and feelings bout them. I believe it is up to the reader to form their own opinions about him and his actions, not follow mine.

Another important reason for publishing these works as e-books is economy and ecology. My novels are available at on-line bookstores on average for about $35.00. They are available as e-books on my website for $10.00. If the Kripalu Story were printed, mass produced, and distributed by a book publisher it would cost between $25.00 and $35.00. It's available at 32 Beach Productions for $15.00.

There is also a significant savings of energy by publishing books electronically. The standard high cost of (over)producing books is rendered obsolete by the practice of ordering books on demand as wanted. And it removes the very costly practice of physically transporting books.

In the end, there is nothing to lose by purchasing books digitally. The books are professionally formatted and edited. Plus, you are also helping to promote and maintain independent-minded expression as well as conserving your own finances.

Most large book and music publishing companies started out small with the purpose of producing fresh, new work. Then as they grew, financial pressures caused them to lose sight of their original purpose in order to produce works that could more easily and quickly turn a profit.

Small arts production companies have always been the lifeblood of artistic life and community in America, and I am hoping and working hard to make 32 Beach Productions a part of that vital tradition. For the reasons I've already pointed to above, e-books will play an important role in enabling a Renaissance of freedom of expression. E-books are the wave of the future in book publishing. Get ahead of the curve and embrace them now.

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