There are certain rites of passage that one always remembers. First date. First kiss. First job. First child. First published book. Well, most people remember these dates. Oddly enough, I have no idea when I became a published writer. One day, about a month before More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire were to appear simultaneously in print, I happened to notice they were available as ebooks on my publisher’s website. How long had they been there? I don’t know. One moment I was an unpublished writer, the next moment I was published, and I didn’t even know the transformation had occurred. Shouldn’t it have been a momentous occasion? Shouldn’t such a milestone have caused a ripple in my life, a change? Shouldn’t it be a date I could celebrate?
There was a time when being epublished would not have qualified one to be considered a published writer, but that time has passed. I don’t see print books dying out any time soon, but one day, there will be more ebooks than dead tree books. Although e-books are 1.5% of the total book market, ebook sales grew 125% overall in 2008. And surprisingly e-book sales grew 183% among seniors aged 65+ and 174% among seniors aged 55-65.
One thing about ebooks that makes me want to cheer is that ebooks are not pulped. About 25% of all print books produced by the major houses are pulped because of over production and lack of warehouse space. Such a sacrilege! When someone mentions book-burning, people get upset, but if you mention book pulping, ho-hum, it’s business as usual. No one cares. I have a hunch in the not too distant future most books will be digitally printed as needed, perhaps even in the bookstores themselves. Or they will be sold as ebooks. It’s too much of a waste to throw away 25% of a product.
It pleases me to know that none of my books will ever be pulped. Daughter Am I, my recently released young woman/old gangsters coming-of-age tale, was published on October 15, 2009 as both an ebook and a digitally printed book. That date I know! The Kindle edition still isn’t available, but I’m anxiously awaiting that publication. It will be another milestone to celebrate. Another momentous date to remember.
Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Daughter Am I is Bertram’s third novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.