5 Comments

Of Easter and Ebooks

 

Before I begin, I want to take a moment to reflect on the fact this post finds you on what should be the biggest day of the year, by Christian standards. I’m humbled to be the person whose post graces this page on the Sunday of Sundays—Easter. (Or Resurrection Sunday, depending on where you go to church and what jargon they’re using.)

 I wish we, as a culture, gave as much attention to the Easter season as we do to the chunk of the year that stretches from October through the beginning of January. (Formerly known as the Christmas season, but has now been broadened to The Holidays.) I challenge you Christians who read this…find your way to give Easter its due. Part of that may involve taking a step back from Christmas and making less of it. Not a popular stance, I know, but let’s face it…what could we possibly do on Easter Sunday, or even the entire holy week before, to top the spectacle Christmas has become?

And yet, Easter has so much potential in terms of emotional breadth, from the agonizing anticipation of Holy Thursday, where we can place ourselves in the garden of Gethsemane, doing our best to stay awake with our Lord, to the deep mourning of that hour when the earth shook, when those without a heaven’s eye view fled a lost battle. And finally, what greater joy and triumph to celebrate that not even death can stand in the way of the divine purpose of our risen Savior. There’s a lot of material there waiting for us to work it into a season of remembrance, thanksgiving, and jubilant rejoicing.

 I pray you and yours will reflect on the multifaceted emotional experience of Easter and be blessed many times over because you did.

And now, for my un-Easter related post I put together earlier this week when I was distracted from realizing the significance of the date it would run…

Beyond the Ebook

One of the most energized conversations that occurred while I was at David Wolverton’s (aka David Farland) Novel Rewriting workshop over the past week was the discussion of the future of traditional publishing and trends those on the inside are smelling on the wind.

 Now not much of this, beyond details and statistics I didn’t commit to memory, is new information, really. The handwriting has been on the wall for several years that the model big publishing houses are using is a broken one. Jeff Gerke has spoken on it, as did Chip MacGregor at last year’s ACFW conference. The number of books being sold in electronic formats is growing. It only comprises about 25% of the market right now, so publishers can’t just drop their print lines as assume they will survive—not yet. But the ebook phenomenon is one publishers will have to embrace to survive.

 But something I’ve heard a few folks talking about that has me pretty excited is the concept of the “enhanced ebook.” A quick Google search will show you that nobody really knows what this is, because it doesn’t exist yet—at least not in the form pioneers of the concept are proposing. It doesn’t help that the concept gives many literary purists the shivers, like it’s a really big slug has just climbed onto their backs as they sunbathe by the lake.

 Why would it irk the purists? Because the enhanced ebook is a product aimed solely at the masses—people who read for entertainment first. In many ways, it will behave a lot like a book, a movie trailer, a magazine hyper-focused on your area of interest, the bonus material that right now comes with DVD box  sets, and an audio/visual experience all rolled into one. The written word will not be alone in this format, and for some, that will be a turn off. For many, it will be a “coolness” factor that will add value to ebooks, and hopefully help authors and publishers defeat the $2.99 principal that currently dominates the ebook market.

 Because I have film and animation background, I have to admit, I get excited when people start talking about merging books with other media. Does it cheapen the value of the written word to pair it with video enhancements? Not in my opinion. The content will still have to pass muster to make it into this format. Will people who don’t normally shop for hardback books be drawn to the concept of enhanced ebooks? They just might.

 It’s all a guessing game for now, but it’s a guessing game in which I want to be riding shotgun as it hits the gas. Life gives me plenty of areas where I’ve felt I’m chasing after the rear bumper of the concept and just trying to catch hold. I fully intend to do everything I can to be in the right place at the right time as the ebook phenomenon evolves. I have a sneaking suspicion my future as an author hinges on it.

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About Rebecca Minor

Rebecca P Minor draws perspective from her pursuit of various art forms, including writing, drawing, and music (singing mostly, though there was a time when a trombone figured in.) A 1997 graduate from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Becky earned a BFA in animation. Since then, she has worked as a character animator, a freelance artist, an art teacher, and most importantly, a wife to her husband Scott and mother of three boys. She is in the process of republishing her current body of work. The first installment of The Windrider Saga, Divine Summons, is available as an ebook novella on Amazon. She also has short stories available under the umbrella of The Windrider Canticles.

5 comments on “Of Easter and Ebooks

  1. First, I agree with you, Becky. Easter seems to stand in the shadow of Christmas. My family has chosen to pretty much cast off the commercial side of Easter. I can deal with Christmas being about both Jesus’ birth and Santa Claus, because it’s about giving. We don’t let it become a commercial circus, but I think Jesus wants us to celebrate His birthday with gifts and love given freely to each other. Easter however, has a different meaning for us, and while we do an egg hunt, that’s as far as it goes. For us, Easter is about the Cross, and the Empty Tomb.

    Second, I can’t say I’m quite on the bandwagon with the multi-media book thing. I do like ebooks–I have a Nook and love, love, love it. But, I’m not crazy about most book trailers–to me the multi-media thing distracts me from the written word. Heck, even interior book illustrations do that for me. BUT, I can see how it’s going to be a big thing among mainstream, entertainment-only readers. And I can see it as something that would appeal to someone like my son, who completely shies from reading fiction, but might consider it if there were “features” added onto and worked into novels. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what books and publishing are like in the years to come.

    Great post(s). 😀

    • It sounds like you’ve got good ficus in your house over the concept of Easter vs. Christmas, Kat. Especially in that both the cross and the empty tomb get their due, since one means nothing without the other.

      I totally understand where you are coming from, with the way you like your books about words only. I imagine, just like there are paperback and hardback versions of books available now, that you’ll be able to buy your ebooks enhanced or not, and have a different price point for each. So maybe a “words only” ebook comes in at that magical $2.99, and the enhanced version goes for $9.99. I don’t know real numbers, of course, since I don’t have the brain to analyze the market, the outlay, and other factors that would determine asking price. It will be an interesting journey, as you said!

  2. I am completely with you on the Easter celebrations taking a backseat to Christmas. It makes no sense as a believer that it should be that way. I made Easter mine when we got married because I just never saw it celebrated as a family holiday growing up. I changed that. And I know it isn’t about that either, but I always felt it deserved the same recognition and effort I put into Christmas Eve. It’s now the biggest event of the year in my house (in therms of guests).

  3. My Dearest Becky,

    To me this seems like one of those chicken or the egg dilemmas. Which is more important, the fact that He came to us or that He served His purpose in life, Frankly I can’t choose.

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