There has been an awful lot of talk lately about changes to the publishing industry. A lot of articles about publishing being a dinosaur, how it's just not working, how it MUST change and how new technology offers new methods of distribution and on and on.

Okay, so all this will affect my writing and publishing, I guess, but what I really want to know is, how will these changes affect my reading?

I read about 30 novels a year. I buy about 10 – usually hardcovers and trade paperbacks.

About 10 are given to me – there were a whole bunch in the Bouchercon bag (though I'll only read 3 or 4 of those), I review 2-3 a year for the Toronto Star, friends give me some and one of the perks of being an author is that my publisher lets me pick books out of their catalogue.

I take about 10 books out of the library. Some years I take out more, but I only read about 10 of them.

So, how will all these changes to the publishing industry affect me? I'd like to read more books but availability isn't the problem – hours in the day is the problem. Unfortunately, no amount of changes to technology will increase the hours in the day for me.

I can see how free downloads could replace the books I take out of the library – though I like my local branch, it's a friendly place and I've discovered some great books through the staff there. I guess bloggers could replace the staff as far as recomendations go, I've certainly found some great books through bloggers.

People will be able to email me more books and the give-aways at Bouchercon may become e-books on cool thumb drives or something if that's cheaper so there may be more of those. So, I may acquire more books this way, but I won't have more time to read.

And I'd still like to buy books. Sometimes I like to get them autographed.

So, what will change?

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Right. I also love my filled bookshelves and keep buying more for mor books.

But the idea above of offering inexpensive e-book versions of a new author to establish his/her following sounds like a better way of marketing than sending out hardcover novels without any promotion whatsoever.
I read about a dozen books at a time, get several from the library each month, and listen to a lot of books on tape. It takes me 35 to 45 minutes to get to work each way, so I have lots of time to listen. It helps a lot when I'm stuck in traffic or don't want to listen to the commercials on the radio. I also like to read cheap paperbacks when I'm soaking in the tub, so I certainly don't want to be holding onto an electrical book and worry about getting it wet. I also get tired of staring at the computer all day long, so don't like to read online books. I also like to read to relax at night before bed, so I prefer the large print books as it's easier on my eyes. I did try to listen to "Phantom of the Opera" as a MP3 book, but the headphones kept falling out of my ears when I was doing my house chores, so I wasn't too keen on it. And I don't think women should have their ears full of noise when walking around in public (at least the ones who consider their safety). So, I think the new media supplements the old, not totally replaces it. At least in my opinion. Besides, I don't see that the new electronic books can display pictures yet (that I've seen demoed). And there will always be a place for that lovely coffeetable or art instruction book. That's my opinion, anyway. I plan to go to the bookstore Tuesday and purchase two books as Christmas gifts: A nice book with beautiful pictures for my cousin and a book for my old high school friend who is expecting a hardcover of some type each year. Dawn PS. Despite readership being down, there's always the big exception, such as "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" and "The DaVinci Code". We just have to keep trying to write the very best books we can.

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