Three Questions: Part Seven

Behold, we have reached the 7th and final response to the three question email interview I sent out to publishing luminaries this past January! Tremble before the wisdom now accumulated upon this mighty blog! Tremble!

We end with our beloved old pal and famed YA fiction author Geoff Herbach!

1) Do you see electronic books and print books ultimately co-habituating peacefully together in the marketplace, each with their particular consumer base? If so, how do you see the market's share of readers being sliced up in, say, ten years from now?

Yeah, I think books will continue to exist in book form. They're really pleasing, you know? They feel nice in your hand and they look pretty on shelves. My son Leo and I rolled past Treehouse Records this morning and they had a half-price vinyl sale going and there was a line out the door. Vinyl records please in the same way books do. I think e-books will have the lion-share in 10 years, though.

2) A physical book already seems like a perfect technology to me. Why do you think so many readers have embraced reading long novels on electronic platforms when their days (and nights) are already dominated by electronic devices such as iPads, laptops, cell phones, etc.?

I read a lot on my iPad, Dave. I carry it every where I go. I have books for school on it. Books I want to read but haven't yet but hope to find time to get into. The book I am reading currently. Favorite books I want to quote from in class. Three of my own books I use when I do readings at middle schools and high schools. I'd have to hire a donkey to carry all that with me. Also, it is back-lit so Steph, my wife, can sleep easily while I read. I love the feel of a book in my hands, but I love my iPad, too. I read more because I have it. Also, if I'm inspired to read a book I don't have, I can get it in a matter of minutes. I know, despicable, but I love it.

3) How much power do you think marketing departments in traditional main stream publishing houses have over what books (and the authors
behind them) rise and fall in the marketplace? A jaded mid-list author might feel that even fiction books are now being set up to either suceed or fail from the moment their initial print run.

I think marketing departments at these places are hugely powerful (more so than acquiring editors). It's a terrible time to be an author (if you expect to earn more than a few thousand bucks) (unless you're predisposed to write a certain kind of book). I think your jaded mid-list author is not so much jaded as totally right and I don't know what to do.


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