(Image: Eirik Newth, Flickr)
One thing I'm hoping to talk to publishers and writers about at WorldCon is what they're doing/planning to do about ebooks.
I've heard a range of theories on ebooks: some people believe they're going to save the industry; others believe they will spell disaster for mid-level authors.
Like many things, the truth probably lies somewhere inbetween. John Birmingham says that maybe you'll have cheap, low-end ebook readers for text, but really lavish books with lots of art/illustration will need to be viewed on something like an iPad.
The other thing I'd like to get a handle on is the state of play with DRM. Is there a format war in progress? Which are the dominant formats? How many publishers are ditching DRM altogether with a view to staking a larger claim on the market.
I'm looking on this with avid interest. I can definitely see the value in ebook readers. I like to read authors such as Birmingham and Stephen King, who don't bother putting out books unless they're over 500 pages. :) And, no offence to either writer, but in many cases I could live without having a dead-tree edition. I like the idea of being able to search text.
What I don't want to happen is 'buy' a book, only to find I can't do with it what I want to do with it. What I don't want to happen is buy an ebook reader only to find I can't get the titles I want due to some DRM format war.
Authors such as Cory Doctorow have repeatedly raised concerns over DRM and the control it gives to distributors over publishers and writers.
"Any time someone puts a lock on something you own, against your wishes, and doesn't give you the key, it's not being done to your benefit."
What I'm hoping to learn while I'm at WorldCon is whether or not speculative fiction publishers are leading the way here. And if not, why not.
So, please, let me pick your brains! Send me your links to interesting ebook articles. Who's leading the way with this stuff? Who do I need to talk to at WorldCon? And what should I ask them! Leave a comment or contact me on Twitter.