The return of the dime novel.

by Moe Lane on August 7, 2013

Well… more accurately, the return of the three buck to five buck novel. Inflation, don’t you know. Still, the principle is sound: we are definitely now seeing a renaissance of cheap, essentially disposible, genre fiction. That’s half because of the Kindle, and half because of the people who are playing gatekeeper right now; we’ll look at both.

The Kindle stuff is easy to note: thanks largely to the big publishing companies previously engaged in trying to keep e-books at the same price as print books (which was and is, by the way, nonsensical), Amazon.com was amenable to user-generated content. Cheap user-generated content; you gave them the books, they sold copies, they took their cut at a level that drives regular publishers nuts but isn’t actually that big a deal for genre authors who aren’t getting published anyway (more on that later). Whether or not this changes, now that the publishing companies in question lost their lawsuits (notice how suddenly all the prices for mainstream publisher books’ Kindle editions went down, across the board?)… well, there’s an established market now. That sort of thing has inertia.

Plus, one thing that the aforementioned lawsuits did not change was… well, I would be blunter about this if I wanted to write this next week, when I have my regular computer with all of its bookmarks and browser history; but since I’m on vacation let me just suggest instead that there is a whispered consensus that if you’re conservative then you’d better hope that Baen has a space free on its publishing calendar. If you want a physical copy of your book, that is. If you don’t then there’s always Amazon.

Which, honestly, is where I find most of the new authors that I read. Proofreading is a problem, to be sure. So is the lack of an editor, sometimes. But a six buck price tag covers a multitude of sins, and if that bugs some of the self-appointed gatekeepers then let me just gently remind them that it’s my money, not theirs, and if I want to read embarrassingly (to them) pulp fiction then that’s my privilege. They don’t have to sell it to me; I don’t have to buy what they do sell. That’s how it works.

Plus, e-books don’t clutter up the house. Which is good. You try moving six thousand books, sometimes?

Moe Lane

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: