Jerry Peterson writes crime novels set in Kansas, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Early’s Fall, his current novel, features Kansas Sheriff James Early – the Early in the title – and takes place in 1949. Early’s Winter, the second book in the series, will be out next month.
Peterson will follow that with Thou Shalt Not Murder, a new crime novel series set in Tennessee. Book 1, The Watch, will be out in September and Book 2, Rage, later in the year.
Before becoming a writer, Peterson taught speech, English and theater in Wisconsin high schools, then worked in communications for farm organizations for a decade in Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas and Colorado. He followed that with a decade as a reporter, photographer, and editor for newspapers in Colorado, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee.
Jerry, thanks for joining us today.
Where Are We Going in the Book Biz? by Jerry Peterson
Jim Strauss, who wrote for the Fox television show “House” – Jim lives in Lake Geneva, not far from where I live in southern Wisconsin – tells everyone you can’t afford to buy his novel, “The Boy”. It’s out-of-print. But a seller named Book At That will sell you an autographed, inscribed, and dated copy of “The Boy” for $199.98.
You can buy my book, Early’s Fall, on Amazon for a little as a penny, used copies that dealers have acquired from libraries.
Breaktime Books advertises its copy as “a good book at a great price.” That price, a penny.
Bayside Books says its copy is gently used.
Don’t you like that? “This book has been gently used.”
Bayside’s price, too, is a penny.
Of course, you can buy Early’s Fall new at full retail from Amazon for $25.95.
Or you can buy the sole copy that the Atlanta Book Company has in inventory for $111.12 plus $3.99 shipping. The description says it’s an ex-library book that will contain library markings. “Light wear to edges and pages. Cover and spine show no easily noticeable damage.”
Know what I’m thinking?
I’m thinking ABC’s owner is betting I’m going to die, and his copy of my book will become a hot collector’s item.
All right, what’s going on in the book biz?
It’s no secret, the book business is going electronics.
Money is driving it, friends. For a publisher, you no longer have to have a warehouse. You don’t have to maintain an inventory. There’s nothing you have to ship around the country. Your costs for producing an ebook are just a whole lot less than that for producing a print book.
With that savings, you can buy five, six, seven, or eight more ebooks . . . and many of us do.
We can put a library of books on an e-reader. And take them anywhere we wish, and read them when we get there or on the way . . . as long as we keep our e-reader’s battery charged.
With a Nook – that’s what I have – I can write notes in the margins of the book I’m reading. Even better, I can search my book by key words to find passages I want to reread.
With a Nook, I own the book I’ve downloaded from the Nook store. I can “give” it to someone else. If I own a Kindle, I kind of lease the book; I can’t give it to someone else, at least not easily.
Income from ebook sales topped that of hardcover sales in the first quarter of this year – the first time this has ever happened – according to data released by the American Association of Publishers last week.
Year-to-date sales show ebooks are up 28 percent from this time last year, while adult hardcover books sales crept up only a modest 2.7 percent – in England, they’re down 6 percent – and, look at this, trade paperback sales dropped 10 percent and mass-market paperback sales dropped 20 percent.
Why? The millions of e-readers that friends and family gave as Christmas gifts last year. People gave more than 4 million Kindles as gifts and something like 2 million Nooks, the Kindle numbers courtesy of Internet Retailer.com.
Today, about a third of us own either a tablet or an e-reader . . . and 9 percent of us have both.
But the surprise for me is that, while an equal number of men and women own tablet computers, more women than men own e-readers – 21 percent versus 16 percent, numbers derived from a Pew Research survey.
Perhaps we men aren’t as eager to give up real books as women appear to be.
But the real truth is more women read books, particularly fiction, than do we men.
Jerry, I'm just getting my second traditionally-published-but-out-of-print mystery ready for Kindle and Nook, and it feels good to know I no longer have to rely on someone else to keep me in print. I have both a basic Kindle e-reader and a Nook tablet. The two together weigh lots less than the books and laptop I used to lug around on trips. Thanks for sharing this additional information with us today.
To learn more about Jerry and Early's Fall, visit his website and his blog. Jerry also can be found on Facebook with his regular page , a page for Jerry Peterson, wordslinger, the Early's Winter page and his Jerry Peterson Mysteries page.