Epublishing is unquestionably a vibrant opportunity for publishers and authors but because it is relatively new to the publishing world, it is still viewed with suspicion and disdain. Because digital publishing is seeking legitimacy with readers, writers, and others, it needs to step up its game. First, there is the barrier to entry. According to a recent poll at DearAuthor, 58% of the respondents said that they don’t read ebooks because they don’t have an ereading device and don’t want to read on the laptop. This means that whatever being offered in digital publishing isn’t strong enough to overcome this barrier to entry.
Second, there is the quality issue. 43% of poll respondents had purchased more than five ebooks but still maintained a perception that the quality of digitally published books is lower than the quality of NY print published books. I believe this is due to a couple of things. First, it is fairly easy for anyone to start up an epublishing business these days particularly if the impetus is to publish works no one else will obtain.
Second, there is a certain segment of digital publishing that is publishing porn under the guise of romance thereby diluting the brand of serious romance digital publishers. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with publishing porn and profiting from it. I do have a problem with digital publishers coopting the romance genre for the sole purpose of attracting the large buying segment without actually delivering romance. Porn publishers should own up to what they are publishing and be measured against other porn publishers.