Thursday, September 27, 2012

Let's Celebrate the Re-emergence of the Indie Bookstore! Are We Crazy?

By now it is no secret what has happened to both publishing and the retail book market over the past thirty years or so. Publishers moved furiously to a bottom line philosophy, replacing longtime editors with fresh-faced accountants, and the result over time has been the steady decline of more literary titles in favor of mass market genre books. The result of this shift gave rise to big box stores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, among others, which in turn precipitated a steady decline in the number of local independent bookstores. In fact, fifteen years ago there were no less than thirty thousand independent bookstores operating in the United States; today there are about ten thousand - a two thirds mortality rate! So why do we at Open Books detect a re-emergence of the independent book seller?

It is no secret what happened to Borders, now in chapter 11 bankruptcy. Many reasons exist for the failure of this once powerhouse retailer. Some blame the emergence of the eBook and Borders' lackluster effort to implement a viable eBook business. Others understand that the company's rapid (global) expansion took place too fast and without adequate market research. But there may be another reason for their failure lurking below those more surface analyses. It is our position as a small publisher that such big box stores are simply not providing enough of the products that people actually want to buy. What's more, there may be a service deficit as well, as many book buyers have complained that the staff in such stores is simply not as knowledgeable as those found in quality independent stores. Whether or not other big box retailers will survive the factors here noted hangs in the balance, although it is not hard to determine from their own shareholder reports (as well as other sources available to the public) that they too are indeed under stress.

Meantime, a few very well managed independent bookstores are flourishing. The Tattered Cover in Denver and Powell's in Portland are legendary, but even more interesting are stores such as The Literary Book Post in (of all places) Salisbury, North Carolina, Common Good Books (Garrison Keilor's store) in St. Paul, Minnesota, Moby Dickens in Taos, New Mexico, and many others. These stores, rather than contracting, or even succumbing to the pressures imposed by chain stores, have actually expanded as they have learned to draw buyers from outside their geographical areas. The big question, of course, is why these stores have not only managed to survive but actually grown; and the answer that we can determine as we talk continually with the owners is that they simply provide the products, and even more importantly the services, that the reading public finds lacking in the chain stores. It's true that the cappuccino might not be as good, but if you are looking for that lesser known title or author that ultimately delights, then the indies are undoubtedly the place to shop.

So often, new concepts generate excitement, but it just may be that the reading public's fascination with one-size-fits-all bookstores has worn a bit thin. In essence, what good are 100,000 titles if the store does not have the one you want.

The trend toward big box book retailers certainly brought books to areas where previously the communities were under-served, but what it has also done is influence the publishing industry at large to publish more generic books,not to mention fewer new writers. Such a Wal-Mart mentality might be good for microwave ovens but it is disastrous for art. We believe readers are craving what they cannot find, and never will find, at these look-alike super stores, so they are returning, albeit slowly, to the independent stores where corporate buying through market research gives way to an honest search for quality and originality. And it is those books, we believe, whose time has come again; it is those books that keep loyal customers of the few independents remaining coming back time and again. Is this a backlash? We think so. We believe serious readers are tired of 500 shades of gray, and that they are desperately in search of living color.

Will we see the number of quality independent booksellers increasing in the coming years? We at Open Books think the transformation is already well underway, and we thank store owners and their staffs for staying true to the 'real' literary cause. You just can't keep good people with noble intentions down forever.  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Prose or Poetry?

When a writer has something vital to say that he considers important, what form should he choose to best express his thoughts and feelings?

Often the choice of form is obvious. Detailing a real life event usually suggests a nonfiction format. Retracing one's life, or a series of events during a lifetime, is usually written as a memoir. Fictional circumstances, or real circumstances with an imaginary twist, suggest a novel or a short story. Simple musings are best rendered as poetry. Yet we have all seen literary works that cross over. Sometimes these works are innovative and creative; sometimes they are confusing and seem to be shifting forms purely for the sake of novelty.

In October 2012, Open Books will publish Happy Ending by musician and writer David Rat. The book details the author's descent into heroin addiction and his subsequent reclamation. So far pretty standard, I admit. But this book is special for several reasons. Other than the author's colorful history as the drummer for the New York based Noise Rock band Rat At Rat R, David Rat has chosen to tell his memoir-like story in modern verse. Does it work? To our assessment, yes! Because Rat brings home the highly emotional nature of his story (and make no mistake, his story is certainly a dramatic one) home in a way that straight-forward prose may not have rendered. Happy Ending is due on October 1st, so be sure to get your copy, then you be the judge.

Open Books Editors

Friday, December 30, 2011

What's in Store for eBooks in 2012?

What's in store for eBooks in 2012? Wouldn't we all like to peer into a crystal ball for the answer to that question? As both a writer and a publisher, I'd like to make a few observations, as well as a few predictions.

Without a doubt, 2010 was a breakout year for eBooks. But that was apparently just the beginning. In 2011, the eBook revolution gained even more steam with some sellers and authors eclipsing 2010 sales by 300 per cent or more! My modest prediction is that this trend will continue in 2012 -- for some.

Of course one need not be a statistical genius to make such a prediction; a simple study of the industry's market analysts will tell you that the eBook revolution is still in the first quarter of a ten-year expansion that, when all is said and done, will see the sector grow by at least 2,500 per cent. And that's not only a lot of eBooks, but it represents a full circle, fundamental shift in the way literature is produced, published, distributed and sold. Not since the invention of Gutenberg's printing press has an advance in technology impacted not only what people read, but also how they read it.

Permit me, if you will, to relate a bit of history: During the first year that the printing press went into service printing books, the literacy level in Europe increased a whopping 20 per cent. Imagine that! Suddenly the thinkers and artists of the time enjoyed mass distribution, and the population benefited greatly. It is also very likely that that single invention was responsible for the Protestant Revolution, which forever changed the face of the Christian Church. No small feat.

Not insignificantly, something similar is underway with the production and distribution of eBooks. Not only has digital publishing opened the field to many more authors, but it has also enabled those once unable to acquire books to have them with the click of a mouse. It is difficult to argue the benefit to mankind. And it is also impossible to predict the impact such a development might have on world culture.

Yet, if you regularly log onto Facebook or other social media, and your passion is books and literature, it may seem to you as if suddenly everyone is a writer with an eBook to sell. And it's true! With the emergence of open source publishing such as Smashwords, Amazon KDP or Banes & Noble’s PubIt, virtually anyone can publish an eBook and offer it to the world via these powerful retailer/publishers. So the days when a manuscript went through a stringent vetting process at the hands of an established publisher is probably over -- at least in part.

Of course the agency model publishers are still in the publishing business -- some are embracing eBooks at lightning speed, while others are a little slower to offer their titles in digital formats -- and the titles they release continue to dominate the store displays of big barn booksellers as well as their web sites. But I suspect such publishers are hearing footsteps, those of so-called indie authors and small digital publishing enterprises (such as Open Books), and those well-known big publishers seem very keen on establishing a class system of sorts.

So, what sort of division is emerging? And what will that division, should it take hold, mean to the likes of the vast field of new authors and small publishers?

The division that I see emerging is two-fold: the first distinction made is quality of the work, from the writing itself to production; and the second one is price. Anyone who has recently acquired an eReader knows that it is only natural to fill it up (most accommodate 2,000 books or more) with cheap eBooksand there is certainly no shortage of 99-cent (or even free) eBooks to download. Prices ascend from there to $2.99, $4.99 and higher. At the top of the pyramid are the books published by the agency model publishers, names we have known for decades or longer, priced from $9.99 all the way up to typical hardback prices.

Many readers who have downloaded these cheap eBooks have been disappointed by the quality. I agree; many such books are poorly written, editing is nonexistent, and even the production is suspect. Hence, the argument of agency publishers that their publications are still the best in the business bears consideration. After all, they have experienced staff with first-rate skills, so naturally the books they produce, whether eBooks or tree books, are professionally rendered. Still, the public apparently has an appetite for something more, and the indie author, as well as small ePublishers, are fulfilling that appetite -- with ever-increasing frequency.

What is the real correlation between price and quality? In truth, there is no good answer to that question. While many of the new self-publishing authors leave a lot to be desired concerning this issue, others do an excellent job of not only writing but also publishing their work. What's more, many of those authors engage one-to-one with their readers to cultivate a niche audience. This practice offers readers an extra dimension in the reading experience, one that many find pleasurable and now even necessary. Meantime, the agency model publishers cling rather tenaciously to their reputations as well as to their somewhat tired business models. Which segment will eventually win this battle? The answer to that question remains in the balance and is, at least in part, in the hands of both consumers and the large online sellers. 

In my opinion, a level playing field is in the best interest of all concerned: writers, publishers and retailers. Even if there is a quality difference, the cream always floats to the top. Ironically, many so-called amateurs are characterizing themselves as such with their lower price schemes. Volume sales generated by lower prices might reach more readers, but it also devalues the work of all writers. And writers, as such, do not deserve that. How low might eBook prices fall? The answer seems plain enough: zero. At least with the so-called lower tier of author-publishers. Meanwhile, the large online retailers will probably favor agency model publishers and small digital publishers who do a high-quality job and who are committed to holding up prices, because that is the only way the retailers make a profit. Giving books away seems nice indeed until one stops to consider what the end result for writers will be -- worthlessness.

So the class war is on, and with it a full-blown price war. Meanwhile, readers and book buyers are enjoying selection at a level never before seen. As a writer and a publisher, I certainly hope that the diversity continues, and I also wish all writers and small publishers success. I ask also that writers and publishers alike in this new age of digital publishing and distribution take stock of their intrinsic worth. The ePublishing world may suddenly be filled with everybody’s-a-writer writers, and with anyone-can-publish publishers, but quality must (and will) prevail. At what price, I cannot determine at present.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What Are We Looking For in a Modern-day Novel?  by David A. Ross

What are we looking for in a modern-day novel? The answer to that question is admittedly as varied as the diverse tastes exhibited by today's readers. When we encounter a newly-published book in a recognizable genre it is easy to compare it with others we have read in the same genre. But what about when we encounter a book that is decidedly outside the box? In that case analysis becomes much more difficult, and certainly much more subjective.

All too often we seek out what we already like and understand—a natural enough habit, I suppose. But in the end it seems that those books that are highly creative and highly original—those that defy easy description and categorization—are the ones with the real staying power. Those are the books that define new paradigms in literature.

Such books often are slow to gain traction in the marketplace, and furthermore they often suffer merciless criticism by reviewers whose preconceived expectations are not met. There have been countless examples of this throughout the history of the printed (and now the digital) word.  Necropsy In E Minor by Alan Ramon Clinton may be such a book. It is unorthodox in both content and style, even by today's most "literary" guidelines. Watching early reviews come in for this book have been, to say the least, interesting. Even the most astute reviewers confess a degree of confusion and have admittedly read the book a second time. Still not sure what to make of it, they have given it due praise as well as an average of three stars. Just what that ranking actually means is anybody's guess, but I take it to mean that even after careful reading the book has them wondering exactly what it is they have read. Kudos for Clinton, because I am quite sure that that is exactly his intent.

To be fair, I must here identify myself as the book's editor. Which means that I have not only read the book with extreme care, but that I have also made a few critical decisions concerning content and style. So it can be assumed that I have spent considerable time with the book, getting to know it perhaps better than an average reader—even a careful one—might come to know it. Am I confused? I'd be dodging this essential question if I did not admit some confusion. But that is also what fascinates me about 'Necropsy'. As a writer myself, and as the book's editor, I find that I, like many of the initial reviewers, recognize Clinton's exceptional talent and skill as a writer, and I would not rule out a third and/or fourth reading of this book in an attempt to understand both the storyline and the author's intent in greater depth.

Necropsy In E Minor was shortlisted for the Dundee International Literary Prize. That's a pretty prestigious award, and one can only assume that the competition was stiff. Even as such, this book is probably not for the average genre reader or the reader looking for a light read while on vacation. Not that the novel is without humor - precisely the opposite is true. Clinton's hapless and clueless character offers us a look at ourselves standing quite naked in front of our mirror. And his use of humor is both sophisticated and slapstick. And like ourselves, his character twirls in ever-expanding circles trying to reach some undefined nexus, some point of realization. His nemesis is his own conscience. Sound familiar?

To close this note I will quote some of the book's earliest reviewers and book bloggers, some of whom quite cleverly picked up on Clinton's unique style to further stylize their own review, and perhaps you will be intrigued enough by their comments, as well as mine, to take a crack at Necropsy In E Minor. You may find it a rather insoluble puzzle, but I promise you will not be bored.

From the reviews...

"Phew, you certainly do have to put a little work in when reading Necropsy In E Minor. Often I wondered whether I had read the sentence correctly as I couldn't make head nor tale of it and so would re-read and re-read. I would start reading a section and feel confident knowing who, what and where only to find half way down a page we had been transported to a completely different universe which left me wondering who, what, where?

Writing a review on Necropsy is certainly a challenge. I want to say this is a brilliant piece of work, very well thought out and written but I also want to say I found it hard to read, confusing, too clever for it's own good and, oh, where was I? But then I come across sentences such as "The floor of the hospital felt like sand underneath a foot of water" and stop and think and be back to 'isn't it a great piece of work?' and then I ramble and stumble and wonder if I am asleep or awake. Oops there I where was I?

So, I shall fall on both sides of the fence - legs over there and head over here. It is meant to be this way I think and is how the narrator and author maybe would like it..? It isn't often I finish a book and am still left wondering whether I liked it or not...I think I did though, eventually..."—Lili Wren, review from

" I was not sure if I liked this book or not by the time I was done reading it. I tend to have a strong appreciation for those writers who choose to relay their tale in stream of consciousness form, which I certainly appreciate of Clinton's writing. I felt that, much like anyone's thoughts, there were moments that were profound, some that were beautiful, and many that were vague. With such indirect bits of story and wisdom, it is necessary for the reader to be patient and take the time to really read this book. While I feel that there is much to be pondered on from Necropsy, a second read would likely heighten my understanding -- and possibly, enjoyment-- of this book."—LibraryThing Early Reviewer

"Poignant anecdotes of the author's childhood, including the humiliation of witnessing with his parents in a rusty beater of a car, his brother's roommate's suicide, and the drama of a mouse and subsequent attainment of his cat Sanity, infused humanity and humor into the cerebral mix. This is not a book written linearly and wrapped up as a pretty package at the end, but interwoven with surrealistic imagery and language like a thick, savory stew."—LibraryThing Early Reviewer

Necropsy In E Minor is available from the following sources:

Open Books Direct
Barnes & Noble
Apple iBookstore

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Role of Publishers and Literary Agents Redefined as the Age of the eBook Emerges

 Even for the eBook skeptics of a year or two ago there can now be little doubt that the Age of the eBook is indeed upon us. Sales statistics at and at Barnes & Noble show that eBooks are now surpassing printed books in sales, albeit that many eBooks are priced well below the SRP of their printed counterparts, and the trend is likely not only to continue but also to grow stronger. The writing seems to be on the wall – or perhaps on the Kindle, or the Nook, or the iPad or iPhone – eBooks are here to stay. And in just a few short years from now, eBooks will comprise 90% of all new titles published, leaving only coffee table books, and other print-friendly editions, for the traditional printing press.

This revolution in the way books are published, distributed, sold and read is this century’s equivalent to the invention of the printing press several centuries ago. It is interesting to point out that Gutenberg’s printing press was the single biggest non-political factor in the Protestant Revolution, not to mention that the rate of literacy in Europe went up a full 10% in just one year after its invention. No small impact, to be sure. So, what might the impact of the eBook be as the next few years pass? And what new role will publishers and literary agents play in its development and dispersion? Big questions with only speculative answers at this point, but there are a few things we can see developing right now.

eBook technology renders the product (a book) cheaper to produce and easier to distribute. Therefore, it stands to reason that more books by a wider range of authors will be published, the books will be distributed globally to online retailers and will be bought by customers who once might not have had access to them. The logistical model is somewhat similar to the dispersion of mobile phones in that those devices actually found a customer base in countries that never had a highly developed traditional phone line system because it was not necessary to re-tool an entire industry. In Mexico City, for example, certain mobile phone makers were handing out handsets free to potential subscribers who had never had a landline. So far, neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble, nor Sony, nor Kobo is handing out eReaders free, but the price is falling and will no doubt continue to do so as Chinese knock-offs begin to hit the market in earnest. The day is fast approaching when virtually everyone will own some sort of an electronic eReading device, probably one that serves multiple purposes and performs multiple functions. Already it is becoming necessary to read newspapers online, as the print editions are falling away literally by the day. Magazines will face the same challenge that printed newspapers have faced – decreasing sales because of limited audience proximity, high production and distribution costs, cost of physical space, cost of raw materials, and so forth. Digital publishing circumnavigates all these problems, and publishers know it! The traditional audience may well balk at the idea of an ePublishing world, but publishers will make them conform simply by not offering the (old) alternative anymore. Simple, but not so simple…

Escape Media was at the forefront of this revolution, publishing our first digital editions in 2006 under the Open Books imprint. Were there eBooks prior to that date? Answer: yes, of course. But the ground was shaky, parameters were hardly solidified, and even formats were still in question (as they remain today). But we were there – experimenting with classic titles, as well as original publications. Our literary magazine, Moronic Ox Literary & Cultural Journal first saw digital publication way back in 2003; it was not well received then but was revived in 2009 and has had a loyal and growing readership ever since. All well and good: a publisher with enough vision to see the “writing on the tablet”. But the bigger question of just what role publishers (and literary agents as well) will play in this new terrain remains.

Open source publishing, as practiced by several able companies (Amazon’s DTP, Barnes & Noble’s PubIt, and Mark Coker’s amazing Smashwords among others) enables authors to publish, distribute and sell their works as eBooks online. How dramatically open source has widened the field of published authors, and we at Escape Media/Open Books applaud and support that effort! In short, open source publishing makes each author a publisher (with all that that entails – editing, designing, formatting, and most of all marketing). The open source (publisher) takes care of sales records, payments and distribution to customers. Sounds great! Except, who among us is an expert at all these disciplines? In the end it could be said that it is a writer’s job to write, and a publisher’s job to handle the rest. Yet, open source has made it possible to exist in the literary market place as an ‘indie’ author. Kudos to those who take this path and succeed!

Taking the route of open source publishing certainly circumnavigates both the literary agent and the traditional publisher, yet we suspect as the eBook Revolution gains a greater and greater footing, both publishers and agents will re-assert their value as collaborators. Even now some well known literary agencies are offering their services as a digital publishing venue for clients whose work may be worthy of publication yet not profitable for a traditional (print) publisher. Is this a conflict of interest? Some say yes. We say: to be determined. As publishers of eBooks, we at Open Books believe a well- versed e-publisher even now holds a distinct advantage over the so-called ‘indie’ author. For example, it is well known in the literary world that no author – no matter how good he might be – should edit his own work. We agree. Good editors make good books into better books. It is also often said that a good cover can make or break a book for sales. Again, we agree. Every author we have ever worked with has had his own ideas about the cover of his book; and every author we have ever worked with has expressed his pleasure and gratitude when we present him with a professionally designed cover. Publishers also have access to distribution venues that ‘indie’ authors do not. Publishers may also have the distinct advantage of being able to promote books via social media and other online sources using the publisher itself as an endorser. Indeed, that is the very reason that today’s agency model publishers enjoy prestige and advantage over lesser-known houses. Those engaged seriously in e-publishing will establish themselves as primary players in this emerging industry, and Open Books intends to be one such ‘player’. By establishing core groups of writers, eBook publishers will be able to ‘guild’ themselves and their authors, and customers who are searching for a particular product will inevitably know exactly where to find it. Remember, human beings, under the auspices of ‘civilization’, have been attempting to make order out of chaos since the beginning of time. Right now digital publishing is literally ‘all over the map’, yet even as I write this update, countless e-publishers (as well as ‘indie’ authors) are bringing order to that chaos. And it’s going to be very interesting to see which names command respect and attention in just a few short years from now. Will those names be the same ones we are accustomed to hearing – the agency model publishers in New York, London, L.A.? Or will there be new names? We suspect some of both. But the one thing that seems obvious is that no matter which publishers those might be, they will all be publishing, promoting and selling eBooks. And that is something that we at Open Books have learned a little something about.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Publish with Open Books by Acquisitions Editor David Ross

Open Books is a traditional royalty publisher operating in an increasingly digital publishing environment. What that means is that we acquire the rights to publish an author’s work in return for royalty compensation, and that we do not charge authors for the services we provide. As such, each book we publish must first be accepted on its literary merit, and as acquisitions editor it falls upon me to make those selections. So, what exactly are the criteria I use to accept or reject a book from the many manuscripts we receive for review?

The first questions I ask myself when reading a new manuscript: Is the writing ‘alive’? Does it feel new or unique? Is it written in a distinctive voice? Does it surprise me? Does it somehow generate a sense of excitement or anticipation within me? How a writer might achieve this so-called ‘living quality’ in his words is as varied as writers themselves, so it is impossible to define in exact terms. Originality in style, or a unique perspective, always attracts my attention. Colorful, well written prose always brings a story alive. So, even though there may not be a specific definition for writing that is ‘alive’, I think there is no mistaking it when I see it.

The next question I ask: Does the writing engage me? Quite simply, do I want to keep reading? It stands to reason that if I my attention wanders, then so might that of the potential reader. Many techniques are used by writers to capture attention; and in a world where a myriad of media compete for attention, it is essential that a writer draws his reader into the story as quickly as possible.

Another observation I immediately make is whether or not the writer uses the language properly. Sloppy grammar, misspellings, and poor usage are big turn-offs. I understand that a writer might choose to use colloquialisms, or render dialog in a less than grammatically perfect form for artistic reasons. That is not an issue. But when a writer uses ‘thru’ when he should use ‘through’, or when he uses an ampersand instead of writing out the three-letter word ‘and’, I am likely to press the delete key and begin the rejection letter. As an editor, I do not want to clean up someone else’s sloppy grammar. It’s not cute, as some might think, and it’s also not that hard to proof read one’s submission.

Because we call ourselves a publisher of high quality fiction, I am always looking for a novel or novella that embraces what I call an ‘ethical imperative’. I want to know why the book had to be written. What lesson does it teach? Does it do so with grace and subtlety? Or is the author simply ‘preaching to the choir’? What that ethical imperative might be is not necessarily my concern, though I suppose I too have my limits. I am not likely to select a book that advocates racism or religious intolerance. I am also not likely to select a book that glorifies violence for its own sake. I do value a well rounded story, one that circles in quietly upon its nexus point, one that leaves me with a sense of completeness, one that leaves me feeling somehow enriched. I also like to be entertained, as do most people. Some authors do this effortlessly, but I must confess that I, personally, want more out of a work of fiction. If I want shallow entertainment, I can watch television. Or I can buy a formula genre novel to read. That is not what Open Books is interested in publishing. A good story is imperative, but something more is necessary in serious writing. That ‘something else’ is what we’re really looking for.

In nonfiction books the watchword is ‘topical’. How is this book relevant to today’s reader? Admittedly, different subjects are important to different readers, but it is a fast-moving world, and what is topical today might well be passé tomorrow. It is also important that a writer back up his assertions with hard facts – verifiable facts. Otherwise the writer is nothing but another talking head. Research is not easy, but it is essential. And it is always obvious whether or not the writer has ‘done his homework’. When it comes to memoirs, it is a slightly different story. In a memoir the reader is specifically interested in the writer’s personal experiences and in his perspective on them. Even so, the outlying facts must be accurate. The writing must be alive. The writer must make the reader care about his subject and want (or better yet need) to know more.
Open Books also publishes a limited amount of poetry. Since poetry books are difficult to sell, the poetry we publish must stand out as strikingly relevant and/or strikingly unique. As a publisher, we often invest more effort in the process of publication than we (or the author) are ever compensated for in monetary terms. Yet, poetry is a viable form of literary expression, not to mention a beautiful one, and it is the policy of Open Books that some poetry books simply need to be published regardless of whether or not a financial return can be achieved. This is also true of fiction and nonfiction books; sometimes the literary imperative is greater than the need for profit. I believe this is one protocol that distinguishes Open Books from many other publishers, and I am proud to embrace it.

So, I hope I have given potential contributors a bit of insight as to how we make our selections of which books to publish. And I also hope I have given readers an idea of what to expect from an Open Books title. Hopefully we do a good job. The proof is always, as they say, ‘in the pudding’. We at Open Books are proud of every one of our titles, and we intend to publish high quality fiction, nonfiction and poetry well into the future. We welcome new writers, and we try to give each and every one the attention he deserves. We respect writers, and we also respect those who will eventually read their work. We value superb writing. Now, what’s so difficult about that? Only everything….

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Poll Results: Which eReader Do You Own?

Starting April 9, 2011 on the Open Books Facebook page we asked our fans the question, Which eReader do you own? Because there are so many different eReaders on the market we decided to allow respondents to add eReaders to the list. Out of 335 (and counting) responses here are the results in order of popularity:

NOOK: 148
Amazon Kindle:117
None. I prefer real books: 18
Other: 15
iPad: 9
I haven't bought one yet: 7
iPhone: 5
iPod Touch: 3
Sony eReader: 3
Kobo Reader: 2
Kindle (on Windows 7): 1
Android Tablet: 1
Palm Pilot: 1
Droid X: 1

Although we expected to find NOOK and Kindle high on the list, what we find most interesting as well as encouraging from the poll answers is the sheer diversity of eReaders on which people are reading eBooks. As an emerging eBook publisher, we can't help but think the more eReaders on the market the better. In the next few years we also believe that the third and sixth most popular results ("None. I prefer REAL books" and "I haven't bought one yet") will diminish.

We'd like to thank everyone who answered our question, Which eReader do you own? If you were not able to take part in the poll and would like to add your vote to list, then please feel free to do so on the original question here or within the comments area of this post.