So a publisher and an iPad walk into a bar…

NOT. Here’s the sad statistics, based on my shallow and incomplete survey:

Number of iPads sold by Apple in 28 days:  1,000,000

Number of iPads in the hands of book editors:            2

Wouldn’t you think that the most significant e-book reader; one that, weeks before release, caused Amazon to change it’s e-book strategy and is projected by most analysts to be the device that will save newspapers and magazines would be in the hands of the people who are on the front line of book publishing? It doesn’t seem to be the case. I admit to poor survey techniques. I simply called lots of editors we regularly work with and asked them: Do you have an iPad? Do you know anyone who does? Has the company any strategy regarding iPads? In almost all cases, the responses were: no, I saw someone in the office with one last week and no. Editors are largely so underpaid, that virtually none are buying them for their own use, and publishers are so cheap that we can’t expect the companies to outfit the whole staff overnight, but wouldn’t it make sense to have some pilot programs? I couldn’t find any. Every editor I spoke with is interested and curious but there’s a surprising undercurrent of “I don’t see what it means for me.” I attribute this to ongoing efforts of publishers to isolate their editors from the world.

Our agency has two. Our 16GB WiFi unit arrived at noon on the day of release. Our first 64GB 3G unit arrived last Friday. We will be blogging about what this product means for authors and editors, but initially we have little to say other than they work exactly as promised. What I can say is that no one can judge the iPad who has not held one for five minutes and tried to read something with the iBooks application. Getting your hands on one in an Apple store is actually harder than buying one. There’s about a five minute wait to get to the demo tables.

Help this survey be more accurate. If you are an editor and have an iPad, post a comment.

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11 Responses to “So a publisher and an iPad walk into a bar…”

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  2. E.J. Tonks says:

    You’re right–I’m seeing all sorts of literary agents posting about it on Twitter, but the editors I follow on Twitter have yet to mention it!

    My brother bought one, and is now selling his regular computer because he says the iPad replaces his laptop, but I doubt that. I think he’s just a young buck who only uses computers to surf the web. As a writer, I need a lot more than portable web capabilities, so I’m still not planning to buy one just yet (though I *do* love the iBook app on my iTouch, let me tell you!)

  3. Lindsay says:

    It doesn’t surprise me. Big business, in any industry, plods. They’ll figure out, years later, that they’re missing out on something big, and then they’ll have to spend a fortune trying to play catchup. :)

  4. I *wish* I could afford an iPad! All of my company’s books are in the iBookstore, the first three on the day the iBookstore launched. I’ve had to sneak up to the Apple Store at the mall to verify the titles and look at the sample pages to make sure the formatting is okay. But as a self-employed owner of a very small press, I just can’t spare the money. I don’t have a Kindle, either, and I was among the first publishers to make all our titles available for the Kindle in December 2007!

    I firmly believe in exploiting new platforms as fast as possible. I just can’t afford to enjoy them. :-(

  5. Apparently, you have to be a mechanical engineer in order to score an iPad… according to my husband. :)

  6. Denise says:

    An agent walks into a bar with an iPad, has a few drinks, and walks out with the iPad and promptly drops it and breaks it.

  7. Ed says:

    No technical skills required. Just order an iPad from the Apple store. Or if you like crowds, you could reserve one at an Apple retail store and pick it up on May 28. Apple is selling iPads at the rate of 200,000 per week and a major software upgrade is scheduled for the end of summer.

  8. Ed says:

    I think the “has a few drinks” is the watchword here. Properly set up and synced, nothing should be lost if any individual iPad is destroyed.

  9. Ryan Field says:

    I have about twenty pubbed e-books out in romance and a few more with pen names, and I don’t have one yet either. I like my Kindle :) )

  10. Andrea Adler says:

    Why would publishers and agents have an I PAD at this early stage?
    It took them 5 years to operate a computer and use E-mail!

    Instead of allowing us to send a sample of our books using a PDF format,
    tHey still want writers to send in paper manuscripts that cost a fortune to print,

  11. Ed says:

    It depends very much on the publisher and sometimes the editor. Almost all of our agency submissions these days are done via email. The editors or their assistants convert the submitted file (usually MS Word) into an EPUB format for the Sony eReader or other device.

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