This morning, my friend Jay Passer initiated a thought-provoking conversation about whether or not making books available as Kindle editions is compatible wiith a small-press publishing philosophy.  My short answer is that I’m still not sure.  Last year, I would’ve leaned heavily toward saying no.  Now I’m more than ever inclined to say yes — thinking that our main responsibility is to disseminate the word (by any means necessary?).  Here’s most of what I wrote to him while brainstorming how I felt.  I’d love to hear what you feel or think about it as well.  Please share your thoughts in a comment below.

“For a long time, I was resistant to the whole Kindle phenomenon. But then my friend Helen Shepard donated one to the Press for Christmas 2011, with some books already on it. Within the first hour of picking it up, I became surprisingly enamored. This was a brilliant idea and I could now see why so many people prefer reading on Kindle. That said, I still love print and wouldn’t want to totally replace it (nothing like having a real book in my hands). But I began to become open to the idea that the two formats could peacefully co-exist and even complement each other. I also began to consider: if the only way some people are gonna read one of our books is if it’s available as a Kindle edition, perhaps we ought to make it available that way — for the author’s sake, for the book’s sake and for the readers’ sake. Then I learned from Lynn Alexander that there is a way to easily convert print books into Kindle editions. So I’m hoping to figure that out in the near future and experiment with making a few titles available. I still have mixed feelings, though. Selling Kindle editions for $5 would definitely save me work and make the press profitable (right now, I’m lucky to just break even). It would also enable me to start paying the poets royalties and not just free copies. It might also save a tree or two. But I love the art of making a book, and I hate the thought of losing that. So I guess I’m still negotiating with myself.”

I’m thinking it’s probably inevitable that Crisis Chronicles Press will release some chapbooks (maybe all of them, eventually) in a Kindle/e-book format.  Now I just have to find the time to do it.

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