Sunday, November 8, 2009

Our Agency and the SONY Personal E-book Reader

Welcome to the Schiavone Literary Agency, Inc., blog. This is my first entry and I'm writing about a relatively new device which I have been using over the past two years. In 2007 I purchased the Sony portable reader system model PRS-505. As a literary agent I'm naturally an avid reader. Like most avid readers I purchase many books, read them, and then add them to my personal library. Alas, like most readers, one soon runs out of shelf space. Often friends drop by, "borrow" a book which is never returned, and subsequently frees up shelf space. Many books do not lend themselves to repeated reading, so the shelved books need periodic dusting, and remain in place for years. With ebooks there are no storage or dusting problems.

Reading ebooks resolves the space problem, and enables the reader to carry dozens of books on the airplane, to the doctor's office, etc. It has proven a boon to my office operations as a literary agent. Not only can I purchase and download the latest books, I can also invite prospective author/clients to email their work to me via attached files. In the past I have never been able to read full manuscripts from my computer screen because of eye and back strain and prolonged sitting in the office chair staring at a screen. The Sony device is particularly useful to the agent since the email files are swiftly downloaded to the personal reader, making it possible to carry around numerous manuscripts and proposals conveniently, while avoiding the problem of having tons of paper in piles around the office.

Having the capacity to accept email attachments saves my authors time and the expense of printing and shipping their work to me. Recently, most of the major publishing houses have purchased ebook readers for their editors. While one cannot edit with the device, it streamlines the overall reading process. This speeds up my ability to get my submissions to the editors who now often prefer electronic submissions.

Of course I comply with my editor's requirements for either electronic or hard copy submissions, so that I utilize both approaches. I have been pleased to learn that many of my editors at the larger houses prefer electronic files. When a book is sold, the author must eventually provide an e-file anyway, so it is convenient to have one prepared. I must caution my readers that I only accept query letters. If the query interests me I will invite the author to send more via email attachment. We do not open attachments unless specifically requested. Please do not send anything other than a query letter by email or post.

It appears to me that the future for e-book readers and e-books will be prosperous. I encourage my author/clients to avail themselves of this exciting technology.

James Schiavone, Ed.D.

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