February 2011

Matthew Peterson
Author of the Parallel Worlds Series
Host of The Author Hour radio show

Matthew Peterson
Matthew Peterson

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Woah! Where did February go? Better late than never!

Remember a few months ago I had mentioned that I was reading/listening to the Pendragon series? I just finished them. Ten books that get longer and LONGER as the series progresses. The last one was 15 CDs long! If you've got a teen in the family who likes action books, that's a good series.

Well, it happened. Borders finally filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Truly a sad day in the world of publishing. I'm sure their competitors will fill up the void that Borders leaves. Hereís a quote from Publisherís Weekly regarding how this affects Barnes and Noble (the largest book chain in America): "Executives said 75% of its stores were in direct competition with Bordersí outlets that are closing..." Not all of the stores are closing at this time, but a lot of jobs will be lost. Very sad. On a good note, I hear that some publishers like Simon & Schuster and Penguin have reported profits recently. Good for them! It's not all gloom and doom. 

Over the years I've observed that magazine and newspaper subscriptions have slowly dwindled. That doesn't mean people aren't reading anymore. It just means they've changed what and how they read. E-Book sales, for example, are at an all-time high and audiobook sales are still at respectable levels. Even libraries now have online sections where you can check out E-Books and audiobooks for a week or two at a time. According to the 14 publishers who report sales to the Association of American Publishers monthly sales program, "E-book sales jumped 164.4% in 2010, to $441.3 million." So thatís nothing to shake a stick at.

But what has really skyrocketed is online reading. People today read little snippets from Facebook, MySpace and Twitter--all from their phone. It seems every major website has gone social. Even the biggest name-brand companies have stopped advertising their website URL's in their TV commercials. Instead, they advertise their social networking sites.

It's interesting to see the trends. Of course, as a fiction writer, it concerns me that we're fostering a generation of people who may not be able to sit for long periods of time anymore to enjoy a good book. "Where are the pictures?" they might say. "Where is the music and video? Why don't the pages turn themselves? You mean I have to use my own imagination when reading? Uh... I'll just watch the movie."

I once spoke with Gordon Van Gelder, one of the main guys at the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (a very nice magazine, by the way) and he mentioned that their digital audiobook sales from their trial editions a few years back didn't bring in enough money to justify continuing with that format. Their poor success in this venue was not because the stories or narration was poor, mind you. I've listened to them and they were fantastic. Perhaps the market was not ready yet to listen to magazines. I enjoy digital content because I drive a lot and it fills up my time better than just listening to commercials on the radio. You should give it a try. In fact, I just listened to my own audiobook of Paraworld Zero for the first time last week. Yes, I had never actually listened to the thing, even though I spent over a hundred hours creating it.

Ice Skating in Shaving Cream

Jared with shaving cream


Iíll end with this cute picture of my son "ice skating" in shaving cream. His preschool does this every year. He had an utter blast. Of course he came home a total mess. Sometimes I wish I could be a kid again and play in shaving cream. Talk to you later!



Matthew Peterson - 20403 N. Lake Pleasant Road, Ste. 117-125, Peoria, AZ 85382