A quiet evening consists of a warm fire, a blanket and the latest Stephen King novel Ė downloaded from the Internet

The Internet is changing the nature of publishing, says Jerome Martin, a publisher in Edmonton, Canada.

In March hundreds of thousands of readers downloaded a story by Stephen King in e-book format for $2.50 a copy.

Electronic books are the trendin publishing, according to Martin, who says many books are now available for download to the computer at lower than regular book prices. 

These can be saved on palm pilots and other hand held computers and read at the readerís convenience.

The cost of publishing and the cost to consumers will go down.  Publishers no longer need to print thousands of copies of books to get a lower price.

When downloaded electronically, the book is sold.  Distribution is immediate.  Inventories and book returns will no longer exist.

Reading off a handheld computer allows searches for key words, annotations, links to websites and dictionaries. 

Books will never be out of print and books now out-of-print can be published inexpensively on the web. 

Martin says some books are keepers; others are not.  Martin will save his first editions of W.O. Mitchell and other collectors items. 

Those books that become dated quickly, like directories, are particularly suited to publishing on the Internet. 

In-house books or documents, training materials, student textbooks, and academic journals fit electronic format. 

Martinís firm, Spotted Cow Publishing, will produce a book next month in electronic format and then in the fall will make it available in hard cover.

Next time you want to relax in front of the fireplace reading your favorite author, maybe it will with a hand held rocket book.

Jerome Martin
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