About a month ago the internet got all aflutter when it was leaked that George Lucas had messed with his classic once again for the blu-ray release. As you probably know you can’t even buy the original Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi anymore — without Lucas’s little “updates.” He’s added scenes, cgi, and, of course, the imfamous “Noooooo!” Darth Vader utters above.
Some people are cool with these changes. Heck, the kids who watch the films today have no idea a more muppet-like, less special effects Star Wars ever existed. But others are furious that he would mess with a classic…without even allowing fans to purchase the old version. “It’s a moment in time,” my husband says. “And it’s okay if that means today it’s outdated.”
I feel for George. I really do. As an author who loves to ply her novels with pop culture references and slang of the day, as the years go by, the novels can end up sounding dated. So when my publisher told me they were repackaging the first three books in my Blood Coven series, I thought GREAT! Let me fix them! I went through and updated all the pop culture references so the book would seem brand new and of our time. A couple years later, they repackaged the first two books in one volume. Again, I was allowed to pull a George Lucas and update them, much to the annoyance of my husband.
But while I only have the opportunity to update books once every couple years with physical, traditional publishing. With ePublishing, I have the opportunity of always staying fresh. A celebrity mentioned dies? No problem. A slang term goes out of fashion? Fixed! A technology is replaced? No problem. For a writer like me, this is a heavenly prospect. And now I can thumb my nose at anyone who insists books should be “timeless” without slang or pop culture.
The other thing that may be possible in the future? Different versions of the book for different audiences. I remember when I was a kid there was an old video game, produced by the makers of Zork called “Leather Goddessses of Phobos.” When you started the game, you could choose your level of “naughtiness” from tame to lewd. Now I don’t know who actually played the game on “tame” (if anyone) but I imagine this could be a huge hit with eBooks, especially amongst romance readers. Some like it hot – others like it sweet and up until now, they have to choose their books and authors by sensuality, rather then plotline. What if authors created two versions of their ebooks? One sweet, one spicy. One that closes the bedroom door and one that pulls back the sheets for you. It could bring the author a ton of new fans.
I think everyone is so busy talking ebook sales and ebooks vs. traditional publishers in terms of advances and author rights and all that. But we really should also be looking at the content possibilities. I mean, Choose your Own Adventure eBook anyone? Piece of cake with hyperlink technology. The possibilities are endless. And I, for one, plan to take full advantage.