Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ebook or Print Book?

Are you still holding on to the dream of getting your book published as a print book? Are publishers ignoring you? Are you just about ready to give up?
You're not the first to have this experience. At this time, you won't be the last either. Countless authors have tried—and given up—getting their work published and quite a few have resorted to self-publishing and selling their books on their own. The expense of going it alone, however, means that only those who have money to spend can get their books out into the hands of readers.
If your purpose in writing a book is to have the satisfaction of seeing your words on a printed page, this post is not for you. If your purpose, however, is to have people read your book, then this post will offer you an alternative to having your book printed on paper.
Perhaps you've heard of ebooks. If you're like me up until about two years ago, you probably never even considered publishing your book as an ebook. Seeing your words on a screen somehow didn't have the same effect as reading it from a printed page. That notion is slowly changing.
Mark Coker of and Amy Gahran of CNN both posted that more people are reading ebooks than ever before. The reason may be due to the proliferation of ebook readers like the Kindle and tablets like the iPad. Along with the increase in ebook readers comes the increase in ebook publishers and authors. Print books are slowly losing out as more and more authors and readers decide to go digital rather than traditional.
There are several possible reasons for the shift. One is that ebooks are generally cheaper than print books. In fact, some authors are giving away some or all of their books for free. Those that have prices are generally sold for the same price as second hand books even though they've been newly released.
Another possible reason is that ebooks take up practically no physical space. You can have several dozen books on your reader or laptop and your load won't feel any heavier. You can store ebooks on CDs and flashdrives which can have more than a hundred books in them. Even when you're away on vacation, you can bring a whole library of books in your bag or in your pocket.
Where do you buy an ebook? Why, anywhere you can connect to the internet. There are so many sources of ebooks that you can browse several bookstores at a time from the comfort of your chair. You can discover new authors, talented writers who had been rejected by traditional publishers.
For authors, ebooks have the potential to reach more people than print books. There are only so many thousands of brick-and-mortar bookstores and only a few thousand people are in them at any one time. By publishing their books on the internet, they have the potential to reach millions at a time 24 hours a day.
Still for authors, ebook distributors offer higher royalties than print book publishers. There's not much expense in getting your book out into the internet so the returns can be greater though you will still need to market your book. If your passion is just to write books and not really earn from them (yes, some authors do that), then writing ebooks will be the way to go.
I've noticed lately, that brick-and-mortar bookstores seem to have less books today than they did before the digital age. It used to be that I would go to a bookstore and 90% of the space was allotted to books. The rest were for school and office supplies. These days, the books take up about 50% of the floor and, in addition to the school and office supplies, toys and office furniture now vie for the customers attention. Services like photocopying and gift wrapping also take up some of the space once occupied by shelves of books.
Print books are slowly disappearing though the end still seems some distance into the future. You can wait for that day to come before you decide to publish your book as an ebook but, personally, I think it will come sooner than later. The growth of ebook publishing and reading is increasing rapidly. That favorite of traditional publishers, the text book, will one day disappear and reincarnate as bits and bytes in a computer where my son, daughters and grandchildren will be reading them without a thought of what it feels to read something on paper.

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