Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ebooks: Fad Or Future?

When people I talk to finally figure out exactly what ebooks are, they look at me askance.

Given the quick publication time and that ebooks are actually digital files instead of, well, books, they question that publishing an ebook is really publishing at all. One individual even called it "cheating".

Is ebook writing/publishing cheating, or a legitimate venue for authors? Is it just some passing craze, or an actual revolution in the way we read and inform or entertain ourselves?

I've been mulling this over for some time, and here's my thought on the matter.

The goal of publication is to be read and/or make money. Publication is not strictly relegated by definition to paper books with covers and bindings. Publication is a means by which you make your work available to the public. Ebooks accomplish the same thing, only through a different medium. The absence of paper doesn't make ebooks a form of corner-cutting or system-bucking.

Ebooks are here, and they're here to stay. Amazon and Barnes & Noble are recognizing this fact, not only selling ebooks but even devices on which to read them -- the Kindle and the Nook. More and more readers are discovering ebooks and loving that they can carry an entire library in their pocket or purse. Titles that cost $20 to $30 on the shelf can be purchased as an ebook for a fraction of that price. In times of economic pinch, buying a new book to read has become less costly.

Does this mean ebooks will overwhelm paper books to the point of extinction? I highly doubt it. Many people still prefer reading print rather than pixels -- myself included -- and let's face it: Nothing beats the feel and smell of a brand new book fresh off the bookstore shelf. What I see in the future is a happy coexistence between the two media. At this point, people just have to adjust.

And adjust they will. People laughed at Henry Ford's loud, obnoxious horseless carriage. Now everybody owns an automobile. Today, folks sneer at or suspiciously eye the ebook. Soon enough, society will accept it as normal and legitimate.

I intend to hop aboard the ebook train while I can, before the crowds and the long lines. I see a bright, profitable future for ebooks, and I want to be in it.

Maybe I'm cheating by cutting to the front.


  1. Good idea! I hopped in 5 months ago (now I have 2 books and the third - it's a trilogy: Fear of the Past - should be up there on Amazon et al. by end November...)

    I may regret it but I haven't yet! They say that it takes from 6 to 9 months for an e-book to "take off" - incidentally that's a selling "arc" which is the exact reverse opf printed books that come and go inside of...3 months!

    It's a reassuring thought because it means you have time to work on your book marketing and establish your "platform" through your blog, Twitter etc.

    Which is what you're doing I see! Happy to follow your blog...

    But there's already ONE million titles on Amazon Kindle! Hurry up! And good luck!

  2. Hi Paul. Couldn't agree more about e-books being "the wave of the future". When I left the states,I packed my books up and put them in storage. I put my kindle in my pocket. Interesting,I'm still looking for representation for my work and hoping to trad. publish. My personal validation issues.

    My only gripe against self-publishing is that too many writers don't see the need for an editor or at least very good, very honest beta readers. Some great ideas out there with a little too much crap thrown in.

    Being the queen of the run on sentence, someone who has no idea where the commas go, and a lover of adverbs. I know my limitations. My stories are great. I have strong plot lines. In order to make it the very best it can be I need some help. Most of us do.

    If I can figure out how to follow, I'll be back. I'm also blond and cyber-challenged. (I'm @byrem on twitter. Most days I confuse myself, it depends on which account I'm signed into as to what 'name' comes up.)

    Bonne chance.

  3. Claude, you are absolutely right that there are a lot of ebooks against which to compete on Amazon . . . and that's just Amazon! There are a lot more out there trying to get in on the action. But, just as with traditional publishing, it's all about promotion. Unfortunately, even in the ebook-publishing world, quality in writing doesn't sell. It's how well the book is promoted.

    farawayeyes, you hit the nail on the head. I'm all for people taking matters into their own hands and self-publishing, but when they churn out a horrible first draft and slap two covers on it -- egad! I squirm. Most of the POD debacles we encounter are hack jobs trying to become the next bestseller. As for myself, I am fortunate to have good friends possessing fantastic talent, no tendency to pull their punches, and extraordinary editorial capabilities. One of them is a former literary agent -- yay! (Yikes?) They spare me having to shell out money for an editor. I have a whole team! How cool is that? :-D

    Bonne chance to you as well!