Working in the literary arts industry, I have been approached on several occasions, just in the past week of so, with questions regarding e-books and how, as a writer, to approach this latest technology. But I have to admit, I know little about this, as do many writers.
I was asked to see if I could find someone that knew something, anything, about e-books and how to go about doing it from a self-publishing perspective. But really I am the wrong person to ask about self-publishing because I don’t believe in it. But that’s another blog post.
I am actually torn on e-books. While the advantages seem to far outweigh the disadvantages, I can’t seem to get past the idea of not holding a real book in my hand. To not feel that paper between my fingers or hear the crinkle of the page as you turn it, doesn’t feel the same. It feels wrong on every level. Yet, there are advantages.
1. No more packing around numerous books or documents. If you have a Kobo you can download as many books as you want onto one device. So instead of taking 5 heavy books on that two week vacation to the in-laws, you can put them on the Kobo and it slips neatly into your purse or carry-on or suitcase. You can also put PDF documents on the Kobo and read at your leisure.
2. It’s more environmentally friendly.
3. At first I thought the Kobo would be like reading on a computer screen, but I have heard, because I don’t actually have one, that there is no backlight on the screen of the Kobo, therefore you still require light to read on it. Just like a book.
4. E-books are cheaper than the real thing.
5. If you have a spouse like mine that doesn’t appreciate books for what they are and is always trying to convince you to get rid of that somewhat small library of favourites, you can do just that. (if you can actually bring yourself to empty those shelves). You can stop the constant complaining of how much space it takes up, or that your toddler daughter keeps pulling everything off the shelves. Not an issue.
6. You don’t have to leave the house to get your next great read. Sit in the comfort of your home on a cold Canadian winter day, purchase an e-book online and within minutes you have that next great novel at your fingertips.
7. From a publishing perspective, I suppose you could have your books available to your readers a lot faster than waiting for those 500 copies of your first print run to be complete. Sometimes months from signing the contract. Only one e-book needs to be created and voila, it’s available to millions. And in what? Maybe a week?
At a recent publishing workshop I participated in, the subject of e-books came up and whether or not actual hand-held books would become obsolete. And in the opinion of the facilitator, no, it’s just another option being made available. Like when it was thought TV programs would do away with the need for movies, or the numerous channels now available for viewers would cause many other television stations to crumble. It never happened, it just created more options.
Would love to hear from anyone that has more experience with e-books, or just some opinions on the subject.