Thursday, March 5, 2009

E-Books


By Kim Smith

First, what is an e-book? Well, according to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, an e-book, also known as an electronic book, is the digital media equivalent of a conventional printed book. Whereas a printed book has a physical form, an e-book is downloaded to one’s computer, mobile phone, or digital reader such as the Sony Reader, or the Amazon Kindle. In this new digital age, we have traded dots and dashes for exes and ohs.

Many people believe digital is the way to go.

Here are a few reasons to go digital and purchase e-books.

1.A green solution, as there are no trees destroyed in the creation of an e-book.
2. Eliminates the need for a physical location to store your book collections. A Sony Reader or Amazon Kindle, for example, can hold up to hundreds (if not thousands) of books. Far more than you could house in your living room bookcase.
3. Keeps books available longer as there is no need to keep an inventory of them. Why should they be discontinued, or as it was once said, “go out of print”?

Purchasing e-books can be an easy feat. At my publisher’s site, downloading an e-book to your computer or reader is very simple. We all have become “download masters” thanks to music sites that allow downloads and online purchasing. Getting an e-book this way is a natural step forward from that.

For writers who may have an e-book coming out, promoting your e-book has never been simpler. If you have a website, you are halfway there.

Here are a few ways to market your e-book.

1. Hire a web designer (or do it yourself) and create a platform (website) with which to work from and advertise the book. You should begin advertising the coming book at least six months prior to the release date to generate a buzz.
2. Have a contest once the e-book has been released to generate interest in purchasing.
3. Get your online friends who have websites to link to your website and you link to theirs and create a group of places where potential readers can surf in and get the latest details about your book.
4. Give your e-book to e-book reviewers and post the reviews on your website. Reviews are a huge way to get people to look at an e-book that they might have otherwise overlooked.

Of all the things a writer must do if they are planning a promotional campaign for an electronic book is to write well. That cannot be said strongly enough. The reading public has little toleration for a print book that is written shoddily, so one can imagine the opinion of a book form that can easily be deleted!
Since e-books are cheaper, their value is oftentimes diminished. They are looked upon as a less worthy read just because they are not in print. We can change that perception by writing the best book we can write, and editing it thoroughly.

E-books are touted as being the next phase in the life span of the book industry, and indeed, even major houses have begun using this technology to get books into the hands of readers. Now you can find big names as well as small ones at places like Fictionwise (http://www.fictionwise.com), a leading independent e-book publisher and distributor. Fictionwise also has a “best seller” list so that potential buyers can find the best of the best in their catalog.

E-books are here to stay. Let’s make their life in the literary realm one of importance and substance.

9 comments:

s.w. vaughn said...

Great post, Kim - and excellent advice for folks with e-book releases! Got one of those coming up soon, myself. :-)

And I SO want a Kindle. Droooool. :-)

Kim Smith said...

You know, I want a dang IPHONE. I went to the AT and T store and got a demo and recently found out that there is an app for it to read ebooks and so now I want one even more. Gosh how I wish I was rich instead of beautiful!

F. M. Meredith, author said...

all my books are available as e-books too and I have some on Kindle. Marilyn

Kim Smith said...

Your books are on my to be bought list Marilyn. Hope you are having a blast at the con!

Morgan Mandel said...

My books are on ebook and print. My first book, Two Wrongs, which is a mystery is doing better in print. My second book, Girl of My Dreams, which is a romantic comedy, is doing better on ebooks. Does that mean romance readers read ebooks more? I don't know.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Kim Smith said...

Funny isn't it? Maybe more people perceive ebooks as being romances?

Marta Stephens said...

My books are available in both paperback and e-book format. Another nice thing about e-books is that they're a very affordable give-away item (no cost in printing, postage, or shipping).

I haven't sold nearly as many e-books as I have the paperbacks. It's a preferance thing. There are those who prefer to buy the hard cover book over a paperback, others prefer the paperback to e-books. Can't please everyone but it's certainly good to offer a choice.

Although I've purchased a few e-books myself, I still like the feel of a book in my hand and my eyes appreicate it too. I'm on the computer all day and reading from the printed page gives me a welcomed change. All this said, the face of publishing is changing and if writers are going to survive, they need to learn the new tricks of the trade and go with the flow.

Kim Smith said...

Well said, Marta. The face of publishing is changing and one of the face-lift result is electronic. I hope readers will find some new authors and give them an E-whirl :)

Timberati said...

I’ll take some issue with the first point. As a registered professional forester in California, I have a different take on green.

Call ebooks convenient. Call ebooks the wave of the future. Don’t call them green because we might save some plantation trees by using them.

Ebooks are read on electronic devices. Electronic devices are made with non-renewable resources: hazardous chemicals, plastics, and heavy metals (metals mined from the earth). Electronic devices consume energy perhaps equal to delivery of a book or magazine. Electronic devices are problematic to recycle and contribute 70% of the toxic waste to landfills.

Paper may be passé but it’s better for the environment.

Trees and forests grow back. Plastics, mining scars, and toxic mine tailings never leave.

Worldwide, paper is mostly produced from cellulose fiber. Less than two-thirds comes from wood, one-third comes from recycled paper, and about 5% comes from non-wood sources. [source: UN FAO -http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/V9933E/V9933E01.htm]

According to Patrick Moore, former member of Greenpeace and founder of Greenspirit, “Thirty percent of the wood harvested is used to manufacture pulp and paper, mainly for printing, packaging, and sanitary purposes. Fully half of this wood is derived from the wastes of sawmills that produce the solid wood products for building. Most of the remaining supply is from tree plantations, many of which are established on land that was previously cleared for agriculture. So even if we did stop using wood to make pulp and paper, it would not have the effect of ‘saving’ many forests.” (Greenspirit.com)

Don't get me wrong. I love my computer, cell phone, and PDA. And Kindles look cool and can carry a load of books and still weigh less than a pound, but using it instead of paper doesn't make me feel greener.

I invite you over to my Timberati blog to read “Why I won’t be buying a Kindle anytime soon.”

Thanks,
Norm