But Books Will Never Die

Blog No. 29

I am a happy owner of a kobo ereader.  I’ve had the first version for many years and have used the device on a regular basis since then.  I love it.  However, there are lots of people (many I have met myself) who are very anti ereader (and vehemently so).  I have had a lot of arguments over books vs. ereaders and while I can see the side of the pro book faction I think they miss the big picture.

Other than a few minor drawbacks (the need for energy being the big one) ereaders, especially the newer ones, offer several benefits.  My favorite is the multiple book aspect.  I can carry one thin lightweight device that has upwards of 1000 books or more.  I can purchase a series (for less than a physical book) and have them all at my disposal at any time.  I also have a book ready to go whenever I finish one.  It’s great.  As for the power issue, honestly I have never felt it was a drawback.  The battery charges quickly and lasts a long time.

With that in mind, I love books just as much.  I love holding them, flipping through them and even smelling them (I know I’m not alone in that either).  I love the covers and the way they look collected on a shelf.  I don’t think there is any need to choose between physical or digital (in books or any other media).  I have a large collection of books (including some new ones I have purchased since owning an ereader) and I’m not about to get rid of it any time soon.  I’ve even bought physical copies of books I have digitally.

I’ve heard it argued that ebooks will ruin the publishing industry and kill brick and mortar stores.  I’ve worked in a bookstore, the internet is already doing that.  Physical stores have to sell ebooks to stay in business.  If anything ebooks are providing a better method for authors to get their work published.  Look at what digital music has done to the industry.  More artists are selling their music for a bigger percentage of the profit directly to their fans.  The same thing is happening to the publishing industry.  And just as vinyl is making a comeback physical books will always have a place with collectors and fans.

As someone who wants to put his books into print I am much more interested in looking into self publishing and ebooks than sending my manuscript to publisher after publisher in the hope that they are looking for something other than the next twilight or Stephen King clone.  (I am personally not a big fan of Stephen King’s books but I have a lot of respect for him as a writer and, from what I know about him, as a person).  Not only would I have a better chance of getting my book into the hands of readers but I would be able to make a lot more money on each book sold.  Not that it’s about the money, but if you can make money you can keep producing more work, not to mention that a starting author could make as little as 5% off the cover price of a book.

I realize that self publishing is a lot of work (not to mention the work needed to write and edit a book in the first place) but I honestly think I have a much better chance going it alone – or at least in my little group.  Ebooks are a big part of that plan.  I can make a thousand copies of a book and drive around my province trying to sell them and be lucky to sell most of them or I can make an ebook file and sell as many as possible around the world relying on word of mouth and the power of the people on the internet (and the amount of attention I can drum up on things like this blog).  It seems like an obvious decision to me.  Now I just have to finish that book.

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