An e-book is a book that is in electronic format, meaning that a reader can download the book from the Internet, in a variety of formats (pdf, word, rtf etc) and read it on their computer, on their e-book reader (of which there are many, even iPods can store e-books so that users can read from their iPod) or print out the e-book onto paper if they so choose.
What are the advantages of e-books over traditional paper books? Well, for one, trees aren’t cut down in order to produce the paper used. For another, the reader doesn’t need to drive or take the bus to a bookstore to get a book. The book is delivered directly to your computer. No wasted gas or pollution. E-books are also priced less expensively than paper books.
What are the ‘traditional’ views of e-books? Traditionally, the prevailing view was that e-books were of poorer quality than their paper cousins. That may have been true at one time, but it is no longer true. Many very well-written books are turned down by traditional publishers because the publisher wants a sure thing. Traditional publishing costs and risks are so much greater than e-publishing just by the nature of the beast. The risks are so large that publishers lean towards big name authors and to authors who write in the most popular genres. E-publishers don’t have that issue as much. Yes, the still hire editors and cover artists and promote the books, but since they’re not printing actual books, they can afford to take risks on lesser known but equally or superior talented authors who write excellent stories.
E-publishing is the democratization of publishing. Less expensive books. Equal or better quality writing. Deliverable to any computer on the planet in seconds. Fewer costs. Less pollution. Decreased use of natural resources.
Traditional publishers are also realizing the benefits of e-books and many are now offering e-books themselves. Traditional publishers are interested in a less costly production and distribution model and e-publishing is it. No need to worry about book returns of 70%. Book returns are those books originally purchased from the publisher by a bookstore or book chain and did not sell. The publishers then must give back the money the book buyers paid for the books. So authors of books may only be paid once a year, once book returns are known. With e-books, there are no book returns. The reader has bought the book. End of story. The authors are paid regularly based on their actual sales, not on projected sales.
I didn’t mean to go into e-books, but once I started I thought I should explain the significance of e-books versus traditionally published books. Some people say that they don’t want e-books because of eye strain. Right now, there are e-book readers available that don’t have that problem. The screen actually looks like a piece of paper. And you can store many books in one e-book reader: you can carry a library of books with you in a package the size, perhaps a little heavier, of a paperback novel.
The publishing industry is going through a shake-out, one that is being accelerated by the global economic slowdown. Traditional publishers are looking for ways to decrease their costs without decreasing market share or quality. E-publishing seems to be the answer.
So my novel will be an e-book, easily purchased from http://www.cerridwenpress.com. At your convenience starting March 19, 2009. Cover art by Croco.