Monday, December 13, 2010

To E or Not To E - The eBook Revolution

"eBooks are like microwaves...microwaves didn't replace ovens, but gave us a new choice for cooking. eBooks won't replace books, but they give us a new choice for reading." - Heather Hummel

To E or Not To E?
The obvious answer is To E – to join the eBook revolution of Kindle, the Nook, iPad, Sony Reader, and others. Those who resist will only regret. It doesn't mean you have to give up your coveted hardcovers and paperbacks...just like you haven't given up your oven just because you got a microwave. It does mean that whether you're a reader or an author, if you don't join in on the eBook revolution, you're missing out.

As an author, I am quite pleased that the question isn’t To Read or Not To Read! In fact, the eBook revolution has brought quite a bit more attention to books and the different options for acquiring, reading, sharing, and enjoying them…and that’s a very good thing!
Authors today have more flexibility than ever in regards to where and how their books are sold. Gone are the days where book sales depended on the author plotting a tour around big cities and niche neighborhoods to sell their books—usually at $25 in hardcover. Instead, a Tweet, Facebook post, blog, or e-announcement delivers the word (no pun intended) to the world that their book is available. Feedback is almost instant from readers in almost the exact formats that they heard about the book in the first place...if a reader loves your book, they will often post a mini-review on their Facebook page or Tweet it…some even blog about it. It’s only natural that eBooks are promoted, read, and reviewed all in the one-stop-spot of our electronic devices.
The name Kindle is actually quite brilliant. The word itself subconsciously conjures images of sitting fireside curled up with a book. Adding that warm element to an electronic device has successfully enticed even the hardcore “gotta hold it in my hands” book lovers (I have seen many an elderly gentlemen at coffee shops reading their Kindles). Those who are vision impaired appreciate its option to increase the font size. Saving trees, convenience, and the continued lowering prices of the device and the books sold on it make it an easy sale.
Remember, there are nearly 300,000 new book titles published each year. This increase is greatly due to the ease and convenience of self-publishing. Traditional authors’ titles are automatically converted to eBook format by their publisher. My book Gracefully has been on Kindle since it was published by McGraw-Hill in 2008. My novels, Through Hazel Eyes and The Universe Is My Sugar Daddy, as well as my clients’ books are the titles that I’ve been responsible for loading to eBook formats. With approximately a dozen eBook formats available (including some of the originals like HTML and PDF versions), it’s almost a full-time job ensuring your books’ are available in this not-so-new-anymore venue. For many authors, the questions are, “Is my book automatically in eBook format?” and “How do I load my book to eBook formats if I’m self published or my publisher hasn’t or won’t do it?”
Fortunately, sites and services like Smashwords, take on the eBook formatting role for those who are responsible for their own eBook creations. However, their formatting requirements are quite stringent and if not done properly, can result in an eMess. Having done quite a few books to eBook transitions for my own books and for clients, I can say, it’s a learning experience I didn’t think I’d be going through when I started my publishing company six years ago!
I am most pleased that the quandary is what format to read—not whether or not to read. The world of books for readers and the joy of writing for writers is one of the few Ying and Yang experiences that this world continues to benefit from. And for that, I’m happy.

Heather Hummel is a Celebrity Ghostwriter and the Author of GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe, Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best At Any Age, Through Hazel Eyes and The Universe Is My Sugar Daddy. She has never smoked a cigarette or drank a cup of coffee. 
Her novels are available for 99 cents on Kindle.

1 comment:

Tara said...

Thank you Heather for the link to this article. You are absolutely right - having the question be how to read a book, and not whether or not to read is the most important accomplishment!

Tara, on behalf of Fictionista Workshop