The Great Ebook Debate

Everybody’s talking about ebooks.  It’s been a topic that’s come up with more frequency over the last year given the much debated potential demise of traditional publishing as we know it.  But it seems that with the dawn of the new year, it’s coming up more than ever.  I swear I’ve read (or more properly skimmed) at least 5 or 6 posts about it just this last week.  There was apparently some big brouhaha about it over at Dear Author–well, I tend to avoid Dear Author because there seems to always be some kind of drama or brouhaha going on over there.  It seems to be a topic that everyone is passionate about.  Frankly, I don’t really get why people get so up in arms about it.

Ebooks are a format.  Just like paperback and hardbacks are formats.  Now, I don’t personally care for ebooks.  I already spend about 90% of my waking hours at a computer.  I don’t want to read on one.  And while I haven’t actually personally seen any of the fancy ereaders, I don’t think I’d care for that either for the same reason.  I like paper books.  I like to turn pages.  I like the scent of books.  As Zoe put it the other day, “You can take it anywhere. It’s portable magic. I love what books are, I love the paper format. That’s me. It’s not the same experience on a screen. If I’m not physically turning pages, if I can’t see the number of pages I’ve gone through by book thickness and where my dog-ear is, if I can’t crack the spine, it’s just not the same thing.”  You said it, sister.  Well maybe not the part about the dog eared pages…that’s a little blasphemous :D.

But personal preference aside, I really don’t get why people so fiercely defend their choice and try to say “print books will disappear” or whatever.  Why in the hell are they offended that someone doesn’t like ebooks or likes only ebooks?  Seriously?  I’ve got way more important things I could be offended over.

There are benefits to every format.  I happen to love audiobooks because it allows me to listen to stuff in the car when I would otherwise be bored to death from radio commercials.  Other people like ebooks.  Some people even are nuts enough to want to read on their iphone (I’d rather not ruin my eyesight any more than graduate school already did, thanks).  Not my bag.  But what does that matter.  Debating preference is really just a waste of time and breath.

I am of the opinion that the more formats that exist, the better.  Whether I decide to go through traditional publishing or step into the indie ring, the more formats in which my book can be made available, the more readers I can possibly reach.  And that, dear audience (all 12 of you), is the point.  That is the bottom line.  If I am stupid enough to limit myself to one or two formats simply because those are what I personally choose to read, I am missing out on an entire segment of the reading population, and that’s just shooting myself in the foot.  I’m not my entire audience, and it’s going to be important to me to reach all the readers I can in any way I can.  It’s a business decision, not about personal preference.

3 thoughts on “The Great Ebook Debate

  1. I do love regular plain old books, but I have to admit that since I got my Kindle last summer I find it far far far easier to read a novel on that device than with a traditional book, especially in bed or in public transportation, or on a plane. I didn’t realize the full extent of my conversion until I scored a gift certificate for Barnes & Noble for xmas and bought 8 new paperbacks–and realized that wow, they are unwieldy.

    That said, it’s nice to see an argument for the idea of a FORMAT. As an author, while I may want my published book to be in a traditional hardcover in my hot little hands, in truth if people are reading my words it doesn’t really matter to me how they do so. I mean, the iPod/iPhone ereader Stanza was downloaded a million times last year and I can’t for one second think about reading a book on a screen that small!

    There will always be books just like there will always be readers. Thousands of years ago the Romans read for pleasure by means of scrolls. To lament the change in format as we progress is a futile task, methinks. There are just far too many books to read to argue over how we’re going to read them. 🙄

  2. hehe, yes I’m a little blasphemer. 😀

    And yeah, I agree, I’ll make my book available in every format I possibly can. Doesn’t matter if I personally like that format or not. It’s lost sales to me otherwise, and in this business you can’t afford any level of snobbery over how you sell your work.

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