E is for eBooks

EFor decades, the music industry believed that what they sold were albums (on vinyl and then on CD). When mp3s became a standard electronic file format for audio files, the music studios had no idea what to do. The idea that they were selling music seemed to elude them. Now things have started to settle out a bit, and you can buy music online from a number of retailers. But not so long ago, the only way you could buy music was to buy their album product or pirate the content. For years, I would play the CDs I bought once — when I ripped them to iTunes so I could put the mp3 files onto my iPod.
We’re seeing similar things now in the book industry, which is only now starting to wake up to the fact that they are in fact selling writing, not the physical package of the writing we call “books.”
eBooks really kind of brought that to the fore. At first, people were skeptical — I was skeptical. But lots of people loved this easier, quicker, convenient way to buy and read books. It was about the content, not about the package.
Of course there’s still packaging involved, but the means to create that packaging are not restricted to the deep-pocketed few. Meanwhile, authors are finding that their readers are much closer, much more within reach directly in the market than ever before.
Of course, ebooks represent a minority of overall book sales (or so we suspect). But the paradigm has shifted. We are not selling packages created by publishers. We are selling writing created by authors.

12 thoughts on “E is for eBooks”

  1. My next book will not be released through my current publisher. Because every bit of promotion and marketing has been done by me, the author. And that wasn’t how it was supposed to be.
    This is freeing … and also scary. The responsibility for success will be mine.
    Thanks for this article. In this new publishing climate, publishers who succeed will be able to grow and change and adapt. And work alongside the authors who create the work they publish.

  2. Laura, I’m hearing so much at this retreat about eBooks and also (Laura Hile) regardless of how you publish (big, medium, small or self) the agents, authors and editors are all saying the writer must self-promote.

    1. I did not expect to have to do ALL the promoting. Including having to talk my publisher into running a sale on my books. sigh
      OH well, we live and learn. It’s time to put my big girl pants on and publish myself. Because I do have a fan base of loyal readers.
      Note to self: “Write, Laura, write.”

  3. I know when I visit up north in the summer, there were no real book stores available and sending away for books would take more time then a visit. Having an eReader made it possible to keep reading material available. In a small car, you can only pack so many books for pleasure when you are also carrying instruments and music and all the other essentials you need for the visit. However, I must say, I still do enjoy having a book in my hands when it is possible.

    1. Because you never know which book you might want to read, right, Linda? 🙂 My family thought I was crazy for lugging around five or six books. The Kindle makes traveling so much easier. Plus, I always have a Bible at hand (though navigating through the print copy is easier). I sell many more ebooks than print books.

      1. I don’t mind reading a story in ebook form but most spiritual or counseling styles books beg to be interacted with so I fill my margins with writing. It doesn’t work as well with ebooks.

  4. Being a lover of books, I have found the Kindle to be a marvellous addition to being able to read on the move, on my travels etc, but I still love the feel, look and touch of a printed book.

  5. Stopping by on the 7th day of the #Challenge. Glad I did. I published a novel with BooK Baby because I wanted to be a part of the e-book world. I have been pleased with the results. The fundamental things still apply…as time goes by….a well crafted, EDITED, manuscript with a good cover, regardless of its image size. Still hear people saying, “Oh, but I must hold the book in my hands.”That’s why I still buy a favorite author that comes out in hard back and I can’t wait for paperback. But if a book is available on my Kindle, 9 out of 10 times I buy it that way. And so are others. Thanks for interesting posts on the #atoz. If you have time or interest, I’m writing about gardening and related topics this month. Stop by if you can.

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  8. Thanks for the comments, everyone! I too love print books as well, and print-on-demand is where we are going with that. I am so looking forward to holding our own books in hand. Somehow that seems more real to this old-school book reader. 🙂


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