Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year of the Ebook? – Katherine Roberts

Death Singer and other fantasy tales

Will 2012 be the year of the ebook? Just in case you’re still wondering, here are a few e-resolutions for readers and authors: 

Eread – You won’t understand the advantages (or disadvantages) of ebooks if you’ve never read one! Beg, borrow or buy an ereader so you can discover what works for you and what doesn’t. For example, I enjoy reading non-fiction on my Kindle. I also find it useful for out of print titles, and have bought cheap ebooks to try new authors. But I still prefer to read a longer novel in paperback, and will choose a hardcover if the book has illustrations or I plan to give it as a gift.

Escape – If you’re a frequent traveller, you can load hundreds of books on to an ereader and escape without lugging around all those heavy paperbacks! Just don't forget your charger...

Economise – You’ll find many out-of-copyright ebooks are free to download, and some publishers promote new titles and/or new authors for low prices. If you have a Kindle, keep an eye on amazon's website for news of the hottest offers, and trawl the blogs (including this one!) for hidden gems from independents.

Explore – You can have a lot of fun exploring the free samples (the first 10% of a Kindle book), which can be downloaded to your device for reading at leisure with no obligation to buy. I love these free samples… and sampling an ebook on my Kindle often drives me to buy the paperback or hardcover, which has to be good news for books as a whole.

Educate – The whole publishing industry is reacting to ebooks. Keep up with the changes. For a business blog written by an experienced US author who has lived through the changes, try

Evaluate – Ebooks are here to stay. What will happen to you if traditional paper-based systems are no longer the only way to publish? This affects authors, agents, publishers, and booksellers… and, ultimately, readers. A timely and level-headed discussion of what is happening in the publishing industry - of interest to both authors and readers - can be found in Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran.

Expand – Don't panic! Ebooks are not going to replace paper books, at least not yet. They are simply a new format. You do not have to choose ebooks or paper books… you can publish and read both.

Experiment – The eworld is still developing, so this might be a good time to try out new things. Don’t worry if some of your experiments fail. After all, you know what they say... if you never fail, you’re not trying!

I've spent a year experimenting with ebook editions of my backlist (which was out of print) and sales so far prove there is still a small demand for these titles. Not enough to justify another print run, maybe, but certainly enough to justify their existence as ebooks. I reverted the rights and published Kindle versions with amazon's Kindle Direct Platform, but if you are still under contract and have books out of print, why not ask your publisher to produce an ebook as well as a print-on-demand edition? It could be the best resolution you make in 2012...

Seven Fabulous Wonders
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Dan Holloway said...

Happy New Year Katherine!

Experiment is the one I love best. There's nothing so educational and exciting as not being afraid to fail - fail gloriously and interestingly and again and again, because that's the way you learn, and most of all that's the only way to discover what possibilities are really out there.

Katherine said...

Hello Dan - seems you're the first person today to brave Blogger's comment screen!

Yes, I agree "experiment" can be exciting... but it's probably the scariest one of all for those of us who have been taught to fear making a mistake. I probably shouldn't have said failure, since something that goes wrong, or doesn't turn out quite the way you planned, can actually (as you say) teach you quite a lot!

Marianne Wheelaghan said...

Hi Katherine, thanks for interesting post and helpful links. Yes, why not e-publish? After all, what have we got to lose? Wishing you lots of continued ebook sales :)

dirtywhitecandy said...

Eee, that was clever. Happy new year, Katherine!

julia jones said...

Neat article - happy new year, Katherine

Susan Price said...

Great post, Kath. I've recently read several paper books (because they were there) and I have to say I got increasingly irritated with having to hold them open, and place things on them to stop the page springing shut, and losing my place - I longed for my light, convenient kindle, which never loses your place!

Katherine Roberts said...

Well Sue, I never thought I'd say this, but just this morning I was reading a particularly small print and well-glued paperback in bed (without my glasses) with one hand and a cup of tea in the other, trying to angle the pages to the bedside light and thought "this might be easier to read on my Kindle..." On the other hand, if I spilt my tea on the Kindle - zap, no book at all!?