Thursday, August 5, 2010

From Papyrus to Plastic

Two years ago I emailed a best-selling friend of mine in Ireland who told me he didn't want to wait two years for a publisher to print his latest book so he decided to make it into an ebook for sale on his website.  I was a little skeptical until he told me he sold 3000 copies in the first six months.  That's impressive! 

Since then Ebooks have taken the Publishing World by storm.  I held out for a short while saying I prefered print books, thinking to myself every time that of course I did, that's all I'd ever known! 

Well, it didn't take long.  I got some free ereading apps downloaded to my pc and before I knew it, I was ordering tons of free ebooks in seconds flat and some others under ten dollars each.  The clincher came when I took out a paperback from the library and became annoyed when I had to turn the page instead of pressing a key!  And worse, I had to push the paperback open because the words got lost in the middle toward the binding, instead of being flat like it is on my ereader... I'm a goner! 

Ereaders are like Mp3's for books.  And you can download many of them for free to your pc or phones.  Pretty nifty!  Amazon Kindle has one for free download, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Adobe Digital are all free ereaders for your pc, laptop, netbook, phones and other gadgets.  Simply go to the website of your favorite bookstore and find the free download. 

And the prices of ebooks are usually under ten dollars, another plus.  I searched for a book that I discovered is not in ebook yet and guess what I did?  Ordered the hardcover,right?  No, I decided to read a bunch of others instead that are in ebook and email the author to find out when it will be in ebook.  Yes, I love this instant gratification thing.

Most ereaders run from $100. to about $150. with the more expensive ones going to approximately $300. and more.  Amazon's Kindle was about $270. but recently came down in price and connectivity to compete with Barnes & Noble's Nook at $150 with WiFi.  The numbers here are a few cents to a few dollars off but you can research it yourself.  One thing you'll want to know is Kindle will only read Kindle books downloaded through Amazon so if the book you want isn't there, you're out of luck.  The Nook supports three efiles, pdb, pdf and epub which is the industry standard.  The Jetbook, Kobo and Sony Ereader support other files as well as epub.  Thank goodness most places will give you a choice of files to download.  There are many ereaders I didn't mention.  Be sure to do some homework before you buy one as there are different features and "feel" to each.  But then why buy one when  you can get it free on your pc?! 

What do you think of ebooks? 

Photo credits: & Nook website


  1. You nailed it, Karen. I'm at a point where my eyes need a little help. I'm not going to get it from a paperback book. A good e-reader, or a large screen desktop, with controls that let you choose the size font you need, brightness controls, and other scan-enhancing features make e-reading a pleasure.
    I have to admit, since my first print book just came out, it is an ego boost among friends and family. Also the best way to deliver an autographed book to readers.
    But, all in all, ebooks are here to stay and, I think, here to dominate.
    Horse drawn buggies, oil lamps, open cockpit biplanes, propellor driven airliners; and soon books printed on paper will be relics of the past. Such is the stuff of life.
    Thanks for posting an excellent editorial.

  2. Great post, Karen. Yes, e-books are here to stay and once a reader gets hooked on them, carrying 300+ books in one little device no matter where you go, they'll never leave home without it.

  3. Karen, I'm a print book holdout.
    -- I borrow many books from my local library.
    -- I enjoy flipping through the books at the bookstore before I decide to buy - not just the first chapter
    -- I don't want to spend money for another piece of hardware.
    -- I don't want to have to drag my laptop around with me in order to read a book. It's pretty heavy.

    I don't have an mp3 player either, and I use my cell phone only to make phone calls.

    If someone wants to offer me an ereader, light, and free -- I'd try it. Otherwise I'm off to the library.

  4. Hi Dale, excellent point, you can change the font on ereaders and there's no backlighting which is easier on the eyes. Yes, holding your own print book is intoxicating, I think! Someone needs to figure out a way for author's to sign ecopies!

  5. Lea, You bring up another great point. You can carry literally a ton of books with you. I love having a dictionary at my fingertips while reading at the doctor's office. Some are equipped with internet browsing, although limited, and with some you can write notes in the book. I know the Nook has a built in mp3 which is nice if you like to read to classical music. Nice to drown out subway noises.

  6. Margaret, thanks for sharing! Reading on the pc is mainly for home, I'd imagine. Laptops are handy but heavy. You'll be pleased to know many libraries have ereaders now with ebooks on them for lending. You can try one out soon as they becomes more widespread.

    Forgot to mention above that ebooks generally have samples of the book online so you know what the writing style is. I appreciate that.

  7. I have one of the apps, but haven't found out yet how to use it. Is there soem secret in getting the e-books onto the app? What I HAVE figured out so far tells me I will love it because it can be altered so my tired eyes can actually read the print without squinting. I wish I were more techno-savvy.

  8. A lot depends on your reading habits. I have shelves and shelves of old books, and I like to go back and re-read some from time to time. Some of these books go back to the 40's and 50's, and many of them are out of print ... but NOT out of copyright. So there is no really legal way to get these books onto an e-reader. And if someone did bring these out as e-books, should I have to pay a second time for the same books? Pay MORE than the original cost? (Many of these hardcovers sold for $3.00 in 1940's dollars.)

    This is sort of like the problem some music lovers have ... should they have to pay again for something which they own, legally, on an old LP?

    Yes, the e-readers may be great for new books, and for REALLY old stuff like the Project Gutenberg books,but there is a large class of books they are going to be no use for. Anyone got any good ideas what to do about those books? If that is a significant part of my reading, spending $150 seems kind of ill-advised.

  9. Hi Lin, There should be a synchronization button on your ereader. Press that while online and it should download the book to the reader. Otherwise, it's in your online library. Having your own online library is nice because you don't have to download all your ebooks freeing up your ereader for current reads (even though they hold anywhere from 300 - 1500 books - nice to have a portable couple of bookshelves!).

  10. Hi Jim, I hear you. I have quite a few research books that are out of print and some have illustrations that would be lost in an ereader. There are limitations.

    It's like mp3's. They are great for listening to music on the go but sharing music at a party you still want the stereo. I can't imagine putting me research books on an ereader. SO print books will never be obsolete, perhaps specialized is more like it.

  11. i spend hours one day transferring all my ebooks to a flash--computer reader here. the next time i tried to read any, the flash had quit working. grrrrr. i'm still a bit of a hold out even though just over 4 years ago when i started publishing I knew that ebooks were going to take over. just look what happened with computers, cell phones, ipods, etc.

  12. I know, Larriane! I don't think books will ever go out of print but ebooks are here to stay - they're just too convenient.

  13. There are sure a lot of advantages to ebooks, and I think there will continue to be more and more people reading them. I'm still hanging onto just print books, but I'm sure that once I tried it I would be hooked on them.

  14. Thanks for visiting, Connie! I am addicted to my ebooks but love my print for research. I've heard Kobo is coming out with a free app for your pc, too. Excited!