Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ebooks or Print?

As you probably know if you're reading this, I have my first book being published later this year with Devine Destinies. They are primarily an ebook publisher, but do print as well. They put their books out in ebook format first, and provided the book sells well , then they will invest in putting the book into print. It's easy to see why epublishers are plentiful. It's much less expensive to publish ebooks. There's a significantly lower financial risk to try a new author in ebook format as opposed to print. But what about the readers? According to Amazon, 5% of all of their book sales are in the Kindle ebook format. That's a pretty solid amount of ebooks being sold, so clearly there are readers out there that buy ebooks. However, they still aren't mainstream purchases. Since my first book will be out this summer initially as an ebook, I obviously want it to sell. Let's be honest, I want my publisher to put my book into print as quickly as possible. I have a poll running on the blog and on my website to try and get a feel for what my readers will want to buy.

I buy ebooks myself and enjoy the convenience of it. However, I also love to go to the book store and peruse the shelves. So how about you......ebook or print?


Bekki Lynn said...

I'm primarily a paperback buyer. I've only been buying ebooks for a couple of years.

The benefits of the paperback outweigh the savings you receive in purchasing an ebook for me.

That's not to say I don't buy ebooks. I do.

With a paperback, I can read in the bath, on the patio and it fits in my purse and so on. I realize an ereader would give the ebook this same effect, to a point. While, I would like to have one, I can't see myself relaxing in bed or bath with an ereader.

Sometimes I dose off while reading. A paperback falling into the bath water is cheaper to replace then an ereader would be. lol

BrennaLyons said...

Ah Bekki,

You are young in the e-book. Okay, bad Yoda voice turned off.

My first e-book released for sale more than 6 years ago (from another arm of the company our hostess is with, actually). Since then, I've had more than 60 e-book releases and more than 3 dozen print releases...and only 5 of my print releases haven't overlapped with an e-book release of the same. I'm almost perfectly split in e-book/print releases now.

I've owned two handheld readers/PDAs plus a third that belongs to my daughter...and a fourth and fifth that EPIC owned, so I'm fairly versed in them. I'd be glad to list all of the benefits of e-books for you, if you'd like to hear them. There are many you're not familiar with, I'd guess.

I'm not saying e-books are better. I was apparently the first respondent to say "either" in the polling. There are up and down sides to each.

But to put your mind at ease... PDAs are NOT easy to break. I'm really hard on machinery, and mine is 4 years old now. Falling asleep with it isn't going to kill it. In fact, it will bookmark your place when you fall asleep, putting it a nose ahead of a paper book. And the pages won't get wrinkled when you roll over on it.

As for the tub... I know people who read in the tub with a Ziploc bag over the PDA. I've done that at the pool or hottub. I usually take showers though, so I don't read in the tub. You might be better off with a paper book for that, I admit, though I can't see how anyone can read paper in the tub without risking a good book, because I'm a klutz.


BrennaLyons said...


Haven't seen you since the radio interview we did together! Hope you're doing well.

A couple of things for you. One is that it's really NOT much less expensive to put out an e-book than it is to put out a print book, at least initially, unless we're talking offset printing and warehousing, and you wouldn't be with DD.

You take all the same steps to get a book ready for sale...acquisitions, editing, cover art, ISBN... You lose about the same amount to distributors for e-book as you do for print distribution. You have cart costs. And then you try to make that investment back in sales, with e-books a fast growing but still much smaller market than print is.

The financial risk is significantly lower for e-book vs. offset print, even short run, but it's not significantly lower for POD vs. e-book. Just a thought.

That said, you can make it to print fairly quickly, if you do online marketing to get your e-book selling. When I worked for Tina, I was consistently in the top 3 for the company...usually fighting it out in the top 2. With my first ever release from eXtasy, I made the line for print in less than 3 months. I made it in 2 with the second. It can be done. Granted, that was on the eXtasy side and not DD, but the basics of selling are the same, all the way around.

If you need help with marketing, I teach classes in it (free...I'm not hitting you up for money here). I'd be glad to send you some ideas for online marketing.

Good luck!


Savanna Kougar said...

Sara, I've always loved paperback books for the reasons Bekki stated. But honestly, there are more ebooks I want to read now, because I prefer the stories more than I care for the stories available in print, these days. That is, when I get a chance to read. Not much.
Or, the books have been in e-format first, before print. I'm just not impressed with the current crop of Print Publisher authors, over all. There are THE exceptions, of course.
Although, I have to admit it is cool to have one of my books in print. I absolutely adore the way it looks and feels.

Brenna is a powerhouse. Follow in her footsteps and you will do well.

Sara Humphreys said...

Awesome feedback ladies!! Brenna I will definitely be picking your brain!!!

PG Forte said...

What a perfect post for Read-an-ebook-Week!

I actually prefer e-books--and I don't even own a reader yet!

Um, yeah, not sure what's up with that yet. Maybe I should have said still? As in, "I've been epubbed for SIX years and I still don't own a reader."

Although I am positively drooling over the new Kindle.

Honestly, other than the tub issue--I'd have to be really confident that ziplock bag didn't have any holes--and the possibility of a huge, apocalyptic, global catastrophe knocking out electrical power forever, I can't think of a single benefit of paper over digital.

And, just like Savanna said, I've been finding, more and more often, that I just prefer the stories. Epubs take risks that most established print houses just won't, for whatever reason.

Anonymous said...

I don't read e-books because I need to have the printed sheet in front of me. I get headaches if I look at a monitor screen for too long.

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