Thursday, May 6, 2010

Electronic Publishing - Plug Into The Future

When my husband told me years ago that books would grow obsolete. I shuddered. He said humans will eventually simply insert a chip into our brains. "Corn or potato?" I asked. He didn't laugh.
The Matrix films plug a person into the computer, but it's the same idea.
Brain chips haven't caught on, but my local family owned bookstore is shutting its doors, as are so many others. Sure, many are ordering paper books on Amazon, but electronic books are catching on. You can read giga-zillions of the classics on your computer, Kindle, iPhone, iPad, the... er... i...thingie (I'm sure I forgot something.) More and more writers are beginning to see the wisdom of self publishing electronically.

While watching the video of the unveiling of the iPad I got very excited about the possibilities in ebooks. You could have clickables- embedded images that get larger, video, audio- the mind just spins! Of course adding images, videos, and music you didn't create to your book will cost you. And people don't want to pay much for an ebook. I've been reading blogs and articles- looks like two bucks is about it.

I think consumers feel that if they don't have a shiny new *thing* in their hand, they don't want to fork over the dough. I mean, we've all paid more than two dollars for a used book, right? Well, some of these ebooks are self published by the author, and people are paying the author about a $1.50 for a novel. But that doesn't mean you can't make money. Between sheer volume and repeat customers, you can succeed as a novelist this way. Well, maybe. Other's have.

Here are some useful links:
Smashwords- which will convert your book to various electronic formats and help you distribute it. It's not good at fancy stuff, just text. This looks like I could actually do it.
How to make your book into an ebook and software. This looks technical.


Missantrhopics said...

Funny you should mention the digital revolution as I just posted about digital painting. It's definitely changing the way we distribute goods, like books, music, and artwork. I find it both exciting and scary at the same time!

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Oh wow, I just looked at your digital sugar skull faces. Amazing!

Yeah, the digital age is scary, but I can't hide from it any longer. I never thought I'd have a blog and here it is. Not tricked out cool, but I've got one. :)

Lydia Kang said...

That chip quote of yours was hilarious.
I think it's exciting too, but I still can't seem to commit to buying an e-reader!

Amanda Borenstadt said...

I won't buy an e-reader either.
I sure like the idea of the iPad, because it does more than e-read. If I didn't just get my tiny little Asus, I'd probably consider one.

My computer is small enough to perch on my knee, the arm of the sofa, or just about anywhere for reading or typing.

Palindrome said...

I won't be buying an ereader but the iPad is versatile enough to make me want one...once the price goes down and a few generations have worked out the kinks. I would not read books on it though. I spend all day looking at the computer, I don't need one more screen to read.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

I agree. Why pay for brand new technology when the bugs aren't worked out anyway? Let others test it. :P
You will never find me standing in line at midnight at the computer store. LOL

karabu said...

I think some people (myself included) feel that e-books should cost less, not because the writing is worth less, but because a digital file is a heck of a lot cheaper for the publisher to produce than a hardback book. I've seen some e-books selling for hardback prices and that seems silly to me.
I probably won't buy a dedicated e-reader either, mostly because I'm a creature of habit and love the feel of a real book in my hands. But I can see that maybe my kids would be easier to win over to reading from a screen than I am.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Good point, Kara. I was just thinking about the cost of paper, but I just took a look at this:

I never thought about how much moving and storing a book goes through. And so many books are returned to the publisher. Yikes!

But e-book and regular book both need to be formatted nicely. Many e-books even have nice covers designed by artists. Anybody know how much they charge for that? I'm working with one of my nieces for my potential e-book cover. No idea what to pay her or if I should pay her per copy sold.

Smashwords wants you to have a nice cover- a VERY nice cover if you're going to be in their premium listing.

Self-publishing a regular book is way more expensive per book than if a publisher is doing it because they order so many more. There's no way I'd self publish via paper.

Marketing costs can vary.

All in all, writing novels is kind of a sticky-gamble type career. Nobody is going to figure your hours at the keyboard into the cost of the novel... if you're even lucky enough to get to publishing stage.

Dang! What was I thinking??? LOL

Nishant said...

I think it's exciting too, but I still can't seem to commit to buying an e-reader!
PPC Advertising India

Amanda Borenstadt said...

I know what you mean, Nishant. But I have bought ebooks in formats that work on my regular computer and because it's such a small computer, it works nicely as an e-reader. Thanks so much for dropping by my blog. :)

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