E-books: The growing forest of digital trees

Last Friday, my friends and I managed to hunt down an English bookstore here in Berlin after stumbling upon a site that recommended Booksinberlin.de (Thank goodness for technology!). As we browsed the titles, we thought about getting them online so we could store the books in a digital format (we were thinking about luggage space if we got too many books). Nevertheless, we still purchased each a physical title from the store.

I was happy with my purchase because it was quite hard reading from the tiny screen of my iTouch. It took almost twice the time for me to complete a digital book (e-book) as compared to a physical copy. I guess I am one of those readers who miss the feel of paper when reading an e-book. Tactile loss, they call it.

Despite this disadvantage (which remained an obstacle for many avid readers to adopt the e-book reading habit), I embrace the e-book revolution for the advantages it brought to us.

Mobility

Imagine lugging ten books on a single vacation, or bringing three thick textbooks to school. E-books offer us a choice of bringing hundreds and thousands of books (the number of books we store depends on our digital storage space!) with us wherever we go. Store them in our PC/Mac, blackberry, iPhone, iPad, Kindle etc! Furthermore, with multiple access points which Amazon Kindleoffer, we can also store our books on ‘cloud’ and access it through the internet from any device we have (iPad, our PC, iPhone, Blackberry or our Kindle e-reader).

Convenience

Click ‘buy’, pay and have our books delivered to us instantly within a minute or more! Now we don’t have to worry about placing reservations on a hot-selling book or waiting for weeks before your physical copy got shipped over or spending time travelling to the bookstore!

Huge library of e-books

With over 2 million titles of e-books (and the numbers are still increasing), we can definitely find a book we fancy. We can browse titles from e-bookstores like Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles and Apple ibookstore. The prices of the e-books are competitive and may be cheaper than the physical copy of the books sold in stores (Excellent for price-sensitive consumers like I am). Furthermore, I like how some e-bookstores offer us the choice of a free preview of the e-book before purchasing. I feel this is a good move on the part of the e-bookstore trying to replicate as close as possible to the experience consumers will have when browsing in a physical bookstore!

For more advantages of reading e-books on a device (for example, iPad), visit Why I Love eBooks.

Leonore H.Dvorkin (an author) made a comment about publishing her published books on Smashwords.com and Amazon.com in e-book format. She also mentioned about the high royalties these e-bookstores pay for you selling your books in e-book format and how easy it is to publish your own e-books (free if you can handle all the technical cover design stuff)

Leonore H. Dvorkin on December 18th, 2010 at 8:13 pm:

Hi, folks.
My husband (David Dvorkin) and I are both authors. We now have most of our 20 published books in ebook format via Smashwords.com and Amazon.com. On the same sites, you can find three wonderful books for children by Brian K. Nash; I am his editor. We all love this new format.
Smashwords lets you download 50% of each book to try before you buy. They also let authors set their own cover prices; almost all of our books are just $2.99 each. Smashwords pays 80% of the cover price in royalties four times a year, and Amazon pays 70% monthly. That compares VERY well with traditional publishers.
Publication on those two sites is free if you can do the rather technical formatting and your own cover design; David is a tech writer and programmer, so he had no trouble with that. He and I also offer editing and cover design services to other authors.
Brian Nash has been blind from birth, so David designed his covers, too. Brian also tells us that ebooks are quite blind-friendly, given that they can be read aloud by the machine.
So, with the low prices for the books, the ease of downloading, the ease of publication, the high royalties, the saving of paper, and many other advantages, I really do not see what there is to dislike here. To us, it is no wonder at all that ebooks are taking off like a rocket. They deserve no less. — Leonore H. Dvorkin, Denver, CO”

I feel it was a smart move of e-bookstores getting writers (especially established authors) to publish their titles digitally and bypassing the traditional publishers. Firstly, by getting established authors’ titles in digital format, it greatly grows the forests of digital books and boosts the attractiveness of their library of books, enticing more readers to purchase from the e-bookstore!

Moreover, e-bookstores also provide the channel for current and also aspiring writers to publish their own works online (whether as a free book or paid content). You and I now not only have the chance to purchase e-books, we can publish our own as well! This creates a whole new community of readers and writers who will read and publish their own short stories, thus generating a viral effect and acts as a marketing tool to gain market share in the e-book sector!

Another benefit of purchasing e-books from an e-bookstore is that we get instant reviews and evaluations of the e-book from readers who have read the book etc. Furthermore, the wonders of customer relationship management tool (adopted by e-bookstores to generate a pleasant shopping experience) provides customary tools to zone in on various selections that could be of interest to us based on our past purchases! Amazon.com is one master of excellent CRM.

With the growth of ‘convenience dollar’ and the increasing use of credit financing, there is lower aversion towards online transacting. In fact, with increased efficiency and convenience in purchasing our e-books and coupled with lower prices than brick-and-mortar stores, there is no doubt more and more people will be embracing the idea of keeping a forest of digital trees in their pockets!

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