Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why should I buy your ebook?

Remember the Dewey Decimal System and the card catalogues at the library? Maybe.
Nowadays, if you are looking for a book in a library, all you have to do is search the library’s website. Type the book, CD, DVD, or magazine’s title and it’ll tell you if the book is available or not. If you are to lazy to do the searching, the librarian will do it for you. No, not by opening a drawer full of index card catalogue—I believe you’ll find those in an archive—but also through the library’s website.

How about dictionaries? Do you still use the fat printed version of Webster as your writing companion or do you have Merriam-Webster Online version now? I use WordWeb most of the time. It is quicker and easier. I remember in college, we used to have a contest in my English class on who could find the specific word given by our instructor the fastest. We learned that we have to open the dictionary in the middle first and then see if you have to look on the left half or right half for the word. Well, I don’t have to do that now. Online dictionaries can find the word for me in seconds.

I think many people embrace these kinds of changes. Why not? We like anything that saves us time and provides fast service.

But how about reading a book through computers or E-Readers like Kindle? Are people ready to embrace that kind of change, too?

Both of my books available right now are in E-Book format. I tell you, I could have sold more copies if they were printed and could be purchased through the brick and mortars.

I met people who wanted to give their support by purchasing a copy, but when they learned they have to buy the book online by creating an account and using their credit card they balked. Someone said she doesn’t feel comfortable ordering anything online. The other asked how she could read an E-book? And if the book is “rated R” then she didn’t want it saved in her computer because her kids might find and read it. Another woman said she liked to read while taking a bath. Using a laptop while bathing is just not going to happen.

The discussion about whether to buy an E-Book or print books started.
Although I love using my laptop, I agree with one woman about not being able to curl in bed with my laptop (I don’t own a Kindle or I-touch).

I am sure there are those who swear that E-Book is the future and printed books will be obsolete. Do you believe this?

Please tell me three things that you like or dislike about E-Books. Or three reasons why you will never give up reading printed books. I look forward to reading your answer. Maybe next time I find myself defending E-Books, I’ll be able to stand my ground.

Tierney O’Malley

26 deadly screams:

Pheebles said...

Ebooks are cheaper, I can have my copy instantly, without leaving home, and my ebook reader is easier to hold in my arthritic hands than a print book. I have done more reading since buying an e-reader than I had done in the past few years.

Tierney O'Malley said...


I never even thought about the prize!
You are right. There are great ebooks out there that are half the prize of hardbound books.

"my ebook reader is easier to hold in my arthritic hands than a print book"

This will definitely make it on my list of advantages of buying an ebook.

Dannyfiredragon said...

I live overseas and have problems to get print books, so the big advantage of ebooks are that they are always available for me. Another advantage is that you don't have to wait so long till the books are released.

markalders said...

I must admit I do like to read the printed form. Then again, I also like the idea of my eBooks being instantly available to anyone on the planet. It's a hard call to choose between them. There's nothing like the smell of a printed book. I wonder if you can buy "old book smell" as a fragrance? A Kindle could intermittently spray as you click the page turn button :-)

I think eBooks will be the future, although I don't have a solid reason why.

Debby said...

The good thing about ebooks is that they are instant gratification - most of the time. I have had problems getting them to download on occasion. But they tend to be shorter and I have found that the price for the longer ones is increasing to the point where they cost is the same as regular books. I do love to curl up with books in bed and the cost of the reading devises is pretty high.

Magdalena Scott said...

ONLY THREE reasons?!? Hm...

1. Instant purchase.
2. Continuity. I can read in bed, put the ipaq in my purse the next morning, pick up where I left off if I have to wait at the hair shop or whatever. (No more killing time with magazines I don't care about.)
3. Reasonable price. You can pick up an old PDA on ebay--or in a drawer at your house?--teach it Mobipocket, and away you go! I blogged about this:

I'm enjoying your discussion!

Kissa Starling said...

I do like to read ebooks but and I do use an online dictionary most of the time. The difference is I know how to use print research books. A lot of kids today excpect everything to be instant and don't have a clue how to find something if it isn't on the internet- that worries me.

As far as pleasure reading for fun I think that's great but I do wish teachers would force students to go through the process of real research.


Becky said...

I will read both formats. I like that you can get the books faster with the E-Book format. I also like it that they cheaper. When I worked on computers all day, I prefered to go home and hold a printed copy of the book. It gave my eyes a break from looking at a screen. I still prefer the printed copy over the E-Book.

Cynthya said...

I prefer ebooks. I have 16 bookshelves groaning under the weight of all the books I've crammed in them and there's no room for any more. I like being able to increase the font size on my ebooks so I can read them more easily. I also find my ebook reader much easier to hold than an new paperback.

The only thing that worries me is if an author's older print books go out of print I can search through used bookstores for copies, and if an ebook is no longer for sale, I'm out of luck.

HeatherB said...

I like both and I do think e-books will be catching on like wildfire very soon. I am quite convinced, as the whole GREEN revolution is taking hold and, frankly, bookstores and pubs dump THOUSANDS of monthlies (Harlequins, etc.) and magazines in the landfills every week. Not very Earth-friendly. Not to mention, the resources and power it takes to print them and then the gas to ship them.

People will probably always want both, some authors or books to hold and love over and over and some where we can get it instantly, read it anywhere, and put this book on your e-device along with 200+ others that you don't have to carry in your luggage (because, God knows the airlines will charge you for it!) or store once you're finished.

Just read this article yesterday.

Tierney O'Malley said...

Thank you all for stopping by and for leaving your comments. My mind is not functioning right right now so I can't write anything.
I was reading your comments when my mom called. My brother died this morning. He was 42.

Tierney O'Malley said...

Sandy Marshall, author of The Catalyst emailed me this link.

http://www.nytimes. com/2008/ 12/24/technology /24kindle. html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1230393820- fZI49yTx+ Wo3FswR8GH82Q

Such a great read.


Tierney said...

I just love your firedragon!
I have friends and family overseas. And they said the same thing. If my books weren't available online, they won't be able to read about my naughty characters. :D


Tierney said...


Nice to see my fellow eXtasy author here!
I love the smell of new books! I'm such a big fan of contemporary and historical romance books that I've collected expensive and beautiful bookmarks. What am I going to do with them if I switch to Kindle? :(

kirsten saell said...

As a reader I like them because:

1)I can have a new book in my hands any hour of the day, without getting out of my jim-jams.

2)I don't have to drive 200km to get to a store with more selection than the rack at my drug store.

3)No shipping charges.

4)If you buy from an epub, they're generally cheaper than print.

5)You'll find content you might not easily come across in print (menage romance, etc.).

6)Since I got my Sony, I don't have to deal with hand fatigue from holding a book one-handed--I can set it on my knee and read virtually hands-free.

7)I can enlarge the text.

8)I can carry hundreds of books in my purse or suitcase, and they only weigh a few ounces.

9)I don't have to carry my m/m/f menage erotic romance up to a counter to have some teenaged cashier sneer at me.

10)No clutter.

As an author, I like them because:

1)I'm free to write stuff that print pubs might not be willing to gamble on.

2)Relatively short time between contract and release date.

3)Purely digital editing process. (I've heard some NY pubs still do hard copy and red pen, yikes!)

4)40% royalty? Boo-yah!

5)Being on the cutting edge of the new publishing paradigm. I know it sounds geeky, but it's true...

Tierney O'Malley said...


"I do love to curl up with books in bed and the cost of the reading devises is pretty high."

My husband said the same thing. He likes to read in bed since he became addicted to reading comic books as a child. And he added that books--all genre--are available at the library for free. No downloads, no need to use his credit card. BUT he supports the ebook publishing industry. Glad he said the latter. I was already contemplating kicking him out of the house.


Tierney said...


Wow! Your post about old PDAs is great. I'll post the link again.

Anonymous said...

I would say the price, and they are usually better edited than print books! I have read some fantastic novella's from ebook authors. And because they are a little shorter, I still have time for my family. *grin*

Tierney said...

Hi Cynthia,

"The only thing that worries me is if an author's older print books go out of print I can search through used bookstores for copies, and if an ebook is no longer for sale, I'm out of luck."

I must admit. I don't know what happens to the ebooks that are no longer for sale. Hmm...any thoughts on this anyone?


Melissa Bradley said...

Hope I'm not too late, but I wanted to chime in. I am huge fan of print books and an author of ebooks. I love my print books, but I am seeing the light on why ebooks are gaining popularity and agree with the comments already left. They are environment friendly, easy to store, you can take more than one or two when you travel and in this economy they are cheaper. I do love the contract turn around time,the royalties and the easy digital editing process as an author.

I am very sorry for your loss, Tierney. My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family.

Natasha said...

I love both print and ebooks. My ebookwise reader wasn't expensive and I can curl up in bed with it and don't even need a light on. I also love the instant downloads and the variety of story lengths and subjects.

But I still love to buy and read print books and am glad some of my work is available in print because most people I talk to don't buy or read ebooks - most have never even heard of them. So each time I read on my ebookwise in public I use it as a way to enlighten a few more people. :)

Great discussion, Thierney. So sorry for your loss.


Laurel Bradley said...

I got a Sony e-reader for Christmas. I love it. I love having a bunch of books in one spot withouth the worry of where to put them when I'm done reading them.

Down sides.
No book signings.
No loaning the book to a friend. Making a second copy for them is wrong, and I won't do it.
No borrowing a book from a friend (see above).
No admiring the cover. I see the cover once, at the start of the book and that's it.
No paging back quickly to check the hero's eye color. Yes, there's a page pack feature, but it's easier to flip a dozen pages with paper. I haven't figured out how to do a bunch of pages quickly with the Sony (guessing what page number it's on, isn't practical).
And what happens when the technology changes?
Laurel Bradley
A Wish in Time
Creme Brulee Upset

KB said...

Tierney, I'm so sorry about your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

I see no reason it has to be one or the other. I never buy hardcover books, but obviously many people do. There are enough plusses and minuses, IMO, that there will always be a reason to have choices. The more choices in format (digital, hardcover, paperback, audio) the better.

As for why I love ebooks, I love that I can load them on my PDA and have them everywhere, at all times. And that includes curled up on my bed or in the bath. It's actually much easier to read an ebook on my PDA, one handed, then a paperback, in the tub. As long as I don't drop it! The difficulties with sharing is definitely a downside. I just bought an iPhone and am planning to keep my old PDA as a sharing tool. If I have an ebook that I think someone will like and will be a good introduction to ebooks in general, I can put it on there and loan them the whole device. Not as easy as just handing over a paperback, but hopefully it will work to introduce some people to ebooks.

Sierra Wolfe said...

Tierney, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. My heart goes out to you and your family. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. If there is anything I can do, please let me know. Even if you just want to talk. I'm here for you.

I think ebooks are wonderful, but I hope that print books never go out. I love to hold a book in my hands and the smell, I don't think I could do without it permanently.

The convenience of ebooks can't be beat. I do believe they are the wave of the future and more and more people are finding out about them. They will continue to grow in popularity.

Evia said...

I have only purchased three ebooks, but so far have felt really let down by the experience. I went into it prepared to adjust to the possible lack of "curling up in bed with a good book" feeling, but found that I had other unexpected issues with the books. None of them were edited properly. The quality of writing by the authors was sub-par (I won't name names), making me wonder if expectations of epublishers is lower than that of print. Yes, I've read print books that weren't all that good either, but can't recall any that were this bad! I came away feeling as though I'd completely wasted my money and time.

I guess that if a publisher isn't having to take on a large financial risk for a book, such as promotion, printing costs and advances, then the expectations might be lower? I've been wondering about that. I bought the books from an epublisher who is reputable by all accounts and I could not find a single bad word on the internet about this epublisher. As authors, how do you feel about epubs? Are they just a baby-step up for you into the world of print publishing or do you have the penultimate dream fulfillment of having your work published as an ebook? I hope that no one takes offense because I mean this in the frankest way possible, but while I think that the idea of epubs being "kinder, gentler publishers" is a nice one, if the former is the case, I am not really interested in buying with my hard-earned money someone else's puberty in the publishing world.

I did also read a free book on googlebooks and enjoyed it. But it was a book that had been in print before.

Another thing that bothers me is that books are also things. One can pass a good book around and get others interested in an author, or pass on a book that one might not have liked but feels someone else might. Anyway, I feel like when I spend my money on a book, I own a tangible thing...a box of ideas, to put a finer point on it. Owning a book is a tactile experience in a way that owning the device that the words are loaded onto is not.

I would be willing to give ebooks another chance if things improve, but probably won't purchase anymore of them anytime soon.

Lynne Connolly said...

Electronic publishing is a format, not a type of book. I'm not an ebook author, I'm an author. My books come out primarily in ebook format, but also in print.
Why condemn a whole group of companies on just three books? I've read badly written, badly edited books in print, but I've never said to myself, "right, I'm not buying any more of those print books," although I have noted that author as one to avoid in future, whether her books are released in print or e and I have noted the publisher as one to avoid unless I can read a substantial amount online first.
But I have to say, the ebook world has developed in the last year so that I'm selling thousands, not hundreds. Still not nearly as many as print books, but I didn't go into writing to make a fortune, just to write.
I read on my ebookwise and on my Ipaq, and being in the UK, it means I can get the books on the day of release, instead of waiting for British versions to come out and pay twice as much for them.