What e-books and readers mean for writers

A writer I met on Twitter is promoting her new book. It’s in e-book format and available for the Kindle through Amazon.com. When I read more about the Kindle Direct Publishing program, and e-books in general, I had to shake my head in wonder at the technology. Instant book. Available immediately. Download now.

Publishing for the masses is as old as the Gutenberg press. But it has never been easier for writers to share their work than it is today. The digital page is becoming the norm, and e-books are no longer being associated with cheapness and lack of talent.

It’s a great time to be a writer, don’t you think? Here’s a slice of what’s available to us:

  • Powerful and affordable tablets and e-readers, created specifically to be homes for our written words
  • Book design software (much of it free and online) to produce and distribute our work
  • Millions of potential readers who are always connected and, therefore, always within reach
  • Technology that allows us to create our voices, and broadcast our words, news, and announcements instantly and regularly
  • Social networking sites that help us get to know our readers and supporters personally, and bring more to the writer/reader relationship than just a receipt or a signed book

The book industry is going through a revolution, with the popularity of e-books and e-readers. Some say this digital trend offers healthy independence and options for authors; others say the profession will die because of the low cost. The discussion is full-range, and it’s best for each writer to take part in the conversation, keep up on the trend, and make informed decisions.

Builders of these tech toys make them hard to resist. The Kindle is a beauty, with its no-glare screen. I’m testing an iPad, a work assignment for my day job that I admit has been no chore. The iPad’s display is a work of art and the apps are like candy. After tearing myself away from playing Stack the Countries, I sampled a few pages from my Twitter friend’s e-book. I favor the print book experience, but I did not feel deprived while viewing a digital page. It’s what the words say, not how the words are seen, that makes for an enjoyable read. That’s what I keep telling myself as I come to terms with this fast-tech world.

And you too must come to terms with it, if the struggle is still there. When you look at an iPad or a Kindle or a Nook, you are looking at the future of the book and publishing industry; that is, your future as a writer.

But there’s no need to let the paperless book trend cause you despair. Most publishers believe the print business will be with us for some time. These days it’s all about choices for writers. So have fun with the e-book trend. It’s another tool to bring your writing to a book-hungry world.

Question: How do you feel about e-books as compared to print books?


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4 thoughts on “What e-books and readers mean for writers

  1. My goal is not necessarily to become a millionaire author, but to share the stories that are scrambling in my head (though, a million or two would not be rejected). Kindle offers cheaper prices for books, and therefor the potential for people to read what I might eventually publish – some who might not otherwise spend two or three times as much. E-book is fine with me, and I love having a Kindle of my own.

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    1. Yes, please accept that million 🙂 I still don’t have a digital reader, but that’s because I’m saving up for a MacBook Air. My public library card is doing a fine job of supplying me with books! What’s important is that our readers have options in how they read our work and what they pay.

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  2. Darla, as a lover — no, adorer — of printed books, I can feel myself gradually becoming more open minded to the ebook. I’m intentionally working on adopting the abundance mentality that Stephen R. Covey writes about in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. There’s plenty out there for everyone! Just because ebooks are here to stay doesn’t mean there is no longer a place for print books. Like you said, it just means there are more options for the writer and the reader. It’s good news.

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    1. It all gets put into perspective each time I use a pencil to write down something I found on the internet. Old and new, working together. I have a friend whose husband has a disease that crippled his hands. He loves to read, but it took much effort for him to turn pages. She bought him an iPad and now he only needs to tap to turn the page. Good news indeed.

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