From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Thursday, September 23, 2010

E-Books: Blessing or Curse?

Admittedly, I live in a two e-reader household.  I bought a Kindle for my husband as a gift, and about six months later I purchased a Barnes and Noble Nook for myself.  I have stacks and stacks of traditional books that I have purchased over the last few years, some read, some not, but they take up so much space.  That's what attracted me to the world of e-readers.  You can download around 1,500 books to your e-reader, and if that's not enough, you can add a memory card so that you can add to your library.

I'll dispense with the Kindle vs. Nook debate.  The main difference is that the Nook has a touch screen menu at the bottom, whereas the Kindle has a little button-like keyboard.  As far as design, I slightly prefer the Nook for its touchscreen, but the usability is similar to the Kindle.  You can adjust the font size on the screen, so you don't have to worry about text being too small.  Additionally, the screen has no glare and really does appear very similar to a printed page.  I've not yet seen an iPad in use, but I understand it's pretty cool. 

A major advantage to purchasing e-books over printed books is price.  Many e-books can be purchased for $9.99 or less compared to $15 to $20 for the print version.  Both Amazon and Barnes and  Noble offer a selection of free books as well, including many of the classics.  Additionally, you can lend and borrow books from your friends who also own e-readers.  Another great feature is that you can usually download the first chapter or two to see if you like the book before you purchase it.  And, you can shop from home and get the book almost instantly.

By the time my daughters are in college, I'm hopeful that most textbooks can be downloaded onto an e-reader, which is a trend that has already begun.   You know how outrageously expensive hard cover text books are.  Plus, with e-textbooks, they won't have to lug all those heavy books around in a backpack!

As a reader, I'm a fan of the e-book.  They do lack a certain tactile quality that you get from a printed book, but for me, the benefits of e-readers outweigh the comfort I get from cracking open a new printed book.

As a writer, however, I'm wondering how I feel about e-books. I haven't published a book...yet. When I do, however, the reduced royalty in e-book sales versus traditional book sales is disturbing.  With e-books, the publisher takes a greater chunk of the profit and the author and the retailer get the shaft.  If the author can make up the difference by selling a larger volume of books in electronic form, that's fine.  But there are no guarantees for increased sales if your book is released in both electronic and traditional forms.

Collectively, authors should certainly be savvy in negotiations with publishers when it comes to e-book royalties.  In this pivotal time in the publishing industry, authors should bare their backbones to try to shape a future industry that will treat authors equitably. Of course, that's easy for me to say, as someone who's never negotiated a publishing deal.

What are your thoughts on e-books?  Do you feel differently about them from a reader's perspective than you do from a writer's perspective?  I'd love to know your thoughts on e-books in general. 


  1. Love my nook as a reader, but as an aspiring author, I do wonder what will happen to royalties on e-books over time. As the market becomes more e-book oriented, will the publisher relinquish some of the profits to the author and retailer?
    I understand that while this is all new, they are the ones taking the risk, but it's not as if unsold e-books are going to be sent back to them. I don't foresee e-book prices going down anytime soon, though.

    I'm definitely curious about how this is all going to even out.

    Great post!

  2. I like e-readers a lot more from the reading perspective than the writing perspective. I have the same concerns you mentioned. Maybe by the time I publish a book there will be a revolution in the industry. :)

  3. I think the ebooks are a blessing!!! They save room in my backpack and cost less money! Not to mention that is one less tree that would be cut down to make my book!

    check out for ebooks. That is where I got mine and their prices were legit and everything was easy to do!

  4. Mark me down for "They're an abomination."

  5. Duffy Moon, you'd prefer to read books on stone tablets if they were available, wouldn't you? Or perhaps parchment?


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