July 3, 2014 at 9:27 am #28316
While browsing books for writers this morning, I found myself saying “Ooh, I need to buy that” more than a few times. And in two instances, I started to do just that. But Amazon (which I have a very love-hate relationship with) kindly notified me that I’d already bought the Kindle version (the only version available for these two).
So I checked my e-book library, and sure enough, there they were. But here’s the thing. I don’t want to read nonfiction resource-style books in e-book form all the time. For a quick scan when I want something specific? Sure. But for any resource I really love, I want a copy on my bookshelf that I can devour over and over again, minus all the tapping, scrolling, and disconnected feeling.
I know not everyone feels that way. I love e-books. For short works, I think they’re the best format and an e-book only option is fine. But if you’re going to publish a 200-400 page business book, that’s something I expect to see in print too. And I wish more indie authors would embrace print options, even if they plan to primarily promote their e-books.
As it stands now, there are at least a half dozen writing books I’d happily buy print versions of. But they’re not available. And as a reader, that frustrates the hell out of me. Remember folks, good marketing is about satisfying customer expectations. So don’t leave them hanging. If your readers are the type who still want print books, make sure you’re giving them the option. You might be missing out on a lot of book sales (including double sales from people like me who buy e-books as more of an intro to an author’s work).
Have you ever come across e-books that you loved and wanted a print copy of, only to find out they weren’t available? As an author, do you try to make sure at least your longer works are available in both formats? Why or why not?July 16, 2014 at 7:39 pm #28508
I’m a stickler for having as much available in print as I can, but there is always a huge lag between getting my eBook copy ready and getting the print version on the shelves. It’s much harder (for me) to get formatting and cover right on the print versions. I even have short stories in print and while they don’t sell a ton, they DO sell, which means people want them.
As far as books from other authors: I generally only read eBooks so I don’t even notice when someone doesn’t have something in print.July 17, 2014 at 8:43 am #28509
That’s interesting Yo. I wouldn’t have thought to put short stories in print. I’m not sure I’ll bother with that with the horror stories, simply because I want to release a print collection after the solo e-releases. That’s for series-specific stories though. For one-offs, that’s something I’ll have to consider.
I would go batty if I could only read e-books. While I love them, it’s not how I prefer to consume most information — and definitely not fiction. I’ll buy the first e-book in an author’s series to give it a read (sometimes a partial read). If I like it, I’ll buy the whole series in print. If I don’t like it, no shelf space lost.
I’m a little more open to e-books with nonfiction, but then it’s a case of urgency and thoroughness. If it’s a comprehensive resource, I’m only interested in a print version. If it’s highly-specific, and therefore shorter, content I’m okay with an e-book. Or if I want it now I’m okay with an e-book, just as I’m happy to pay more for the convenience of instant delivery.July 17, 2014 at 9:24 am #28511
To your original question, yes. There are plenty of books I wanted to buy in print versions, but they weren’t available in that format.
I like some books in electronic form –smaller books, like you mention, cookbooks, cooking magazines, etc. What I don’t want is Cooks Illustrated in e-form. It’s just too big, and I think you lose something in translation.
I like the convenience of e-books — buying is ridiculously simple. But I still reach for the print books when I sit down to read. After staring at a computer screen all day, staring at another screen just doesn’t appeal.July 18, 2014 at 9:39 am #28556
This particular short story is (ATM) a one-off. For my short serial episodes, I wait until an entire season is done and offer just the collection in print. Like Lori mentioned, I wouldn’t read a cookbook as an e-book (although, I don’t use cookbooks, I find recipes online which–hey … wait a minute …) and I probably wouldn’t get something like Writer’s Market in e-book format, but 99% of what I read is on my Paperwhite. I just don’t enjoy holding books anymore. I find them cumbersome, hard to read, and annoying. Recently I signed up for a trial of Scribd which has forced me to read on my iPad. The iPad is much heavier than the Paperwhite and is more like a computer screen, but it’s still preferable to paper books for me.July 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm #28564
I agree about WD. If I wanted that digitally, I’d just order the database subscription and have up-to-date info whenever changes are introduced. I’m not sure about cookbooks. Maybe if it was something highly specialized. I could see them going over well with tablet users perhaps. Hubby found several of my cookbooks in a box over the weekend. I didn’t miss them one bit. I have a lot of them, but I almost never use them. If I want to make something I check online and pick a recipe based on reviews or ingredient lists (love the sites that let me input what I have on-hand and spit out things I can do with them).August 12, 2014 at 8:38 pm #28799
I dig print still in an insane way. Until I get another Nook, it is more than likely I’ll keep lusting after print pages. Since I read so much indie fiction, it does become a struggle since indie print doesn’t have the bargain options trad pubbed ones have, or they just plain aren’t available in print. Everything that I can (length minimum pending decisions) will be available in print, as much as is viable for me.August 13, 2014 at 1:36 am #28807
I was just thinking more about the print vs e-book thing today. And I have to wonder… will buying behavior change as same-day shipping becomes more of a norm? Instant gratification is a huge deal in buying e-books. And I’m curious to see how things play out when that benefit isn’t as great. Now that Google’s getting in on the game (and working with B&N to same-day deliver books in a few locations), it’s a safe bet that they and Amazon are going race to expand on that front. If I had a choice between a print copy and an e-book copy, and I could get that print copy today, I suspect I’d start buying far more print books again. I wonder if it would have any affect on indies in particular — making print books more attractive again, but potentially leaving indies out of that market if they don’t have access to the same distribution channels where same-day shipping is an option. Obviously Amazon has a good bit of potential there. I’d just hate to see them use it as another bait tactic to get indie author exclusivity for KDP Select or something.
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