The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group


The dream of every writer has been to get published, and when we think publishing, we think traditional publishing with hardcover and trade paper, finally ending up in pocketbook at Safeway. But are you sure this is what you want?

Last year, Barnes&Noble and Amazon both saw the sale of e-books and e-readers overtake and surpass the sale of paper books. The mighty Powell’s, the largest indie bookstore in the country and possibly the world, just laid off 10 percent of its workforce and froze salaries and canceled 401k contributions for their remaining staff. They blameย  e-books. Borders has fallen, or at least is struggling to get up.

I am fortunate to live near Powell’s and it is my favorite place on earth. I’ve been going there since it opened. Which may give you some idea how old I am. I was one who was never going to switch to e-books. I love the feel, smell, sound, sight of a book more than anything else. About the only thing I don’t like is that weird thing they do when dropped in the bathtub. But as I approach 60, my body no longer likes books. In order for me to read, I have to take off my glasses, close one eye, squinch up the other, and hold the book about three inches from my face. I can only do this for about five minutes before it becomes tiring. I’ve tried all sorts of solutions, most involving my eye doctor, and finally had to admit that I couldn’t read anymore.

So I bought a NOOKcolor. I can now read anything available, and most of it is available. After several years of only reading on my computer (bumped up to 200 percent), I’ve read roughly four to five books a week since I got my NOOK. The NOOK is my first piece of adaptive technology and I suspect a hearing aid is not far behind.

But why should authors consider e-books? Well, there are several reasons, and I’ll put them in the next post. But first a disclaimer. I am not talking about self-publishing here. Not that I have anything against self-publishing, but most of the self-published books I’ve seen have serious flaws in writing, editing, structure, and just about everything else. Self-publishing, as it stands now, gives e-books a bad name. Yes, some people, like Amy Rose Davis, produce beautifully written, well-edited, engaging self-published e-books. But the vast majority are, IMHO, garbage. If people want to self-publish, go for it. But for Pete’s sake, hire an editor. A real one. Not your best friend. Do it for yourself and for your craft. Because, folks, I have to tell you: e-books are where it’s at.

More at 11.

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Comments on: "Why You Should Consider E-books" (9)

  1. Thanks for the really nice shout-out, Susan! I’m watching Puddletown closely… Can’t wait to see you take PDX and publishing by storm! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Amy

  2. Gina Blechman said:

    I refuse to believe it. Maybe it’s because I’m young and set in my ways, (which, in some respects, I think is harder to overcome than being “old and set in my ways”), or what, but I just feel like all of this technology is sucking the nostalgia out of some things. I mean, it’s fine if you are having issues reading regular books and need a supplement, I get that. But how can I willingly give up the lovely smell and feel and crinkling sound of real books.

  3. Susan Landis-Steward said:

    It’s always young adults who say they’ll never read e-books. My crowd is all over 50 and when an e-reader comes out, everyone clusters round. The next time we’re together, there are a few more to pass around. I said all sorts of things as a young person but age has its way . . . now I’m so grateful that I live in an age where almost anything I want to read is available in a format I can read. Unlike some of my older (and now dead) relatives, I’ll never have to give up the joy of reading.

    And, one other benefit, I have a tendency to travel with books and bring back even more books (after a month in Turkey I had to ship home two boxes of books, many of them in Turkish, a language I don’t speak!) Now I just tuck my NOOK in my bag and I have 500+ books waiting to be read.

  4. I still read “real books.” But now that I have an e reader on my phone I always have a book, or two or three, with me. I can’t store as many on my phone as on a NOOK, but for now that doesn’t matter. And I can check out library books without having to climb the steps to the library.

  5. I’m almost in the other boat — I spend so long staring at a laptop screen for writing and blogging that when it comes to reading, I just want to pick up a book.

    My main bugbear with ebooks is the length. I’ll download what’s meant to be a romance ebook and it’s only 40k words. They often don’t list the word count, and if it’s a paper book, I can check before I buy. Not the case here and I end up feeling cheated.

    So yes, I do buy ebooks. I won’t be shelling out for an ereader, though; my laptop will do. I prefer paper books; their expense can be an issue but I try to buy half new (to support the industry, and for the yummy smell!) and half from charity shops, so it’s not too bad in that regard.

    • @Lucy, if you buy from Smashwords, you can see the word count right in the book listing. Here’s the listing for one of mine from Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/39674

      What I love is how it says “approximately” and then gives a pretty specific number… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I agree with you, though, about the length issue. That’s a tricky thing, because indie authors can price their own work. I try really hard to consider length when pricing. My novella, “Silver Thaw,” is less than 30,000 words, so I priced it at $1.99. I’ll be publishing another novella soon, but it’s only about 20,000 words, so I think it will be my 99-cent lure to get people to look at me and take a chance on the novel… We’ll see if my strategy works… ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hope that helps!

  6. […] of my novel by a book blogger who had only reviewed traditionally published books previously. A nice compliment from the founder of a small press in my area. 130 sales in two months that I would not have made if I were still looking for […]

  7. I still read and buy dead tree books, but now I have a kindle reader on my iPhone I am definitely more sold. I used eReader before, on the pc and on my older phones, but hated it. The kindle app is definitely something I love, and I am going to buy a kindle soon.

    HAving said that, even though I do buy kindle books, I came home with a couple of books the other day. That is because I love bookstores. I love to browse through books and to see what new stuff is on the shelves.

    Kindle has that with the first free look at a book, but it doesn’t come with the new book smell, alas ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Susan Landis-Steward said:

      I, too, love the smell and feel of a book. A rainy day (and Portland has hundreds of me) urges me to go spend a few hours at Powell’s. Unfortunately, my age has caught up with me. No matter how we tweak my prescription, it just becomes increasingly difficult for me to read a book. Between nearsightedness and astigmatism, the letters just bounce around. But, my e-reader has given me back the joy of reading. I just jack the font up, choose a dark background with light letter, and the words behave themselves, staying right there on the page. I envy those of you who can still read books. I’m just glad there’s a solution for folks like me. (And I still buy paper books….then I glare at them as if they have failed me. It’s so sad. I’m so pathetic.)

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