By Rohi Shetty
A few years ago, I wanted to read Illusions by Richard Bach. Much to my disappointment, the book was not available in any of the local bookstores. It took me hours to visit every bookstore in town and then browse the entire store in a vain attempt to find the book. Finally, I borrowed it from my friend who had bought a used copy from a pavement seller.
Today if I want to read Illusions, all I have to do is to go online, search for the Kindle book in Amazon and buy it with just a few clicks. I can download it and start reading the book within a few minutes.
So, though I still enjoy reading print books, I prefer to read e-books. E-books have many advantages over print books, both as a reader and as a digital publisher.
A. Here are some ways e-books score over printed books for readers:
- Low cost: The price of e-books is significantly less than any hard copy. This is one of the main reasons to opt for printed book. You can use the money saved to buy more books.
- Convenience: If you want a specific book, you don’t have to hunt for it in a bookstore; you can simply buy it online without leaving your home. And you can preorder a book even before it’s published.
- Speed of access: You can buy an e-book and download it immediately instead of waiting for a printed book to be delivered or go to a bookstore to buy it.
- Updated information: When you order an e-book, it usually contains the most up to date information. Traditionally printed books are less likely to have the latest information.
- Additional bonuses: Many e-books have extra bonuses and related information, which is usually free or costs just a little bit extra.
- Less storage space: You can have thousands of e-books on your computer and have access to infinite numbers of e-books online, which are free or paid. The whole of the internet is your library. Compare this to your bookshelves overflowing with books and the bother of transferring them whenever you change your residence.
- Easy to share: E-books can be shared with family and friends with a few clicks.
- Ecologically friendly: E-books help to save trees and reduce pollution linked to the production and distribution of printed books. “Save paper, save trees; save the world from disease.”
- More portable: E-books are much easier to carry than traditional books. Also, you are forced to limit the number of printed books you can carry in your luggage, especially if you’re traveling by air.
- Access to references: While reading, you can click on hyperlinks for easy and instant access to online references. Many e-readers also provide access to meanings, synonyms, and translations using the inbuilt dictionary, thesaurus and references.
- Custom branding: You can brand other people’s content with your name with the help of PLR or co-branding rights.
- Easily searchable: You can find specific information and keywords within e-books using the search tool easily and fast.
- Improved technology: Rapid advances in quality of e-readers, monitors, and smartphone screens and increased access to internet via wireless networks will make e-books even more convenient and widespread.
- Improved readability: Often the font in print books may be too small or difficult to read. If you don’t want to strain your eyes, opt for e-books because you can alter them to suit your requirements– you can choose different fonts and change the font size, font color, line spacing, paragraph spacing, etc.
- Longevity: Unlike print books, e-books don’t get torn, disfigured, misplaced or stolen.
- Note-taking: You can mark e-books in many ways – highlight using different colors, underline, bold, and so on. You can copy and paste your notes in a separate file and use it as a book-summary.
B. Here are some ways e-books score over print books for writers and digital publishers:
In addition to the benefits for readers listed above, publication of e-books provides the following fantastic benefits to writers and creative entrepreneurs:
- Low production costs: Compared to print books, costs of publication of e-books are miniscule. The almost negligible cost of publication and distribution is a huge advantage. There is no additional production cost, even if you sell a millions of copies. Arising from this, no risk of your e-book going out of print.
- Low distribution costs: Many websites such as Amazon, Apple, and Smashwords sell and market e-books for free and charge a commission from the actual sale, which can range from 30 to 70 percent. Some other websites like Clickbank and e-junkie charge a fixed monthly fee.
- Bonuses: You can provide free bonuses such as cheat sheets, checklists, worksheets, and companion courses bundled with your e-books at no extra cost to you.
- Images: Print books need high-quality high-resolution images, which can be a major constraint. For e-books, you may actually prefer low-resolution images to reduce the size of the digital file so that it can be downloaded and shared easily.
- Additional reference material: You can easily add links to related images, infographics, articles, audios, videos and references in your e-books. Your readers can access all these valuable resources with a few clicks, which enhance the value of your e-books.
- Easy updating: You can update your e-books whenever necessary and make the updated versions available to your readers for free.
- Available 24 x 7: Once published, your e-books are available for download or sale all the time. Your online store is never closed.
- Free worldwide distribution: Anyone can access and download your book from anywhere in the world. There are no shipping and handling costs for digital books.
- E-books bundle: One of the most popular online marketing strategies is for a group of authors to come together and sell their e-books as a bundle on a similar topic such as self development or Paleo diet. Usually the “bundle” is offered at a fraction of the total cost of all the e-books in the bundle.
The debate of print books versus digital books is likely to continue for a long time. Personally speaking, the only reason why I would prefer to read a print book is if the e-book version is not available! However, as far as publication is concerned, I plan to publish my books not only as e-books but also as print books and audiobooks.
Join the conversation:
How do you prefer to read books? And more importantly, do you plan to publish your books solely as e-books or as print books as well?
(15 February 2018)