Friday, March 18, 2011
Print vs. epubbing, what's an author to do?
Oh ‘tis a tough time to be in the book business, no? I passed by our poor sad Border’s store the other day. The shelves are nearly bare and now they’re even selling the fixtures. How sad to see bookcases and overhead lighting being carted off. I am conflicted about this since just this month I published my first e-book (a personal effort, not through a publisher.) Was I disloyal to the print market? Have I contributed to the fall of the written word? I do not own an ebook reader but I have felt the shift more and more from readers who tell me they’ve downloaded the Kindle version of my suspense books. I’ve also encountered more and more articles about how publishers are easing away from print books due to the high cost of distributing and keeping them on store shelves.
Are print books vanishing? Personally, I don’t think so, but I do feel that ebooks are taking a more important place in the publishing world. Good or bad? I don’t know, but I do know that the ebook market gives me freedom as an author. The book I epubbed was an inspy romantic comedy, outside my “brand” as a suspense writer, but a book that I believe in and enjoyed writing tremendously. Epubbing put the power of the publisher in my hands and I could produce the book that I desired, without restrictions or comments like “the market for rom coms is very limited in CBA.” What is the down side? No one buys the book and I’m out the bit of money I spent to have it formatted. The upside? I became Dana Mentink, publisher, with total control over my book.
When I started in this business, experts told me epubbing was bad. If anyone can publish a book electronically, what are the quality controls? What’s to say the book isn’t poorly written? Unedited? A waste of money? There are no guarantees, but then again, it costs a fraction of the price of a hardcover so the risk is minimal. You don’t like the ebook, you don’t buy anything else (epubbed or print version) from that author. That being said, I enjoy nothing more than the feel of a print book in my hands. I’m torn between two worlds. How about you? What are your thoughts on epubbing vs. print books?