Thursday, May 17, 2012

EE-Book vs. Print Book by Cathy Coburn

When I was first offered a publishing contract it was to an exclusive e-book publisher, I promptly declined as I was not familiar with the e-book market. I have since done a lot of research on the subject, and found like everything that was introduced to the market as something new, computer, cell phone etc. I am one of the last to get on board. After all I bought a beta VCR, when its price dropped dramatically after the VHS came into focus. The Beta soon became a dinosaur and dropped off the market completely, leaving me with a useless Beta machine. Most of you reading this will ask "You bought a what?" Doesn’t matter live and learn. I find with books that though I have yet come on board with the e-book technology it is slowly but surely advancing with or without me.

Ease of transmission. Each printed book must be physically printed using a variety of materials, and this costs considerable money and takes considerable time even with modern technology. Save for bestsellers, books sell slowly and many writers never see royalties beyond their advance. These books are often out of sight, out of mind: without aggressive promotion, most bookstores will never carry your title and most readers will never be aware it exists. This puts a low ceiling on book sales and makes it likely your book will be forgotten over time.

However, the only materials an e-book takes up are hard drive space and bandwidth. If a person has a computer or an e-book reader, picking up your book is as simple as downloading it. And marketing is far easier on the internet, where parties interested in your writing or your subject matter can find you with as little as an internet search.

Over time, the lower overhead could mean lower prices, making it more attractive for consumers to buy your work, and a bigger percentage return for the writer for each sale. Any contract advance may be lower, but the likelihood that a writer makes royalties on such work could increase.

The great debate among published and non-published writers alike is whether or not E-books are going to push the printed word off the market. There are great arguments for both sides of the debate.

Analysts have faulted Borders for being late to understand bookselling was changing for good.

It was a latecomer to the e-book market, a rare source of growth in the publishing world. The company started its e-book store last July, eight months after Barnes & Noble and nearly three years after In what has turned out to be a catastrophic mistake.

Analysts say that Borders' struggles may only have a modest benefit for Barnes & Noble, which needs to focus on its efforts, through its Nook e-reader, to win more of the growing e-books market.

Many publishers who saw this coming and started to put their focus on e-books were frowned upon at first. They weren’t considered real publishers. Now they’re seen as the ones with a vision. Technology is changing, just as it did for the music industry. We die-hards simply have to keep up or get out of the way!

This was the end to my piece, but I have since had a change of heart. I received an iPad for a present. With my iPad came my change of heart. I love reading books via the e-book market now. I can sit and read without searching out a light source directly behind me. I saw a new James Patterson book advertised on TV (I’m a huge Patterson fan) within less then a minute I was reading it.  I love this new technology, okay maybe not new, but new to a die-hard like me.
Cathy Coburn  After the Mist: Now available 


  1. A very balanced overveiw, Cathy. I love the ease with which we can download ebooks (good for writers!) and have reading material constantly available. But I do still love to read a print book and keep lots on my shelves. We have the best of both worlds now.

  2. You can't beat the instant gratification!

  3. How fun to find my article here. Thank you Cyndy and William for that. And Thank you Rosemary and Julie for actually reading it.

  4. I'm with you, Cathy (though I didn't buy a beta, I still use my VHS) in that I still don't have an official e-reader but I'm hoping for a tablet or Kindle Fire for my birthday. I do have Kindle for PC and read as much as I can. But I do love paper books--so the stories that truly moved me will be treasured on paper.

    Well done!

  5. I always enjoy your comments. I too was slow in getting the new technology. After finding out about your new book, I decided to invest in an iPad. I am now hooked on reading. I love the ease of having so much variety at my fingertips. Thanks Cathy

  6. Thanks Jude and Sheryl you both rock!