Ebooks vs regular

Published 16/02/2012 by Lily Crussell

I have been asked several times which I prefer as a reader and as a writer and have given it some serious thought (which took all of five minutes) I don’t have a kindle/nook/kobo etc etc ad infinitum basically because I don’t understand the appeal. (I also can’t afford one)

I love books. I love bookshops. I love how they feel in your hands, the weight, the physical presence of them. An e-book just seems like a cold, technological thing that has by passed all aspects of a book. Obviously it’s still the written word, but you have to use power to use it. You have to use up a power source to read. Explain that one to me. If I want to read a book, I pick it up and read it. If I wanted to read an e-book, it would be on the assumption that I charged it and downloaded the book etc.

As for being  a writer of an e-book…I hate them. I honest to god hate them. I reformatted my book no less that 5 times and it still has formatting errors when transferred to the e-book reader doohicky. I don’t find any part of the process easy, I just find it stressful. Admittedly my book wouldn ‘t exist if it weren’t in e-book form, but I just find it really sad that something I worked on for four or so years is selling at 99P. I have had over 800 downloads. About 750 of those were when it was for free. I have made less than £20 off four years work. Add into that the price of copy editing, critiquing etc (I’m not including envelopes, physical wages that I would have to pay someone to work the number of hours it took me to write the book, stamps, stationary etc when I sent it out to agents.) but I am already at  loss of about £600+. Add the promo items I’ve bought and made. You’re looking at another £100 or so plus the hours to make and organise everything. £20 is a bit of a slap in the face for all that work.

I’m not naive. I knew I’d never get rich, but I did want to make enough money so that I could do this as a job, because I love it. I love it. I do. But it is something that is costing me a small fortune due to the bleeping e-book industry. Have you ever seen an author giving out free copies of their physical book? Didn’t think so. I know the hateful things are here to stay, but I can’t help loathing them with a deep seated passion. I just wanted to see my work as a physical book, and I know that isn’t going to happen now. I just think that if e-books didn’t exist, people would be paying more for books, and agents would be more likely to take a chance on an unknown author because they would be making more money.

Rant over…for now…


2 comments on “Ebooks vs regular

  • Ah lily…. – as a book lover i know just how you feel and yet… the other half bought me a kindle last april for my birthday ( i think the groaning shelves and towering piles of dustly books were getting to him – i buy/bought alot of secondhand books) i really didn’t think i’d like it for all the reasons you say – the feel and smell of a book etc BUT I love it. i can alter text size – no more peering at tiny print, i’ve always several books to hand – no more scanning the shelves for the next one to read, the space saving is a plus for Him Indoors of course – i take it everywhere with me and doc, hosp apps are no longer a boring waste of time but an opportunity for reading. I’ve downloaded loads fo free books and discovered authors i’d not have bought from as they’re unknown and untried and money is always tight here. Having read and enjoyed a free one though then i’ve gone on to purchase subsequent ones so it will pay off hopefully. As an artist i have a similar problem – i sell via the web, galleries only want established artists and take 50-60% of sales price to cover their costs and profits so selling via web means i can keep my work affordable. Of course i’ve painted hundreds of works but sold only a fraction of those and yet like your ebook format the cost of materails and time taken to paint all those that havent sold means i run at a loss but i paint becuause i simply have to – not to make a profit although that would be fantastic. So look upon free books as a stepping stone to getting your name out there and talked about, with the profitable ones coming later. and always remeber how many times harry potter was rejected – if ebooks had been out then JKR would have been a sucess so much sooner.

    The only physical books i now buy are those from authors i’ve read – usually books in a series – that aren’t out on kindle – i always click the kindle request though in hope. I’m a true kindle convert !!

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