E-books: And or Only?

Sunday, January 19, 2014
So today I have good news and bad news (I think). A publisher wants to look at my novel! I was over the moon until I realized this publishing house only publishes e-books. That’s it. No print. No paper. Just e-books.

I didn’t even know publishing houses like this existed. I’ve always thought of e-books as an “and” not an
“only”. You published a print book AND and e-book. Not only an e-book. Sure, I know lots of people read e-books. I read e-books. But lots of people don’t. Like my mom (who is a total Luddite).

So I did some searching to find out what the story is on e-books. And here’s what I found:
  • 28% of Americans read at least one e-book in 2013
  • 5% of Americans read only e-books in 2013
That all sounds good to me. But how will people find my book when I don’t have any other fiction books to my name? I can understand making your name as a writer and then writing a few books that come out only as e-books. But someone perusing their local bookstore won’t see my e-book stacked up on a table by the door. How likely is it that people will find my e-book while they’re perusing an online bookstore? Not likely. So I’ll have to rely on other ways to get the word out about my book. But there can’t be any book signings, can there? Of course I often hear that most readers are finding their new reads through online sources: blogs, e-mags, tweets, etc. Will readers want to enter a giveaway if it’s just an e-book?

Does publishing as an e-book only leave too many people out? Readers who only read print books. Readers who read some e-books but prefer print books. Readers who want to give a book as a gift. Readers who buy books spontaneously when they see them in a store.

So many questions. Very few concrete answers.

Just one more question: do you think an only e-book is a good option for a debut novelist?


Sioux Roslawski said...

Jodi--I imagine an e-book would be a way to get your foot in the publishing door, right?

I understand your dilemma. I hope you come to a decision that makes you happy.

And congratulations. There is a publisher that loves your work. That is something to be proud of--an accomplishment many of us have not reached yet, as far as a whole book...

Unknown said...

I don't think e-book only is a detriment at all. True, there is some awkwardness you don't get with print books - no copies for signings, and no in-store buyers. But nowadays so many people buy their books by "browsing" online rather than in bookstores that I don't know that your sales will suffer much thereby. Because it's instant, e-publishing also enables the impulse buy, and, because e-books are generally priced much lower than print books, you may very well sell more copies - which, as a first-time writer, may help you to build a bigger fan base. Also, since you generally get considerably higher royalties on e-books, you can earn just as much revenue as on a print book.

No, it's not as good as getting a print plus digital deal. But with e-book contracts, you're generally only selling your digital rights, which means you still own the print rights. If the e-book sells well, you will be in a much better position to acquire a print publisher. So if you do get an offer, don't be disappointed if it's e-book only. It will likely do just as much for your career as a traditional publishing contract, and possibly even more.

Marcia Peterson said...

That;'s great that you received interest about your book, Jodi! I can understand your confusion about what to do. Ultimately, you'll have to go with what feels right to you.

Since I got my kindle paperwhite a few months ago, I find myslef reading more ebooks. I'm even buying things I might not normally buy because of the low prices. So maybe authors can can sell more (higher volume) with an ebook. I'm sure you can find good info on special marketing techniques.

Courage Times Three.A Novel said...

Congrats on your book Jodi. A great accomplishment as I have just learned within the past six months also. I released my debut novel (paperback and Kindle/Nook) in Aug/sept of 2013. I went through createspace via amazon and was able to get the print on demand through createspace costing me only $3.65 per book to print. I have placed books all over at smaller bookstores throughout Minnesota where I live and my story takes place much of the time in Minnesota as well. I suggest you go with createspace. Easy to get through and no up front costs. Again, congrats! What is your book about? You will want to get some good reviews from others who read it. Amazon and Goodreads are popular.

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