Sentimental Connections to “Real Books” and Our eBook World

About a year ago I was beginning to think seriously about ePublishing my book and was discussing the possibility with my friends. They were excited by the idea that my work would be available, but almost all had the same reservation:

“I just love books,” Rose said, “The smell of the paper, the feel of its weight in my hand…”

“Yeah!” Karin agreed enthusiastically, “It’s a much more personal experience.”

The sky was blue that day, the sun bright, the air cool, and the curry was warm and tangy. We were eating a late lunch at one of my favorite places in the world (the House of Curries on Solano st.) and we – Rose, Karin, Hana, and I – were discussing our lives, hopes, dreams, and people we dislike. We almost always agreed about things so the 2.5 hour lunch was basically a festival of feeling sharing, laughter, and positive affirmation.

Disharmony

It was strange, therefore, that my feelings did not perfectly align with theirs – an experience made all the more unusual by the fact that in the not too distant past I would have whole heartedly agreed with them. In their glowing discussion of the wonders of physical pages and the chill of the eScreen I could hear my own previous feelings being echoed back to me.

The problem was: my feelings had changed. EPublishing had begun to symbolize creative freedom, release from the endless waiting game described in “Is ePublishing a Cop-Out“. As the title of that article indicates, my feelings were still complicated, but I was much more positive about ePublishing in general.

The fact that I have since dedicated my life (or the next 2-5 years of my life at the very least) to trying to make it as a self-publishing eBook author shows that my connection to eBooks has only grown stronger since then. The echo of their opinion, however, hasn’t left me. I still smile in a slightly self mocking way whenever I read the title of my blog, knowing full well that – professionally at least – I won’t be slinging any literal ink.

I have more or less accepted my commitment to eBooks – an acceptance helped along by:

The All the Above Strategy

It’s far easier for me to accept that my books will mostly be seen as eBooks if I know that they will also be available in print for people who want them. Normally, this would mean buying a few thousand copies myself and then selling them to the die hard book crowd.

Fortunately, with CreateSpace, self-publishing “actual” books is fairly easy. It’s a print on demand service, so basically: you order a book, they print the book, I get paid for the book. Simple. Of course, it will be more expensive than the eBook, but it still allows me to give my readers (and family and friends) the more personal experience of a physical book.

I am also hoping to eventually release audio books, but that will be some time in the future 😉

What’s your opinion of eBooks, physical books, or audio book? Which is the most “real”? and is that even a useful question?

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Comments

  1. I think e reding is great, I would probably set up a bookstyle printing option so there’s two pages per side of paper, if folks wanna print a book out. Also, audiobooks is the movies of books if that makes any sense, itshyperbolic. Read your books to your computer, and add that to yur distribution. Maybe?

    • The Ink Slinger says:

      Hey Chris, thanks for reading! Yes, audio books are the movies of reading, and yes, at some point I will try to break into that – though I don’t know if I’m the one to do the reading…we’ll see.

      The only problem with having more content available for print versions (a model that does make sense, especially because the print versions are more expensive) is that I would have to do a lot of editing so that the eReader version still makes sense. Also, since people are still paying for the eReader version, I think they deserve all the content I have, they just don’t get the book smell 😉

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