This is a cross-posting of a review which originally appeared on The Creative Penn website.
50 Benefits of Ebooks: A thinking person’s introduction to the digital reading revolution where ebooks are low-cost or free. This is definitely a must read for anyone who is remotely interested in where the publishing industry is heading.
It is also great to read if you are a fan of ebooks, because you will learn more about them, where to find them and where the industry is heading. Equally, if you are not a fan of ebooks, you need to read it for your education! It is not a technical book – it is packed with literary references and is hugely readable.
Why is it so great?
Firstly, it is only $1 so immediately demonstrates its core argument – you can get the book in PDF or ePub format here. It is a fast, fun read for what some might consider a dry subject. I laughed out loud at points (whilst reading it on my iPhone on the train!)
It does indeed include 50 benefits of ebooks, each one well thought out with literary quotes peppering the text and examples. Did you know that Paulo Coelho published a hardback book in Russia which no one was buying? He “leaked” the ebook as a free download and suddenly the print book started selling. Cory Doctorow also does this, providing ebooks for free to boost print sales.
Some other examples:
· Ebooks keep literature alive – they cannot be burnt or destroyed.
· Ebooks are good for the environment. No dead trees, no pulping of leftover copies, no warehousing or distribution, no landfills full of old books.
· Ebooks defy time – they can be delivered instantly and you can read right now. This allows for faster, news related books to be published and available. No need to wait!
· Ebooks will revive reading and literature. It will no longer just be for the people who can afford a print book. Did you know that in Australia a trade paperback can cost $30 or more? That is hugely expensive for even someone on a good salary. Free or cheap ebooks mean people can read and devour the books they want without worrying about the money.
(I could go on, but you can get the whole book for $1!)
There are also sections on:
· How to read ebooks and where to find free ones
· What the various formats are (very useful!)
· DRM – what it means and why we don’t want it
· Publishing ebooks: 10 tremendous trends in 2009 “Print publishing has one foot in the grave and the other foot on a banana peel”
· Ten Trends To Nourish a Revolution in Reading and Publishing
· Reflections on the importance of reading
Michael Pastore is extremely well read as demonstrated by the breadth of the quotes he includes. He is obviously a great reader, and he makes convincing arguments throughout. The book is also packed with resources and there is also a companion website here.
From my perspective, ebooks liberate the author and the artist and allow far greater freedom of expression than traditional publishing. They also allow for “the long tail” of niche market books that large publishers would never touch. It levels the playing field and allows the individual author or indie publisher the ability to promote their book alongside the big names.
I do not need convincing of ebooks. I currently read them on my iPhone on Stanza and as PDFs on the phone and the laptop. I would buy a Kindle if they were available in Australia! I publish my own books as ebooks on Smashwords, Lulu and the Kindle. However, I also love print books and I still buy them too. I love to browse a bookshop in real life and on Amazon. I shipped over 1000 books from England to New Zealand and then on to Australia (I must love them!)
This book helped me feel that my experience is actually typical. Most people who read ebooks also read print books. We would like to consume them both ways. There are some books I even have in 3 formats – print, ebook and audio because I believe in the power of the message. However, some books I only want to read in ebook format now. I will not pay $30 for a fiction novel that I will read over a few hours in the hammock, but I will pay $1, or perhaps even $4.99. This book has also convinced me to change my pricing for my ebooks – post on that to come!
These are exciting times for authors and readers. This book just makes me grin and jump up and down with glee!
(so go buy it now and join me in gleefulness!)
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Joanna Penn is an author, speaker and business consultant based in Australia.