This post, by Deborah Reed, originally appeared on the New Wave Authors blog.
Ebook or Paper? How much longer will we need to debate this question?
As a previously self-published author I have to say that the ebook is responsible for starting my career. Without it I’m not sure I’d be where I am today. In fact, Jeff Bezos just showed a taped interview with me at the Amazon press conference two weeks ago. Here is a link to an edited version of what was used. Keep in mind I’m Deborah Reed—Audrey Braun is the pen name I use for mystery/thriller writing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaXR6ew3vwg
For the reader, there is no denying the convenience of an ereader. Being able to carry thousands of books with you wherever you go, not to mention purchase a new book no matter where you find yourself, is a gift to readers everywhere. I don’t know about the other ereaders (though I suspect they are the same) but Kindle owners are reading 4.6x more now than before they owned a kindle. This is great news for writers, too.
There is also the price point to be considered. A significant gap in price exists between paper and electronic books. During difficult economic times the ebook is not only more convenient, it’s more affordable, even when you factor in the price of the ereader. From a writer’s perspective, a more affordable book is also great news. It is far easier and more profitable to sell 10,000 copies of a novel priced at $4.99 or less, than it is to sell 100 copies of a book priced between $9.99-$25.99. Lower price means the author has a better chance to build a larger readership and make a better income at the same time.
One very important point I want to make is the fact that print books eventually go out of print, and long before that they are removed from bookstores due to limited space, sent to a warehouse, and if they’re not purchased by a certain time they are literally destroyed. An ebook will never go out of print. Readers will always be able to find older, more obscure books with a simple search, and begin reading them immediately. For authors this is a huge factor in sustaining a career. A book that came out years ago can suddenly be made relevant again, by something as simple as being featured in a discounted deal of the day or week or month.