Sunday, February 01, 2009

Gayle Trent on E-books


Our guest blogger today is Gayle Trent, full-time freelance writer, editor, and author from Virginia, whose work is available both in traditional and electronic formats. Her mystery Murder Takes the Cake is published by Bell Bridge Press.  Gayle is also the founder of the Fatal Foodies blog, (address below) featuring authors, including yours truly, whose writing features food. Check out her website, as well.  I suffer from technology envy whenever I visit it. - Donis -


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The Impact of E-books on the Future of Publishing

 

We’ve all been hearing for years that e-books are growing in popularity. With the advent of Amazon’s Kindle, are e-books even more mainstream? Are we finally going to see an e-book Renaissance? Personally, I’m skeptical.

 

While I enjoy the convenience of having a book on my PDA to read while I’m on the go or an informative e-book on my computer with links to sites of interest, I still prefer the traditional hardcover or paperback book in most cases. I also enjoy adding autographed books to my collection, and that’s something I can’t do with an e-book. The e-books that I most often download to my computer or PDA are classics, fiction by a writer whose work I haven’t read before and the aforementioned informational e-books.

 

Please bear in mind these are my personal preferences, and I do believe there is a place for e-books in our literary world. E-books are excellent “salespeople.” If you want to introduce someone to your writing, there’s no better way than to give them a sample of your work. I am afraid the e-book audience is still limited, but I think its growing every day. I say the audience is limited because I gave out dozens of e-books to promote Murder Takes the Cake at the Oklahoma Sugar Art Show in September and was told repeatedly, “Thanks! I’ll listen to this on the drive home.”

 

I think the key to the best e-books is to make the reader feel she/he got something a little extra, especially if they’ve bought the e-book. That’s why self-help e-books sell so well. The author provides links to additional information, message boards, websites of interest and/or newsletters on the subject matter. Hope Clark’s market e-books for writers are great because the reader can click on a link and go directly to the market being discussed.

 

As for fiction, the e-book I’ve been happiest with (of the e-books I’ve authored) was Spontaneous Combustion, a romantic comedy I did for Fantasy Romances (http://www.fantasyromances.com). The e-book features instrumental music (which can be turned off) and graphics to accompany the text. Call me corny, but I thought it was cool.

 

These sentiments are somewhat echoed by Mike Shatzkin, founder and CEO of The Idea Logical Company, in his article Will You Recognize the Industry in 10 Years? for the February 2009 issue of BOOK BUSINESS. Says Shatzkin: “The robust e-book market—more than 50 percent of the sales of many titles (also a bit more than 10 years off)—will have been fueled by features built into e-books that can’t be replicated in print versions. For example, e-books will frequently use moving images as illustrations, rather than stills.”


 Gayle Trent

http://www.gayletrent.com
MURDER TAKES THE CAKE, Bell Bridge Books
http://www.bellbridgebooks.com
MTTC Book Trailer 

6 comments:

Dana Fredsti said...

I think the genre that does the best on e-books is erotica, romantic or otherwise.

No matter what, I do love the visceral feel of a book in my hands!

Thad McIlroy said...

I write on my website www.thefutureofpublishing.com in the section on "The Laws of the Future of Publishing" that "There is a limit to the number of separate digital devices people want to carry. That limit is one."

So I belief that ebooks will have to somehow be user-friendly on very small PDAs and cellphones, and at this point, it's a stretch to imagine.

I also point out to my clients that books are not a failed technology that requires an electronic substitute. For most people printed books are a pleasure; they work just fine.

Vicki Delany said...

Agreed, Thad. The difference, I think, between music or movies and books, is that you have to have a device to use the music or movie. It doesn't work on its own. A book needs no electronic assistance. Particularly in this climate, people aren't going to buy something they don't need.

James Swezey said...

I published my first novel via ebook because I felt strongly that the world was ready to begin a shift in that direction. There is a place for both formats, and there is a slight romantic feeling as one holds a book and reads it. However, ebooks are quite economic and rather eco-friendly for this day and age. There just hasn't been something to really ignite people's interest in it, yet.

Donna Carrick said...

I love the feel of a book in my hands. This is a personal pleasure, dating back to childhood days when my surest means of escape was into the pages of a novel. Having said that, although I haven't yet tried e-books, I know that there is a place for them in the very near future. Younger readers are faced with so many choices and distractions, if we can manage to capture a part of their attentions on-the-go, then that must be a good thing.

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