Tuesday, February 10, 2009

E-Books: What They Are and Why You Should Read Them

A moment of truth: before I tried to get published, I didn't know anything about e-books, e-publishing, e-this, e-that. As I explored the various publishing options for The Unearthed, i.e. received polite rejections, nasty rejections, or no responses whatsoever, I learned more about the digital print format and how it has changed and will continue to change what we know as publishing.

No, I'm not one of those people who's going to tell you that in three years there won't be any more print books available. The concept of "book" or "novel" is just too firmly rooted in our collective conscious as something that must be held, or at the least, as something more tangible than a PDF. However, e-books are changing the way novels are not only read, but also the way they are chosen for publication, written, and promoted.

Simply put, an e-book is an electronic file that can be read in a variety of ways:

-on a personal computer,
-on a laptop,
-sometimes on a cell phone,
-sometimes on an iPod, and
-always through an e-book device, such as the Kindle or the Sony Reader

It's no secret that e-books originally did not enjoy the best of reputations. However, e-publishing has grown in both popularity and critical regard over the last ten years. They're getting better, and more people are reading them, in other words. And because of the low production costs of e-books, e-publishing has some unique advantages over traditional publishing:

-more unknown authors get their big shot through e-publishers,
-niche markets get the fiction they're looking for, and
-e-books are cheaper to buy.

So just think, you could find a cheap book by an up-and-coming author before he or she makes it big.

My publisher, Lyrical Press, Inc., is releasing The Unearthed in e-format on March 2, 2009 for $5.50. A print-on-demand version will become available if, and only if, the digital sales warrant the investment in additional production costs.

Last pitch (of the post!): for only $5.50, you can read a fast-paced, intelligent story and help a new author build a readership.


Rita Vetere said...


I still don't have a Kindle or Sony e-reader but I read lots of ebooks on my laptop. Looking forward to adding The Unearthed to my e-collection--I've been waiting patiently for it. huuuurrry uuuuup March 2nd.

Brian O'Rourke said...


I'm proud to say Ancient Inheritance will be the first e-book I've ever read! And so far, it's been an awesome read! Can't wait to get through the rest of it.


adrian mckinty said...

I thought it was what a Yorkshireman said in a library:

eee books

(this probably makes no sense if you dont know Yorkshire or are a fanatical Monty Python fan)

Brian O'Rourke said...

Adrian -

LOL. Was that right before he said, "It's the Monster of EECCHHHHHH!"

Nathanael Green said...

It looks like HarperCollins is laying off a chunk of their workforce, too - article here.

I wonder if another big plus of ebooks is their much lower distribution and overhead costs?

Brian O'Rourke said...

Wow, scary article, Nate. Harper just joined the ranks of Random House, Simon & Schuster, and MacMillan in letting people go?

We're all so bombarded with "end of the world stories" that I tend to ignore them, but I wonder if there is some truth to them when it comes to publishing? God I hope not.

James Swezey said...

It is a pity about the larger publishing houses laying off all of those people. The state of the economy though could be what pushes electronic publishing to the forefront of the market. As a reader and author of ebooks, it is my fondest hope that this format of books grows and becomes popular. I think that when the dust settles from this economic storm, that those who have persevered with pushing electronic publishing & reading will come out on top.

Brian O'Rourke said...

James -

You could be right. Every time I talk to my Dad on the phone, he goes on and on about how bad this country is going to get economically-speaking, and how very quickly. Then again, he's a bit more conservative than I am :)

What have you written? Feel free to pimp your stuff here.