A Bibliophile’s Love of eBooks

eBookI still write letters instead of emails, buy my albums on vinyl and shoot photos with film. I don’t own an mp3 player and my cell phone is so old I often joke about needing MS-DOS codes to check my voicemail.

Yet, I am a firm believer in the power of the eBook and digital content. After all, I work at Lulu where gadget specs get thrown around the break room like sports stats.

There is a constant debate among writers and bibliophiles who abhor the thought of giving up paging through a smelly old book. Books have a culture with which they are associated and eBooks allegedly threaten that culture; but print books and eBooks do not have to be at war with one another. Instead, eBooks are able to act as the perfect supplement to a print book. In fact, authors who offer both sell 30% more print books.

I grew up in a home with a room full of floor to ceiling, wall to wall books, fondly referred to as “The Library.” I majored in reading books (they called it an English degree), and I get to work here, where each and every day I get to see just how exciting it is to hold your literary hard work in hand.

There are few things I love more than my collection of beat-up, coffee-stained, doodled-in books. I can never see curling up in my favorite leather chair by the fireplace with an eBook reader, reading an eBook to children or taking an eBook reader to a book signing. I think print books will be around for a long while, but the digital world also is a fascinatingly beautiful thing.

Imagine the world’s biggest library, where your book sits next to the complete works of Shakespeare, where Oscar Wilde and some guy you went to college with are hanging out. Amazing, right? This is the Internet, and these are eBooks. Even the most ardent of eBook doubters have to recognize there’s something pretty neat happening.

There are so many talented writers in the world who never get the chance to be heard. So often, writers are like street musicians who deserve recognition but can’t catch a break. All it takes is for the right person at the right time to hear that street corner guitar player or be handed your work. eBooks offer the easiest way to get your book into the hands of someone who really loves it. They give you, as an author, a voice.

With the exception of shameless self-promotion, eBooks are easily the best marketing tool you’ve got. If a friend tells me about a band I might like, I’ll go online and check them out, particularly if they offer one or two free songs for download. If I like them, I will likely buy their album (probably on vinyl). I was able to experience something new, quickly and without financial commitment, and it ultimately resulted in a sale. If I’m really impressed, I will now go tell another friend about the band. Why not do the same with your book? Try offering parts of your book for free as a digital download, or the entire eBook for  sale on Lulu.

It’s a fact that breaks my heart, but some people will never set foot in a bookstore or library. They will, however, check their portable digital devices for updates. By offering an eBook edition of your book, you have the power to reach a whole new demographic of consumers.

I will probably buy an e-book reader the same day I decide to buy a car that’s less than 30 years old. In the mean time, I will continue to be a champion of any idea that empowers Lulu creators to be successful.

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8 Comments

  1. Ah my dear, i am the one you spoke of, the bibliophile, the librarian, the booklover. Yes though i am afraid that we are endangered and hunted; both in public and in private; mainly by people wearing eyeglasses or other types of optical device, yet still we do exist.
    We hide in crevasses, neitches and parallel universes, sup from the font of wisdom or excess or even occasionaly from that dread elixer; poetry. We scurry here and there both digitaly or hormonicaly and emit strange noises. Elgar and pink floyd combined into a rauchous cacophony of……. well sense. Hmmm.
    Yes e-books good. Well if you wish to sell any… real books… wonder and epiphany.

  2. Perhaps we should rename thios article a bibliophiles love of keeping her job.
    Ah no only kidding. I do not consider e-books a bad thing. In fact i am seriously considering buying a kindle, ah but i think it a shame none the less. Imagine had the dead sea scrolls been on kindle? Ah well tis’ the future and i welcome it…. cautiously

  3. You mentioned e-readers. As a Lulu author, I thought I should try them, so I bought one: a Sony PRS-300. I downloaded Stephen King’s newest (for more than the price of a paperback) and used it. Then, since I normally read only non-fiction, I went to Google books and downloaded a bunch of interesting-looking stuff. My conclusion: the eReader is fine for fiction, but almost worthless for non-fiction. It assumes that I’m going to start the book at the beginning and read through it page by page to the end, which works for fiction, but not for non. It has no ability to search for a word or phrase, it can’t jump to a specified page, and it’s miserable at handling illustrations. Future versions of the reader may be better, but I’ll be buying paper books for a long time to come.

  4. CarrieC

    I think it a blend for the future. Some people will use an e-reader and others will remain friends with the paper.

  5. I am looking forward to that. Kindle Ebooks
    is a lot cheaper than other ebooks.

  6. A good article. Both formats certainly have their pros and cons, although I am definitely a printed book man. I don’t just love reading, I love books. I want to be able to hold them in my hand and display them on my shelf, you know…
    Ebooks I think are actually better for information books where your main goal is to spread knowledge quickly.

  7. very nice

  8. George whitney

    I have a book ready to go to print with help of Howard Press inc of Brattleboro. VT. I named it “Come Jog with Me.” It fills the need of a book for older non-running humans. It tells how they can do it and why they should do it. With running growing every year and older runners out gaining the young I think this book will catch on and be of value for all rest homes and doctors who treat geriatric patients. Tell me, What is the best way to get exposure and sales? Profit is not the object. Thank you. George Whitney

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  1. By My Life With Books | Garys Marketing Blog on March 9, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    [...] A Bibliophile’s Love of eBooks | Lulu Blog [...]

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