Articles tagged "ebooks"

Music & Writing: A Writer’s Playlist

Maybe it’s because I live in a city filled with distracting noises — car horns, drilling, and shouting — but whenever I sit down to write, I immediately put on my headphones. Suddenly, the world evaporates, and all that is left is the screen, with my words slowly trekking across it, and whatever music I’ve chosen as the tempo. Mostly it’s something ethereal and ambient, Brian Eno or Steve Reich, but other times, when I’m trying to work through a really difficult section, or simply wanting to motivate myself, I put on something faster and more defined, like Outkast or LCD Soundsystem.

Obviously, each person’s musical preference is specific to his or her own taste, and what you want to listen to while you write might be entirely different than what you’d dance to. But how does music affect your writing in general? Do you find yourself more productive when listening to music, or more easily distracted and prone to losing yourself in someone else’s art and not your own?

A 2011 study found that listening to music dramatically increases brain function. A researcher on the study said, “Our results show for the first time how different musical features activate emotional, motor and creative areas of the brain.” However, others disagree. Geekpreneur notes: “The bottom line is that music always replaces thoughts. When you’re doing mechanical tasks — even if those tasks involve implementing creative ideas you’ve already thought of — music can be pleasant and helpful. When you need to think, though, the only sounds you should be able to hear are those of your own inner voice.”

Perhaps as more and more novels find a home on eBook, and writers begin to incorporate more media into what they write, eBooks will come with playlists that inform the story, or even let the reader in on what writers were listening to as they wrote. In that case, let’s get it started!

Post your favorite writing playlist in the comments section, and let the world in on what gets you in the creative mindset.

Do enhanced eBooks promote children’s literacy?

Mixing a children’s book with something like a videogame seems like a no-brainer for promoting reading skills, right? Apparently not.

A new study finds that enhanced eBooks for children don’t raise literacy levels. The study, which followed 32 pairs of parents working with young children, found that the young readers were distracted by the many different interactive parts of the enhanced story, and quickly forgot certain key parts of the narrative. The young readers were given an eBook, a physical copy, and an enhanced eBook version of the same story. After reading them all, the comprehension just didn’t add up.

The authors of the study commented, “The enhanced eBook was less effective than the print and basic ebook in supporting the benefits of co-reading because it prompted more non-content related interactions. When adults prompt children with questions pertaining to the text, label objects, and encourage them to discuss the book’s content in terms of their own experiences and curiosities, this elicits increased verbalization by the child and can lead to improved vocabulary and overall language development.”

How to Market Romance Novels

Rice, fish, squid and lamb by Miriiam Isa. “The book chronicles the first love encountered by the main character, Liz. It follows her observations from a tender age of 5 to present day, 2009.”

Romantic reads are hot. Literally. The genre had an estimated $1.368 billion in sales in 2011, and accounted for 13.4% of the consumer book market. Additionally in 2008, the last year for which this data is available, 74.8 million people claimed to have read a romance novel. Given the popularity of eBooks (29% of 2011 readers preferred digital), these stats are likely to go up in the coming years.

So where are these voracious readers, and how do you find them? Here are a few tips:

Join the Romance Writers of America Association: If you want in on this community, this is where it’s at. (Remember, writers of a genre are often heavy readers, too.) Formed in 1980 to help romance writers achieve success, there are now more than 9,000 members and numerous regional chapters. By becoming active within the organization you’ll not only meet others, either locally or at the annual conference who love and write within the genre, but you’ll also have an outlet for feedback and potential contacts in the blogging world.

Consider an eBook price cut: As mentioned earlier, there’s an eager market for romance eBooks so entice readers with a deal. At Amazon and other online retailers prices for an eBook can be as low as 99 cents. At Lulu, you even have the option to offer your eBook completely free to build your following. If you’re not comfortable at that price point, think about offering your novel for $2.99 or $3.99 for a day or a week. Under $5 is enough of an impulse buy that a customer will feel comfortable taking the plunge without any guilt. More purchases mean more discussion, which is ultimately what you want. Friends and family are the number one way readers discover new titles. Additionally, once your book starts selling, it will be paired with other similar titles at top retailers, which will give it more exposure.

Seek out book clubs: A Google search for “romance book club” brings up pages of results for clubs that solely read print or eBook romance novels. Reach out to the owners of these sites and ask to do free giveaways or call-in for a book club chat. Alternatively, team up with other romance novelists you know and pitch a gift basket giveaway and big video event.

The Upward eBook Trend

According to a recent MediaBistro article, “net sales revenue from eBooks have surpassed hardcover books in the first quarter of 2012.” The data comes from the March Association of American Publishers (AAP) net sales revenue report. I think that this was always expected, but it’s still indicative of a paradigm shift in book sales: It is now more popular to download a book than to pick up a hardcover copy at your local bookstore or order one shipped to your door.

While trade paperbacks still lead the industry in sales, it does seem inevitable that at some point, eBooks will make up the vast majority of book sales while physical books will fill a niche role. One of the main drivers of this surge in eBooks is the fact that people with e-readers just read more books. A Pew study, released in April of this year, found that “the average reader of eBooks says she has read 24 books (the mean number) in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-eBook consumer.”

Textbook to eBook: Is the trend taking off?

As graduating students commence, we’re reminded of the educational cycle, and how different each experience of college is for every generation of students. New technology has altered the college experience significantly.

One major change is how digital learning tools have been incorporated into the curriculum. For years, many have thought eBooks would change the educational game by allowing students to purchase cheap textbooks and use links in them to enhance their learning. But, to the shock of many, students, to this point, have seemed to prefer more expensive, print versions of their textbooks.

In Forbes, Tom Malek, who works for McGraw-Hill Higher Education, wrote about this trend, “A funny thing happened on the way to the e-book revolution: students decided to stay with print. E-book adoption among college students has remained consistently, almost puzzlingly low. Studies currently show that about 3 percent of college students are purchasing e-books. If today’s students are truly digital natives, and if e-books offer so much value to students, why haven’t we seen more uptake?” He offers that college students seem to still hold onto print books because they’re used to studying out of them. Very few high schools offer eBooks as part of the curriculum (a number that’s sure to rise).

Infographic: 10 Remarkable Years

Thank you to our authors and readers for making this 10 remarkable years in self-publishing. Check out this awesome info graph to see how we’ve grown.

In Memory of Maurice Sendak

This week, American literature mourns the loss of its hero Maurice Sendak. Sendak is best known for writing children’s books, yet his work resonated with readers of all ages.

A less-known fact about Sendak was his distaste for eBooks. If you’re trying to find “Where The Wild Things Are” on your NOOK, you would run into a problem: none of his work is available in electronic form. Sendak was pronouncedly opposed to eBooks — going as far to tell Stephen Colbert last year, “I hate those eBooks. They cannot be the future. They may well be. I will be dead.”

Even though he staunchly opposed the form, other authors working on children’s books have readily embraced it. Right now on Lulu, you can find great electronic children’s books like OwlCat: The Cat Hoo Thought He was an Owl, Gunna’s Adventures – Gunna Daydream, and Gino The Giant Slayer.

Children’s authors have used eBooks to not only spread their work farther than print, but to also enhance it. Many have chosen to create special features that help

How to Get Your Local Bookseller to Carry Your Book

Selling your self-published book through Lulu and other online outlets feels good. Your book is now available to anyone, anywhere in the world just by downloading or ordering it through the Internet. But there might be something missing. What about being able to eagerly browse the shelf at your local independent bookstore and coming across your book there?

Independent bookstores have considerable trouble stocking self-published titles. First, they’re not often able to sell the book back to the self-publisher if the product doesn’t sell. As such, bookstores need to be pretty sure the book is going to be purchased before they buy it.

Innovative Ways to Leverage eBook Technology

Only “print” your book with Lulu? You could be missing out. According to Reuters, one-fifth of American adults read an eBook last year, with the number surely to keep rising over the next few years.

As readers move away from print, the electronic realm can become a lucrative option for self-published authors. The rise in eBooks provides some amazing opportunities, like:

  • Updated editions of non-fiction books
  • Extra chapters
  • The ability to try out releasing a book electronically before committing to print

Lulu.com is #1 in eBooks, but what about our old, beloved friend, print? Well, he’s getting a boost as well. With more readers come more recommendations, and even though e-readers are sweeping the nation, it still doesn’t make up the majority of the market. So more often than not, people who are being recommended books can’t buy the eBook, instead they buy it on good ol’ fashion print.

So where does this leave you, the writer? We live in exciting, changing times for authors. Perhaps you would like to test some new material that your readers aren’t quite familiar with? Then perhaps an eBook is the way to go. Once that takes off, you can print your book so the people who its being recommended to (who don’t have e-readers) can order your print version.

Some might lament — this is surely the death of print, right? Well, not necessarily.

As eBooks continue to gain popularity, writers will find new, creative way to utilize print — trying out new design schemes, or offering some print-only content. The future of publishing is going to be dictated by the self-publishers. A new profit-model will be determined by the adventurous writers who try out new ways to promote and distribute their work. Be it print, digital, or something we haven’t even thought of yet, self-publishers will be the engine of innovation for the industry.

Lulu eBooks Just Got Even Better

Tables and columns have been around for so long that we don’t give them much thought – even though our daily lives often rely on them.  One supports our dinner plates, silverware, fruit bowls, lamps, and books while the other literally supports the roof over our heads.  In recognition of all that tables and columns have contributed to civilization, we are returning the favor by supporting their use in document-to-EPUB conversions.

What are the benefits? 

For authors, uploaded Word documents that include tables and columns will now pass conversion.  This is especially good news for educators publishing text books, developers publishing tech manuals, or businesses publishing data-heavy intellectual property – all of which make excellent design use of tables and columns.

For consumers, simply clicking on the table image in an eBook will provide access to the original, raw table data.  This allows readers to interact with the data in various ways such as accessing embedded links or copy and pasting information directly from the table.

The really big news is that Lulu is currently the only platform providing this type of document support – all absolutely free.  Compare this with other services that can cost upwards of $400 per conversion.

What’s Next? 

We’re always looking for ways to make our great self-publishing tools even better and more accessible to everyone.  We love hearing your feedback, and work continues to provide support for all the items that matter to our authors and our readers.  Check back for more Lulu news in the coming weeks.