Why Kindle Books Aren't Evil (Part 2)

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about why Kindle books aren't evil from a reader's perspective. Today, I'm going to write about why they aren't (or shouldn't be) evil from a publisher's perspective.

Last year, an article in the New York Times caused ripples in the publishing world. The article was entitled, "The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead". For the full story, you can go read the article, but the gist of it was that, supposedly, data showed that print books are going steady, and ebooks are fast losing their popularity.

The truth is, though, that the data was skewed. The results didn't include self-published books, which constitute a sizeable chunk of ebook sales. While it may be true that print is far from dead, ebooks are still a force to be reckoned with.

The strange thing is, though, many traditional publishers (and even authors) seem to view ebooks as some sort of apocalypse, ready to eat into their profit margins and take their livelihood away. Some publishers even price their ebooks higher than the paperback versions, in order to sway customers towards buying the hard copy instead of the digital version. And even if the ebook versions are cheaper, they're still often priced at $10 or higher, which is ludicrous considering they're just a bunch of ones and zeroes.

Dear Big Pub:

WHY???

Surely ebooks are a valuable asset to any publishing company. They're relatively cheap and easy to produce, and you can duplicate them as many times as you want without having to spend any more money. It's a gift that keeps on giving; a book that keeps on printing itself. And because of this, you can charge less money and make more profit than on a print book. It's a win-win for everybody!

And even if big traditional publishers start treating ebooks like a legitimate product, it will not kill print books. Print books are better for different things than ebooks; you can draw in them, you can flip back and forth, it's easier to see how far you've read, etc etc (I wrote a post about the pros and cons of each format last year). People will still buy them. I will still buy them (and I'm all for ebooks).

As for indie authors, Kindle books are a gift from God. They're so easy to format and distribute, thanks to platforms like KDP and Smashwords. Also, these platforms give authors 70% of the list price (as opposed to 25-30% for traditional ebook sales). Even though print-on-demand has made print books a realistic option for self-publishers, ebooks still remain our primary source of income.

In short, EBOOKS ARE NOT EVIL. From anyone's perspective.


In fact, they're positively angelic

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