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A Former Skeptic’s Guide to E-Books

Up until a few months ago I would have argued to my last breath that an E-book could never compete with the joy of holding an actual book-book in your hands when you sit down for a cozy read but, now I humbly remove my foot from my mouth.

Although I sincerely hope the traditional page is never forced into extinction like the eight-track tape and VHS movies, the E-book alternatives that are now available for those of us who don’t have ready access to a big chain book outlet can provide welcome relief for an unrepentant bookaholic.

Now that most E-Reader devices have become affordable to even those with the tightest budget and companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble supply simple apps that work in the same capacity on our cell phones and tables, getting the hook-up for ready reading material is as simple as a few taps on a screen. Unfortunately with anything this revolutionary there will be a few pros and cons and I would like to share my own thoughts on what I have discovered thus far.

One of the greatest “pros”, of course, is availability. Unlike conventional books you will never come across the words “Out of Stock” when shopping for the latest releases on your want list. The major retailers also offer pre-orders, which means the second the book is available you should be able to find it ready to download in your app’s library. Easy-peasy.

The next great pro is the ability to carry your library around with you wherever you go. Sure a book will fit neatly in your purse, but what if you’re on a trip and finish that one while stuck on a layover at the airport or any other endless possibilities for unexpected down time that leave you twiddling your thumbs. Thanks to the instant download you can have a brand new adventure in the palm of your hands within minutes, then goodbye boredom.

Yet another pro is that many authors are now able to re-release older works that are now out of print and hard to find even in the most finely stocked used book store, for those of us who might have missed them the first time and would love the chance to read them now. Many of these re-releases are also listed at a lower purchase price than the newer releases which is a great boon to our credit card bill.

Lastly…For up and coming/fledgling writers looking to get their foot in the door of the publishing world, E-books also offer a means of getting their work out there through the numerous self publishers that have become available in recent years without waiting weeks or months for an approval or rejection letter from a traditional publishing house to arrive.

Which leads me to a very important “con,”  IMHO.

Because it is so easy to self publish, there are many of these authors, who though they may possess a natural talent for storytelling, have unfortunately forged ahead without the aid of a beta reader, editor or even a simple spell check before submitting their work for sell. Some of the “unknown” author’s E-Books that I have purchased lately because they were presented with a great synopsis, interesting cover art and honestly, because they sold from anywhere between .99 to around 2.99, turned out to be stinkers that could have been good if not for all the blatantly overlooked errors bogging them down.

As an avid reader, it’s not uncommon, even in the most well published author’s work to come across a small typo or two, but when a story is riddled with them it becomes so much of a distraction that eventually you stop caring how the story ends and put it down unfinished.

A bit of advice to other buyers hoping to hit upon a gem in the cheap section would be to pay attention to the reviews and hold off on purchasing until you’ve read the “Sample” that most outlets provide for you. Then cross your fingers and hope that the author cared enough about the reader’s experience to take the proper precautions against submitting an unedited mess.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for these new authors to take the time to review their own work and if they are not familiar with the process themselves, seek out a service to do so before presenting it as a finished product on the market place. There are thousands of authors in every genre who go the extra mile to make sure their story is told in the best possible way for the readers and those are the ones that will continue to succeed. It only takes one slipshot submission to turn a reader off from ever giving an author a second chance and moving on to the next one.

In summary, crow doesn’t taste bad after the first couple of bites and buyer beware when it comes to getting what you paid for.

~ Teresa St. Mary
Novels Alive, reviewer at large

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Teresa Spreckelmeyerhttp://www.midnightmusedesigns.com
I am the owner of Midnight Muse Designs, which provides creative book cover ART for eBook and Print that feature one of a kind art designs, as well as a selection of truly unique EXCLUSIVE designs.

7 COMMENTS

  1. The “con” is what keeps me from fully utilizing my e-reader. Just because one can “write,” doesn’t mean one “should” write. (There are lot of instances where someone should have told the Emperor his clothes weren’t on and he shouldn’t be writing.) Otherwise, I tend to agree with this post. For better or worse, Ebooks are the future. Lead, follow or get out of the way!

  2. I too once scoffed and now go nowhere with out my nook. Great advice re self published e-book. I agree with you and hope paper continues to be the medium of choice. Some books are just better when you can hold them.

  3. Yay!!! Another convert!!!! This year has been fascinating, watching the e-reader boom. I have both the Nook and Kindle on my phone, and use them every day.
    From an author standpoint, I agree with you on the self-pubbed works. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending money on a mess. I’ve published four books through small presses, and I learned the value of having editor after editor go over your work in order to shape it into the best it can be. So when I was ready to pub my first self-pub novella, I took the time and expense to have it also professionally edited, as well as beta-read by many people. I wish there was some kind of designation indicating that the work had been vetted in some way. Other authors are thinking of creating a council to certify that self-pub works meet a certain level of professionalism. But that is certainly a ways down the road.
    It’s frustrating for us that have taken the time to hone our craft and be conscientious to be lumped in with those that couldn’t care less. Unfortunately, it’s sometime difficult to shake out the chaff.
    Great post and enjoy your reading!

  4. I’m a bit of a tech geek and love my toys! Having said that, I also love the feel of holding a book in my hands as I read. I too hope that the traditional book never goes out of style but like the ease of what a e-reader offers.

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