1. what the dickens
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    what the dickens Member

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    ebooks

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by what the dickens, Jun 2, 2011.

    Hi

    I hope this is the correct section of the forum but my question is:-

    Can you actually make any money from ebooks? as the more i find out about trying to get your own work published, makes me think it is a waste of time an money with the odds never in your favour.

    Getting your work as an ebook seems a lot less expensive and also very 21st centuary or am i wrong?

    Thanks.:)
     
  2. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    The short answer is yes. Sadly I'm still waiting to make my fortune but some of the other e-book writers on fora I read are doing quite well, as in over a thousand sales a month on the kindle.

    Cheers.
     
  3. WastelandSurvivor
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    WastelandSurvivor Member

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    I don't make a fortune on it, certainly, but I do make a little bit of money with an eBook. I do also have it available in paperback but there is a much smaller profit margin with that.
     
  4. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Going the self-e-publishing route just because you're intimidated or discouraged by traditional publishing usually means you're not ready for it anyway. Successful e-books are those that could have also found success as print books, and successful self-published books are those that could have found success as traditionally published books.

    See the trend, there? People don't get rich on e/self-published books because they odds are just so stacked against them with traditional publishing, or the quality bar is too high, or anything like that. They make money because they're good writers, treat the business side with professionalism, and have a conscious marketing plan.

    Basically, self or e-publishing isn't the realm of 'aww, shucks, it's so hard to get published... ahah!' and then you're rich, or even making any money. And it's not exactly better odds you'll find success, just that you're technically be published.

    Also keep in mind a 100 rejections of your novel from agents or publishers means it still has a chance to get picked up and published some day, whereas a self-published novel that is DOA pretty much never has a chance to then become a hit at a later date.

    (rare exceptions being rare exceptions and need not cited)
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    To add to popsicledeath's post: remember that people still need to FIND your book. If I'm walking through a shopping centre and see a bookstore, I might take a wander through. If I see an interesting title or even just a nicely coloured cover, I'll read its blurb and maybe skim a few pages.

    e-Books don't really have that same idea. Looking through a website's catalogue doesn't have the same romance as shelves upon shelves of books.

    And if you go the ordinary published route, you get a better ego boost and better marketing; i.e. copies will be in book stores.
     
  6. what the dickens
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    what the dickens Member

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  7. kennychaffin
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    kennychaffin Member

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    To answer the O.P. yes, there are some excellent success stories.

    and to WastlandSurvivor, I'm betting you've made more from the eBook version than the paper version?
     
  8. kennychaffin
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    kennychaffin Member

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    Yes, both of these. The book must be well written, interesting, and properly marketed.
     
  9. Mist Walker
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    Mist Walker Member

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    With photography, digital cameras are much better suited to amateurs with lots of fancy functions which weren't available before. And it also takes away the hassle of getting your photos developed. With music CDs are more efficient and better quality than records, with entirely digital music files being more convenient. Film cinematography/film goes the same way as music.

    With just about every person I've met who reads to start with and isn't technology obsessed, I've seen a really strong reluctance to switch to eBooks. There's the feel of reading an actual book, you'll get people talking about new-book-smell. It's lovely to have bookshelves full of books. People don't want to switch. Whereas with the others there was a marked advantage to be had from the technology. On top of that, there's advertising to take into account. Films and music benefit tremendously from advertising whereas so many books are published and they make so much less that money isn't usually spent on advertising them to any comparable level.

    The best I've heard someone say about eReaders was about an 8-year old who read books too quickly for a camping trip to keep her amused without a portable library.

    Anyway, I don't think books are going to die out. I certainly hope they aren't.

    Can't say I have much to add to the original topic though. I think you'd face the same issue as with self-publishing in any form in that you'll lack for publicity.
     
  10. what the dickens
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    what the dickens Member

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    I agree with everything you say Mist Walker. I have often seen people smelling books in shops and can understand their attraction to those who buy/want them.

    ebooks cost less to produce and use basically very little energy, where as written books must use lots of energy and resources from harvesting the basic material to production, transport and display. ....... There's another argument for change.

    Publicity/advertising well here we go again as the internet has taken huge amounts of advertising from traditional sources and is growing where as other forms are losing their revenue.

    Written books will be there as long as people want and can afford them, I suppose we will know after a few more christmas's.
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Vinyl records had a history of a few decades when they were replaced by CDs. Books have been around for centuries. Just a thought, but it seems to me that they are more deeply ingrained in the human experience, and therefore will likely be more difficult to dislodge. Not that it won't happen, but it will take a lot longer.

    One other difference - CD technology greatly improved the listening experience, both by increasing the range of sound produced by inexpensive systems and by eliminating the signature SNAP-CRACKLE-POP of vinyl. eBooks do not necessarily improve the reading experience.
     
  12. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    Good quality vinyl (in good condition) actually can give better, richer sound than CDs. And for this reason, it's still very much alive and well in certain corners of the musical world (Jazz, Heavy Metal, and possibly others.) It's very common for a new album releases to include a vinyl "collectors edition". I read that it's the only physical-format of music that is showing a trend of increasing sales, while CD sales are decreasing.

    MP3s replace CDs, but they seem to actually be helping vinyl sales, because people miss the richer sound -- and also the album art, lyrics, inserts, and all the rest that goes with physical packaging.

    I suspect e-books will replace the print-as-cheaply-as-possible mass-market paperbacks. But I doubt they will replace books.
     
  13. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Two things. First, when I referred to improved sound, I was referring to inexpensive systems, not top-flight equipment owned by true audiophiles, and I think that drove much of the market. Secondly, I read some time ago that many new recordings are made with a LESSER sound range because it is assumed that much of the listening will take place on MP3 players using ear buds, which do not have the range of speakers or high quality headphones.
     
  14. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    Note that I said "can give better sound quality" rather than simply declaring vinyl better. This was intentional.

    My point was (and I didn't feel this contradicted your point) that just as vinyl is still very much alive despite CDs and MP3s, ebooks will likely change the book market, but not eliminate books altogether.

    Edited to add:
    This is why vinyl is still alive only in those corners of the music world that do tend to care more about that level sound quality. Hence, Metal and Jazz, but not pop.

    (This isn't a value judgment -- I'm not saying everyone should be an audiophile -- just saying that it's more common in some musical genres than others. And even then, it there are still genre differences -- audiophile classical music fans were some of the first folks to jump on the CD bandwagon and ditch vinyl. Audiophile metal and jazz fans still prefer vinyl to CD.)
     
  15. what the dickens
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    what the dickens Member

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    Totaly agree. There will always be books and new print books as photographs in books for example could never be replaced with ebooks.

    Paper backs written by a story teller/author? Maybe the percentage will change in favour of ebooks very quickly for all the reasons already mentioned.
     
  16. Bright Shadow
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    Bright Shadow Member

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    There are other factors to consider when one thinks of why ebooks wont replace paperbacks.

    First, people buy paper backs and hardcovers as gifts all the time. Who would give someone an ebook as a gift? I mean, you can, but it's not the same. Just as people often frown when they get the impersonal gift card, they would frown when they get a ebook gift certificate or get one sent as a file from Amazon or something.

    Second, the big appeal of MP3 players isn't there with ebook readers. An MP3 player can store thousands of songs and most people will listen to thousands of songs on a road trip...how many people will read more than one or two paper backs on an airplane? Granted, there is that niche of people who are always traveling for work but it is just that, a niche.

    Another big difference is that when the Ipod first came out, what did everyone do? They sat around and imported their CDs to their Ipod with few clicks of a mouse while they did something else. Try "importing" your old copy of Neuromancer to a Kindle. Sure you can make a PDF, but that is fifty times the hassle of importing a CD to a Ipod.

    Third, the price. An ebook reader cost from $100-$150 dollars. That means someone like me who reads maybe ten to a dozen books a year will end up spending more for an ebook reader than he does on books every year. How is that cost effective?


    Ebooks are a different technology from MP3 players and digital cameras. So many people, even people who love technology, are hesitant about ebooks. Heck, Bill Gates himself says he will never by an ebook reader because he prefers paperbacks.

    Books aren't going anywhere any time soon.
     
  17. Jewels
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    Jewels Member

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    I agree that hard copy books will never disappear, but I sense a negative attitude on this thread to ebooks which I find a bit surprising given that electronic publishers provide a great opportunity for more people to become published authors than will ever be possible with traditional publishing. It provides an opportunity to reach more readers and allows for more flexibility in what is accepted.

    I haven't bought a kindle yet (mainly for financial reasons) but it's only a matter of time and I'm excited about having libraries of books at my fingertips. The initial small outlay is nothing compared to the convenience and savings for avid readers.
     
  18. what the dickens
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    what the dickens Member

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    That's a very good point.

    It would be great to become rich or earn enough from writing a few books to be able to give up our full time employment and do our new projects, but in reality how often does that happen and to how many? Very few probably.

    At least with ebooks it allows us to get our books published and earn a little income (maybe) to offset any costs but more importantly it allows would be authors to get out there and get noticed by not only the public but you never know you could get snapped up for future work by a publisher who maybe looking in.
     
  19. Contacaton
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    Contacaton New Member

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    There's advantages and disadvantages to both normal books and ebooks.

    Normal books can cost a lot, they can take up a lot of room, they can be heavy, they can use up a lot of resources to make. But... There's a definite ego trip to be had in owning a vast personal library of actual books, something that I don't doubt I'll always want, as they've had so long to imprint themselves into the human psyche.

    Ebooks on the other hand would be considerably cheaper. Sure, things like the kindle might cost heaps, but the actual book data is considerably cheaper, it's like paying for apps to add to your iPad or something, the device costs more than the software, so if you buy enough books then the cost will inevitably balance itself out, and then you're saving money from there on out. Also, they're smaller and lighter than books, so you can take more stories with you wherever you go.

    Personally, if I had my way, I'd have the vast personal library for when I'm home, and the ebooks for when I'm out and about.
     
  20. James Scarborough
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    James Scarborough Member

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    With a few exceptions (textbooks, reference books, etc.), eBooks are THE future of publishing. Like it or not, simple economics are already making it difficult for print publishers to compete. As more and more readers and authors make the transition to eBooks, it will become increasingly difficult and eventually impossible for publishers and booksellers to make a profit selling print editions and they will be driven out of business along with most print newspapers and periodicals.

    Amazon, obviously, is ahead of the trend and pointing towards the future. Barnes & Noble is attempting to make the transition but only time will tell whether they will be successful. A few publishing houses have also become eBook friendly but most haven't because they realize it will be their death song and they're attempting to delay the inevitable.
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My biggest gripe about e-books has to do with the care not given to creating them from a print novel. All too often, they are clearly created by scanning a print book through an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program. The kinds of errors that show up are characteristic of OCR glitches, and apparently it is too much trouble to do a proper proofreading of the result.

    This would not happen if the e-book were created from the digital copy that goes to the print publisher's typesetting department.

    Obviously, this problem is not intrinsic to the e-book format, but it won't be dealt with until publishers begin traeating e-books as a medium worthy of the same quality controls afforded to print books.
     
  22. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm starting to get the feeling the publishing industry is somewhat technology conservative... partly because of the lax attitude to making good e-books Cogito mentions (I've seen some badly formatted e-books myself), and partly because of submission guidelines which only make sense for paper submissions, yet are applied to electronic submissions.
     
  23. Jewels
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    Jewels Member

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    Very true. As writers I think we should really embrace ebooks for the opportunities they offer. It's very noble of people to write for the pure love of writing, but personally I am writing to be published. I don't care about making money from it but if I'm going to spend so much time on something and put my heart and soul into it then I want to send it out into the world where other people can enjoy it. I don't even need to reach a lot of people, but just knowing that some people are reading what I've written will give me a great sense of satisfaction.
     
  24. Bright Shadow
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    First, I thing textbooks will be THE BIGGEST market for ebooks. Ever lug a bunch of textbooks across a campus? Not fun. That is the one case a kindle would have been preferable.

    I think in the future ebooks will take up a large chunk of the market, but they will only be supplemental. For ever one person excited about ebooks there are two who play around with the display of Nook at Barnes and Noble, make a face and go right back to the paper back section.

    I will say that pretty soon all books will be available as an ebook edition, but the paper version will never go away. There is just too much of a demand for real paper books for paper books to go away.

    As for ebooks being cheaper, I read an article that the price of printing and shipping a paper back is actually only 12.5% of the sticker cost. The rest is in cover design, editing, and most of all, marketing. With ebooks there will have to be actually MORE marketing, as there are no longer any smart displays and covers to grab the reader's attention.

    They say ebooks may get to be 20% of the market in a few years. I think it will probably be about 30-35% of the market in total. In have seen nook and kindle and I, like many many others, just can't reconcile the loss of a real paper book and will never get used to reading from that little pad instead of flipping pages.
     
  25. Jewels
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    Jewels Member

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    I've read a lot of complaints from authors about how errors that weren't in the orignal manuscript appear in their books when they are converted to ebook format. The thing I don't understand is why ebooks can't be created directly from word documents. Surely this wouldn't be too difficult to do considering how easy it is to convert a document into pdf format.

    I'm a bit technologically challenged, but I can't image it would be that different. You would think that the publishing industry would have addressed this a long time ago when it became apparent that ebooks are the way of the future.
     

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