27 October 2014
"Printed books are no more threatened by ebooks than stairs are
by elevators."—Amanda Greenslade, Director Australian eBook Publisher



"Printed books are no more threatened by ebooks than stairs are by elevators."—Amanda Greenslade, Director Australian eBook Publisher Today I posted a quotable quote on Facebook. It is an adaptation of something said by Stephen Fry. The reasons I have changed it and claimed it as my own are because I really like the anology of the stairs and the elevator, and nobody holds dibs on that, and really, to limit the concept of digital publishing to Kindle is not doing the industry any favours.

The issue worth discussing is Printed books vs Ebooks, not 'books vs Kindle'. Sure, Amazon is the biggest bookseller in the world, but it hasn't achieved total world domination in the publishing industry, yet.

Printed Books VS Ebooks
In the debate about printed books vs digital books there are several angles to come at it.

1. What do readers prefer?
Over the past seven years, since the very first iPhone was released, the western world has embraced tablets and smart phones. The shift from printed books to ebooks has been much slower, with many people still preferring the look, feel and smell of a hard copy. The take-home message is that some people like printed books, some people like ebooks and some people will quite happily find a place in their lives for both.

2. What is best for each particular type of book?
A meaningful question to ask is would my readers prefer print or ebooks for this kind of book? Or should I be offering both. What can be done in ebook or print that can't be done (or has to be different) in the other? For example, children's books are more well received in print than as ebooks. There are obvious reasons for this like:

  • It's easier to read a printed book to a child because it is larger
  • A tablet distracts a child from an ebook because they know they can play games or watch videos instead
  • Children's book distribution is done through retail outlets and at author events with great success, it's much harder to do this with ebooks

Another example is cookbooks. In this case ebook formats are, in my opinion, equally (if not MORE) useful and almost as much in demand as printed formats. Take our ebook The Great Uncooking by Natalie Prigoone, for example, or Hasna Gourani's Your Healthy Appetite. These are fixed layout ebooks we designed specifically for tablets and they are handy to have on the kitchen bench while cooking.

You can zoom in, press links, take screen shots, all sorts of cool things that you can't do as easily with printed books. If you have a cover on your iPad, even better, because then you won't splash your culinary creations over your device! They are deliciously designed and producing cookbooks as ebooks is a LOT more affordable than print. The opportunity for worldwide distribution, which matches in with many author-chefs online marketing platform, makes ebooks a potential gold mine for cookbooks. If done right and if marketed right.

Multimedia
If you want audio, video, forms, animation or other enhancements in your book, then ebook is the obvious choice. If this multimedia content will enrich and improve the experience for your reader, then it makes your choice of print vs ebook very simple!

3. What will sell?
On to marketing. Will your book sell as a hard copy? Will it sell as an ebook. This has got to be the number one question for any professional writer. Those of you without an ambition to become a successful author need not read on. If you want to be successful, if you want to sell books (whether in print or as ebooks) you must have rock solid commitment.

Publishers look for authors with something unique to say, commitment to their craft and to promoting themselves and their work. Likewise, if you're looking at self-publishing, and you want to be sure to make money from your work, have a think about the saleability of your work and your commitment to it. Even many published authors have to have a day job, so if you're expecting to become a writing recluse with pay checks rolling in, talk to others in the industry.

The selling of hard copy books is suited to publishers with distribution networks, or to authors with face to face selling opportunities, such as speaking engagements, clubs, or the willingness to navigate book distribution themselves. The selling of ebooks is suited to anyone who can do enough internet marketing to make it a success. Someone with an online platform, for example.

4. Where to next?
As my quote, that I'm seizing as my own, infers, I believe there is a strong place in the world for both printed books and ebooks. Australian eBook Publisher assists authors and publishers with both. We love to work on projects that include both print and ebooks as this gives the most effective and efficient workflow in publishing. We also love the exciting multimedia aspects and the creative ways that ebooks can be used.

Contact us for more information.

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Customer Feedback

"I have really appreciated your support with my book, Amanda. I'm sure your other clients are of the same opinion. Quality professionalism is never in over supply, neither is generosity of spirit. You have both."—Henry Grossek, radio announcer and author of Game On: Building the Education Revolution

"Thank you, Australian eBook Publisher. I am delighted with the quality of the print edition of my novel, Beast-speaker. The service that Amanda and her team provide is exceptional: friendly, helpful and everything is delivered within the promised time-frame. The print on demand package is easy and affordable, and I highly recommend it to anyone considering publishing with Australian eBook Publisher, Greenslade Creations."—W. A. Noble, author of Beast-speaker

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