Although the idea of ebooks, and a kind of reality, has been around for a decade or more, the recent introduction of ereaders like Kindle and Nook, and tablets like the iPad, has caused them to really take off. For a writer and small publisher like me, ebooks have many advantages in terms of cost and logistics. There is still a place for prints books and probably always will be, but equally there are situations when ebooks are better. I've talked to people who say they love being able to carry just their ereader when they go on vacation, rather than a suitcase full of books.
These ebook thoughts are, of course, inspired by the recent release of my latest ebook, The Best Bourbon You'll Never Taste. The True Story Of A. H. Hirsch Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey, now available in either the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook format.
You can't read Kindle books on Nook, nor Nook books on Kindle, but both are compatible with most other platforms, including all Apple and Android devices. You can also read them on any internet-connected computer. Personally, I have neither a Kindle nor a Nook but I do have a small netbook computer that I travel with and I can (and do) read ebooks on it. Both Kindle and Nook have an app for that (it's free) but you can also just use your browser. I recommend the apps, though, for their better functionality.
A couple of writer friends of mine have self-published ebooks that were subsequently picked up by a publisher for a print edition. Print is neither dead nor even dying, but the publishing world is changing rapidly. Self-publishing, once just the refuge of the unpublishable, is not only respectable but a good (as in, more profitable) alternative for many.
The business model is different, of course. Conventional publishers give their books a big push when they come out and will support them for about six months thereafter. Unless the book is a big hit, it's over at that point. The publisher remainders it. Because they send out so many review copies and other comps, the second-hand books pipeline fills up fast. The book remains available, but without any money going to the writer or publisher.
By contrast, my BOURBON, STRAIGHT was published in 2004, several lifetimes ago in conventional publishing terms. It continues to sell very steadily in both print and electronic formats. Here's a point other small publishers will find interesting. The release of an electronic edition did not have a negative effect on print sales.
So, if you haven't tried an ebook yet, here in the perfect opportunity. Click on one of the links that follows to buy The Best Bourbon You'll Never Taste. The True Story Of A. H. Hirsch Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey, available in either the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook format, and you can be reading it within minutes.