Print books are dead!

“Print books are dead, Mom,” said my son in a recent phone conversation. Lest you think this mother raised a fool, Daniel is Dr. Lewis, with a PhD in English, and teaches that at college level. He loves books. He begged me to teach him to read at the age of three.

Daniel and his wife, Sarah, in Ireland.

But he’s also a member of the first generation to be raised with video games, which led to personal computers, CDs, DVDs, cell phones, DVRs, and eReaders . He’s fully ensconced in the digital age. As my son says, “Digital is faster, easier, and cheaper.” I can’t argue with that. I have a Kindle and I read a lot of books on it.

That’s not to say I don’t still love the feel of a “real” book in my hands. And I confess that print books still seem more substantial to me. More important. As I said in a previous post, once again I’m dependent on public library borrows for most of my books, and though they have access to some eBooks through Overdrive, most of the books I’m looking for are not among them.

So print books are still very much a part of my life. But are they a part of yours? Will print books be less important to the current generation of children and mere old-fashioned curiosities to the next? What form do you favor now?

I’ve taken a poll on this topic twice before, so let’s update again. If you’re reading this through email or a blog reader and don’t see the poll, PLEASE click through to vote.

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What is a book worth to you?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about book pricing. As an Indie Author, I will set my own prices for ebook and print. Price is an oft debated topic at Indie Publishing blogs. Some authors swear their books sell best when they raise their prices, others say their sales skyrocketed when they lowered the price.

The ability to offer a free sample, usually the first chapter or two, of your ebook is one of the advantages to selling your book in an online store like Amazon. By reading the sample, you can decide, before you buy, whether the book is something you’ll enjoy reading.

Most Indie Authors price their ebooks at $2.99-$4.99. How many of you regularly plop down that much for a venti at Starbucks? Isn’t a book worth at least that much to you?

Some authors price as low as $.99 for a limited time. A few regularly price their books that low.  I’m not sure I understand that. How much, fellow authors, do you value your work?

I will also offer my books for sale in trade paperback (soft cover) print format. Prices vary on those too. Usually, they run from $6.99-$14.99. Where’s the sweet spot?

I need your honest opinion, so today I offer you two polls. If you’re reading this in a reader, please take a minute to come here today and vote. And I’ll be extra thankful, if you Retweet this post or share it on Facebook.


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And what did we learn?

The main thing I learned from last week’s polls was I need to hone my poll-creator skills. I could have added a few more options. Probably a survey would have better severed my objective. Live and learn. The results also provided a private lesson, somewhat sobering, which I’ll address in a future post.

One of the factors not considered in the polls is the age of the responders, which could definitely skew the results. If all the responders had been under the age of twenty-five, the results would have weighed more heavily in the favor of e-readers and books. Still, as it is, e-readers win.

If we add voters who want an e-reader to those who already have one, plus half of those still weighing the pros and cons, electronic readers received 64% of the vote. And the Kindle is the leader of the readers.

Because of my ineptness, the other polls are not so clear-cut. Did some of those who have readers also vote in the reader app poll? Did some of those who voted they don’t use any reader apps, do so because they have a dedicated e-reader? Or are they so opposed to electronic books they won’t even use a free app to read some of the free e-books?

I was most interested to see that, apparently, even some of you who own readers would still buy books in print format at triple the price. Three of you even said you’d buy both versions. I’m curious which print books you’d prefer over their e-format. Reference books with color photos would be a good choice for me. I would also buy my favorite authors’ books in print format.

To me, it’s obvious electronic readers are here to stay. I’m not convinced they are more ecological. I’m not convinced that visually it looks “just like paper.” I am convinced, for traveling readers, they’re a fantastic convenience. I am convinced they are far superior to reading a book on a monitor, especially outdoors (except on maybe the iPad or other back-lit readers.)

Love them or hate them, I think ebooks are here to stay, and possibly be the only format for some books in the future. And I think, eventually, nearly all those who voted NEVER, will change their minds.

Speak out on reading

Today, I’m asking you to help me with a research project, and I have four bright, shiny polls for you. Yeah, I know you already voted this month, but we haven’t had a voting here in awhile, and I think it’s the best way to get the answers I seek. Plus, in my polls, your vote actually counts.

Absentee votes? May I ask those of you who prefer to read my posts secretly to please participate in these polls? You will remain anonymous.

I’ve used the generic terms e-reader and e-versions in these poll questions, and print version applies to any print-on-demand option. If you do not yet own an e-reader, but use a reader app, please respond in Poll #3. Examples of reader apps are Kindle for PC or Stanza for iPhone.

Please feel free to voice your opinions in the comments section.

 

Thank you for participating. If I could ask one more favor, would you please re-tweet this post? More votes equals a better research sample.

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Monday Melting Pot

In a previous post, when I talked about Tim O’Brien’s book, I told you I was reading two short story collections and had planned to write about the second one today. Alas, I haven’t finished reading it yet, so I’ll just catch up on a few other bloggery things.

From the results of my last poll, it appears that most of you don’t really care to read samples of writers’ work when you visit their blogs. In light of that, I should be thankful I got even a handful of comments when I’ve shared a flash or poem in the past. I haven’t figured out what you do prefer to read—maybe another poll is in order. If I possessed that particular golden ticket, and my blog readership skyrocketed, I could brag about my “platform” in my agent query letter. How soon do you think I could increase my daily post hits to at least a thousand? 😉

I’m sure you all remember the momentous day I blogged about bacon presses, so I thought I should update you. I did buy the one pictured, and as you can see, it works perfectly to keep the bacon flat. The bacon cooks evenly, but it also cooks faster, so I’ve had to watch the timing. What is it about bacon that people love so much? Within my circle, there is only one carnivore who doesn’t like it, but then she doesn’t like any pork product.

Because I’m a research addict, I went online to further my bacon knowledge. What we in the USA call bacon, is not necessarily what the citizens of other countries know as bacon. Americans refer to fried, smoked pork belly when they speak of bacon. Non-Americans may call that “streaky bacon” because their preferred bacon is leaner, cut from the sides and back of the pig—although there’s also “fatback” cut from the back, which is almost pure fat. What we Americans call “Canadian bacon” is back bacon. I also discovered that what I grew up calling jowl bacon, was not jowl at all, but just belly bacon with the rind left on. For the record, my favorite bacon is applewood smoked. And now I really, really, really want a BLT.

If you’ve been keeping track of my Creativity Workshop progress, you may have wondered why there was no update posted yesterday. Well, the simple answer is there wasn’t any progress to report. My goal last week was to write a short story, one of four connected by place, but I only managed to write maybe half a story. I know the rest of the story, so I’ll get it written eventually. I also failed to do Merrilee’s writing exercise, in fact, I forgot she posted an exercise. But I’m giving myself a pass because this was a busy week, with the end-of-school awards and a high-school graduation.

That’s not to say I did no writing this week. I wrote three little poems; it seems all I have to do is be quiet in the morning, especially on the way home after driving my husband to work. I also finished my final polish and format clean-up of my novel. This time I know I’ve done all I can do because I’m down to deleting and inserting commas.

Okay, that’s that. Thanks to all who participated in my weekend discussion on publishing options. Today, I hope to finally get my new dishwasher installed, and then I will—once again—ignore the crabgrass that is taking over my flowerbeds because it’s supposed to be 100° F here today and I truly, totally cannot stand to sweat.

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