It seems like everywhere you turn these days people are talking about e-books and e-readers and other gizmos and gadgets that are taking over the book world. As an author, what should you know about these devices? Should your book be formatted for the tiny screen?
You're probably already somewhat familiar with e-books and e-readers. In fact, some of you may already own an e-reader like the Amazon Kindle™ or Sony Reader™. But for those of you who are not familiar, here are the basics:
An electronic version of any printed book available online. E-books can be bought and then downloaded onto a variety of devices including computers, laptops, e-readers and handheld phones. The average price of an e-book is $9.99, but prices do vary among e-book distributors.
A handheld device designed primarily for reading e-books. Most have a long battery life, a backlit screen and e-ink technology so it looks like you're reading a real book. Some e-readers feature touch screens, keypads, music-playing capabilities and full-color screens. The price of an e-reader varies depending on which brand it is. The most popular e-readers are the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook and Apple iPad.
As the popularity of e-books and e-readers has grown, so has the competition. In January 2010, Apple introduced their iPad tablet, a device that is bigger than an iPhone, but smaller than a laptop with a built in e-reader and access to millions of e-book downloads. The growing competition and new products coming to the market every day are evidence that this industry isn't going anywhere. In fact, e-book sales are expected to continue to rise as more e-readers become available at lower prices.
With the e-book market growing, where does that leave you as an author? We certainly do not recommend abandoning printed books (they still dominate the market and will be around for a long time). However, we do recommend publishing your book in multiple formats to reach the widest audience. An e-book is an excellent way to gain more exposure to a wider audience who otherwise may not have discovered your book.
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