Specialists in Internet Web Sites Since 1995
An Important New Direction in Publishing?
© 2000 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.
artists, writers, and publishers using the Internet, we have all heard about
e-books, yet there seems to be little e-book awareness in the popular press.
Why? There are several reasons: no major player has caught the fancy of
general-interest editorial staff, the methods used to create and deliver
e-books are still in flux, and the questions of appropriate royalties and
pricing remain open.
E-books available today range from simple text files to html files to Adobe
pdf files to full-fledged multimedia extravaganzas. Some e-books are meant only
for viewing on a full-size computer monitor, while others are built for
printing, and others are formated especially for the Rocket Book or the Palm
Consider e-book delivery systems: E-books can be sold on CDs or even
floppies, so those delivery systems are reasonably straightforward for people
who are somewhat familiar with a computer. E-books can also be sold in
downloadable files. As long as a downloadable purchase process is streamlined
and carefully explained, downloadable delivery can be a boon to both the
purchaser and the publisher.
E-Book Royalties and Prices
At last report, the major print publishers were offering the usual print
royalties or even less in royalty to authors who agreed to be published in
e-book format. At the same time, those publishers were charging hard-cover
prices for e-books. This seems unnecessarily greedy, doesn't it?
E-Book Costs Versus Hardcover Costs
An e-book delivered online as a file will require editing and formatting,
but it will not require an expensive print run or storage of the resulting
books. An e-book delivered online doesn't even have any shipping costs after
the delivery system has been set up.
Of course, an e-book on a CD does involve duplication costs, but those are
lower than hard-cover printing, and CD storage takes no more than one quarter
the space required for book storage. Shipping costs for feather-light CDs are
lower than for hardcover books.
The price of an e-book should reflect the publisher's lower costs. As the
word spreads in the popular media that e-books are available at reasonable
prices, and e-books are available for immediate gratification by download, the
real e-book groundswell will begin.
CogniText and SPAWN are jointly publishing e-books. Visit the
SPAWN e-book store now or contact us about
publishing your e-book.
~ Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is an Information Architect
who publishes both in print and online. Contact her at
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