The publishing industry, I hope, does not intend to forever banish the printed word to the garbage can of history. Books in print have their own special qualities and merits, and the world would be weakened by their absence.
Having said that, let’s look at what makes ebooks so powerful and so unique. Ebooks have certain abilities and qualities that other mediums do not possess.
Ebooks are easy to produce, and their production cost is inexpensive. Just think about it: you don’t need a publisher, an agent, a printing press, offset film, ink, paper, or even a distributor. You just need a great concept, the ability to write it or to hire a writer, and the right software.
Ebooks are easily and rapidly distributed online. They are also easily updated; they do not require a second print run. All you need is to go into your original creation and modify the text or graphics. Because of this flexibility, ebooks can change and grow as fast as you can type.
Ebooks are also immediately obtainable. You don’t have to go to a bookstore or search through endless titles at an online bookstore. All you have to do is download it from a website, and presto! It’s on your computer, ready to be read.
Ebooks are interactive. This is one of the most unique and specific qualities that ebooks offer. You can add surveys that need to be filled out, order forms for customers to purchase your products or goods, sound and video that draw your reader into the virtual world of your ebook, even direct links to relevant sites that will expand your ebook outward. The potential is virtually limitless.
Ebooks have a particular kind of permanence that other mediums do not possess. Television shows and radio shows air once, and then may rerun a few times. Ebooks remain on your computer for as long as your choose, and they can be read and reread whenever you choose to. They can even be printed out and stored on the shelves of your traditional home library.
Ebooks have no barriers in terms of publishing. You don’t need to go through the endless process of submitting your manuscript over and over again, and then once you land an agent, having the agent submit your manuscript over and over again. Nor do you have to shell out thousands of dollars for printing a self-published book. All ebooks require is a writer and appropriate software. Figure out your market, write your book, post it on your website, and with the right business savvy, your audience will come to you.
Finally, you have creative control over your ebook. You don’t have to compromise with an editor or the publishing trends of the time. You don’t have to haggle with a designer or wait for copy edited galleys to arrive by snail mail. You are in complete control of the design and the text.