“Buy my book. It’s an ebook. It’s cheap, and you can download it.”
This is the typical sales pitch of the ebook author these days. I should buy his book because I own a Kindle, and he’s selling for 99 cents. OK, why should I give up Kindle space and a dollar of my hard-earned money?
“Because it’s a cheap ebook.”
Right. But why? I willingly spend more on paperbacks, hardcovers, and even other ebooks. Why yours?
“It’s cheap, and it’s an…”
OK. I get that part. What makes it different from all the other cheap ebooks out there.
Here’s my problem. Everyone entering the digital stampede is pitching their book on it being this shiny new thing called an ebook. This includes one very vocal (and successful) Kindle apologist who shall remain nameless.
Actually, I’m reading his book now. But then I’ve read his stuff before. See? I already knew why I wanted to spend $2.99 on his ebook. It was available, cheap, and I had a Kindle. Here’s the kicker. Something I already wanted to read was available for cheap on Kindle.
Yet this author, and far too many others, are still talking about ebooks the way nerds used to talk about the text-based World Wide Web back in the early nineties. Like those early nerds, who clung to Fidonet bulletins boards long after most of us abandoned Fidonet’s more robust offshoot, Usenet, for blogs, Yahoo Groups, and this thing some guy at Harvard wrote to get himself laid called Facebook, too many ebook authors act as though the rest of us have not seen the Amazon ads for Kindle or heard the endless Mac head hype over the iPad or even used a phone for something other than making phone calls, texting, or just generally annoying everyone else sharing the road.
Most people now have smartphones. Quite a few have pads. Quite a few more have ereaders. Here’s a hint: It’s no longer a novelty. Hasn’t been for over a year.
So why do I want to read your book?
I know why I’ll likely download one of Dave Zeltserman’s books in the near future. Dave talks about his books. Occasionally, he mentions some of them are on ebook. Why? ‘Cuz someone might want to, yanno, buy it? When I had a book out, I always considered it good form to pimp the local indie in interviews because that’s where the books went. Good for me. Good for the store. And Dave’s selling stuff via those newfangled ebook reader thangies. So he mentions it occasionally. Good for him. Good for Amazon. But he mentions what he’s written about a helluva lot more than the format it come in. Makes it easy for me to pick what I want to download from him. Or buy in hard copy. If it doesn’t grab me, I don’t buy it, same as with hard copy. (Ooh! Guess this isn’t as revolutionary as we thought!) As I’ve said before, it’s not the technology, it’s the content, stupid.
So sure, you got an ebook. Now make like Dave Z and tell me what’s in the book. My Kindle has only so much storage, and that dollar could always go to a starving Starbucks barrista.