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How Many Readers Have Bought an ePublished Book

Have you bought an e published book?

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In RWA’s most recent President’s Letter, Diane Pershing makes the case that epublishing as a business model does not serve the membership of RWA well primarily because digital publishing does not offer advances:

In other words, that publisher’s business model is of benefit to all its authors (RWA members). The fact that a publisher might not offer an advance but pays a 37.5 percent royalty rate is inconsequential; that business model is only favorable to the few-‘or even the several-‘who manage to sell enough books to make decent money, or at least the $1,000 required for Published Authors Network (PAN) membership. It is not favorable to the rest of its authors (RWA members) who earn very little money, if any at all.

I am a big proponent of e publishing. I think it can serve an under represented portion readers whose needs are not met by mainstream publishing.   I think digital publishing has the ability to be quicker in responding to changes in taste and that it can be more innovative.   Certainly Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight is a shining example of a beautifully written romance novel that couldn’t find a place in mainstream publishing but still found its way to the readers via Samhain publishing.

Over the course of the next week, I’m going to be posting a series of ditigal publishing related questions to see what the temperature of the Dear Author reading crowd is. If you are an author, I would appreciate if you would answer the poll with your reading hat on.

In this thread, I’d love to see comments as to why you have or have not bought an epublished book.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Kristen
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:08:13

    I’d like to see a poll about how many ebooks readers purchase in a given time period. Like: How many ebooks do you buy in a month? 1-3, 4 – 6, 7- 10

    Something like that.

  2. Jane
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:09:17

    @Kristen Great idea. I’ll put it in the queue. I have a number of discrete questions I want to ask.

  3. Lorelie
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:12:51

    I like ebooks and have bought them off and on for years. I’d buy more if I had a better way of reading them. (Right now I only have my netbook and my eyes burn out after too long.)

    That being said, I don’t know that you’re going to get an accurate picture with a poll here on DA.

  4. Brandy W
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:18:59

    I love my ebooks. Samhain and Ellora’s Cave are the two main places I go for books. I love that I can find pretty much anything that I am looking for and I can discover something that I may not know I even like.

    I buy them because I can get a book anytime I want and not have to schedule a time to run out and look for it. So I guess overall its convenience, instant gratification and discovery of something new.

  5. Laura Vivanco
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:22:34

    I’ve bought some in the past, but the DRM meant I couldn’t back them up, and some of them didn’t actually work when I tried to read them on my PC, so it’s been quite a while since I bought an ebook.

  6. Nadia
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:36:03

    Does buying ebooks from mainstream publishers (big NY) count as well?

    I’ve bought lots of NY pub ebooks, but only a few small press ebooks.

  7. tricia
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:42:21

    I have downloaded some free ebooks, but they were all books that were also offered in print. My tastes in romance are pretty traditional, and I’m fortunate that my tastes are served by traditional publishers. When ereaders become more affordable, I might purchase ebooks, but I still believe that what I want to read will continue to be offered by Harlequin, Avon, and Pocket, so I won’t need epublished books.

  8. GrowlyCub
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:43:04

    E-books available at the TN online library were what got me back into reading romance in 2006. I have acquired several hundred since then, although not many lately due to DRM issues and Fictionwise offering very few Lit files since their takeover by B&N or multi format files for that matter.

    I will not buy any DRM format now that I cannot turn into an rtf file, because I’m blind as a bat and need to blow up the font significantly and I want a format that will be available long-term and is easily stored without depending on a software program or hardware or a CC number from 30 years ago.

    I used to buy directly from the e-pubs, but then found FW and haven’t really bought much anywhere else since. I’ve also noticed that prices have gone up to ridiculous amounts per word count, especially at Loose Id, to the point where I go ‘hell no’ and turn to one of the 600 paper books or e-books on my TBR. And I stopped buying at EC because they don’t store your purchases, but mainly because their editing and quality has been mostly abysmal in the few books I tried.

    I have a Sony 505 and I love reading on it, but unless publishers make it more attractive for me to do so, I’m not sure where my e-book reading is going.

  9. Sela Carsen
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:45:12

    I’ve bought e-books from e-book publishers and downloaded freebies or cheapies of e-books from mainstream publishers.

    Like Lorelie, I wish I had a better way to read them, though. I don’t have an e-reader yet although I keep telling Santa that I’ll be as good — or as bad — as he wants. ;)

  10. GrowlyCub
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:48:39

    There currently is a Borders coupon available for members (membership is free) which allows you to buy the Sony 505 for $199 instead of $299.

    Thought some of you might be interested. If you sign up and want the coupon, let me know and I’ll email it to you.

  11. Julieb
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:51:56

    Amongst the things that keep me from buying more e-books are the DRM and the technology. Also, I’ve never found anything that works well for me. Of course, that’s a personal issue more related to my bad eyes than anything else. My husband reads a virtual ton of e-books every year, and both his PDA and laptop are loaded with a multitude of readers. And there lies a big problem. There’s an array of readers, and the consumer has to decide if they have compatible software (or want to download and install it) if they want to read on their computer, PDA, or phone. People aren’t going to spend a small fortune on e-readers if they won’t read all the popular formats.

    This is kind of a chicken-and-egg issue. Most emerging technologies go through this sort of software/hardware transition and eventual fallout. (I have a closet full of old tech gear that attests to that.) I just fear that whatever happens in the end won’t be in the best interests of consumers.

  12. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:52:41

    I buy ebooks for three main reasons:
    1. I live in the UK, so buying US authored romance books is trickier – takes time and I want the book now, not in a week.
    2. I ran out of space. Bookshelves crammed, piles of books all over the place. DH called a halt, and I had to think again because he was right. Ebooks take up space on my hard drive. Am presently trying to rebuy my keepers in e-format.
    3. I have appalling eyesight, complicated by a rare form of arthritis that affects my eyes as well as my joints. I don’t like to hold a hardback, it makes my wrists ache, and with an ebook I can alter the print size, even the font, to suit me. And the devices are easier to hold and carry around.

  13. Silver James
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 07:53:30

    I voted with my reader hat, but now I’m putting on my author’s hat to comment. This has been a huge, on-going kerfuffle at RWA. I personally know authors who have dropped membership over it. I don’t qualify for Golden Heart because I sold to an ebook publisher they don’t recognize because there are no advances. I don’t qualify for the Rita because I sold to an ebook publisher (they don’t recognize). I’ll never have a chance at Best First Book because…wait for it…I sold to an ebook publisher. That said, would I do it the same way all over again? Yes. Because I have a book coming out in 2010. A book I’ll stack up against any the “big gun” publishers are putting out.

    I’ve heard all the arguments. Yes, winning one of the above awards would be cool but that’s not why I write and publish. I’m a storyteller. I want to share my stories with readers. And by George, if it’s good enough for Deirdre Knight, it’s good enough for me!

    *climbs off soapbox now*

    FYI, the books at the Wild Rose Press are DRM free. Just sayin’…

  14. MB (Leah)
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 08:14:36

    If I could I would drop paper altogether and go strictly ebook.

    There are issues about ebooks though that piss me off.

    DRM. I hate it. I won’t buy from Harlequin and some other epubs because of it. I think all ebook publishers should offer their books in as many formats as possible since there are many eReaders out there that only use certain formats. You want me to buy your ebook, then offer it in a format that I can read it in.

    The second issue that lately has been pissing me off is the cost. I’ve noticed that many epubs are starting to charge ridiculous amounts for word count and I think they get away with it because many readers are used to thinking in pages and not in word count per price.

    An author friend recently pointed out to me that if her ebook cost the same as another epub’s cost per word count then it would be $50. It’s insulting to be charged $5-6 for a 30K ebook. I’m starting to get really rebellious about that and no matter how much I want a book, no. Just no.

    So while I choose ebooks over paper, I really struggle about it sometimes.

  15. Jayne
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 08:26:45

    The second issue that lately has been pissing me off is the cost. I've noticed that many epubs are starting to charge ridiculous amounts for word count and I think they get away with it because many readers are used to thinking in pages and not in word count per price.

    An author friend recently pointed out to me that if her ebook cost the same as another epub's cost per word count then it would be $50. It's insulting to be charged $5-6 for a 30K ebook. I'm starting to get really rebellious about that and no matter how much I want a book, no. Just no.

    Oh, yeah. This lights my fire. I didn’t used to look at word count that much but after getting zinged a few times, I do check it now.

  16. fshk
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 08:38:41

    I am a Kindle owner and enthusiastic consumer of ebooks published both by “traditional” publishers and by epublishers. I like the instant gratification of ebooks, and I like that a lot of the epubs I’ve bought from are DRM-free. Plus, the epubs are offering books the bigger publishers are still afraid to put out (probably for good reason, since it’s still a narrow audience that likes some of the books I’m interested in). But since discovering epubs about a year ago, a whole new world of really great romance has opened up to me, a lot of it interesting and subversive and different from what’s getting shelved at Barnes & Noble. (Or I’m overselling the case; I’ve bought some bad ebooks, too. But some really fantastic books-‘Butterfly Tattoo is a good example-‘have come out of the e-houses and it would be great if they got more recognition. And more sales for the author.)

  17. Joely
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 08:42:46

    I bought ebooks in the past, but struggled reading them, because all I had is my laptop. However, I just bought an iPhone and whoa! I love reading on it. I’ve bought as many electronic copies in the past month as I did an entire year before and I’m just getting started. There’s nothing better than sitting in line at school to pick up the kids and being able to whip out my phone and select one of a multitude of books to read.

  18. Tammy
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 08:43:08

    I’ve downloaded several free ebooks and have purchased two, reading them using my eeePC. I’m not likely to repeat the experience in the near future.

    I spend too many hours a day in front of computer screens of various types, and don’t want to read a book that way too. My personal preference is physical books.

  19. Heather Brewer
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 08:50:14

    I love ebooks. They are usually cheaper and I can download them in adobe file and send them to my Kindle. I love Samhain and Ellora’s Cave. I read a lot of paranormals and I like them HOT so they have exactly what I am looking for.

    I can buy 2 ebooks sometimes for the price of 1 mass market book, it just depends.

    the ebooks I have the most problem with are the ones from Harlequin because they have to be downloaded to a secure adobe file and you can’t move them. I hate that. I have a couple of free Gena Showalter books and 1 by someone else that I paid for but can’t move them.

  20. GrowlyCub
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 08:51:43

    Yeah, those ‘novella’ sized book prices make my blood boil. Recent example of highway robbery was Dahl’s ‘The Wicked West’ from Harlequin. I didn’t realize it was a short story until after I spent the 3 bucks for 19k. I was really annoyed to say it mildly.

    If this price applied to full-length novel (90-100k), it would cost 15 bucks for a paperback.

    Yeah. Right. I can count and multiply and I’ll think long and hard before I give money again to authors and publisher who do this kind of stuff.

    One reason I bought at Fictionwise as opposed to e-pubs directly was that often they had the word count listed which the e-pubs didn’t.

    Funny how Harlequin stuff at FW doesn’t have word counts. If I had seen 19k, I would have *never* bought it. I’ve since read the book that spawned this and am really glad I didn’t read it first, because in it TWW is mentioned at 200 pages… I would have been even more disappointed had I seen that.

  21. GrowlyCub
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 08:53:44


  22. GrowlyCub
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 08:58:39


    I used to feel exactly like you and then I bought a Sony 505 with e-ink technology. There is absolutely no comparison to reading on a back-lighted device. It’s actually more comfortable than reading a paperback, because you don’t have to hold it open, you can adjust the font and it weighs less.

    I used to suffer from eye strain and skipping when I read on my laptop and that is not an issue at all with the Sony Reader. I was a total skeptic, but now I’m a believer, grin.

  23. JulieB
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:03:12

    While I agree that some e-book prices are higher than they ought to be, don’t forget the overhead – editing, publicity, hosting, and a myriad other pesky things like salaries and royalties. It would seem to me that on a general basis, you’d pay more per word for shorter works just because of the overhead. But I could be wrong. I’m not an e-publisher, nor do I play one on TV.

    (Pardon ant typos I’m out of the office and posting via phone.)

  24. GrowlyCub
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:06:19


    you certainly have a point, but certain of these costs are lower for shorter works. I would give you the point if e-publishers had always charged high prices, but when I started buying, the prices were much lower. To me it looks like they think they have us reeled in and we won’t notice that they are scalping us, especially with the extremely short works.

  25. Bree
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:14:31

    I buy from epublishers a lot, primarily from Samhain as they offer the mixture of erotic and non-erotic books that I like. (I can get erotic books at a lot of places, but it is harder to find epub’d mainstream romance.)

    To be perfectly honest, there is exactly one reason I haven’t gone entirely digital. And it isn’t DRM, because if I really want to put a DRMd file on one of my readers I will find a way. It’s the fact that there is no legal way of handing off a book to someone who might enjoy it more if I’m not loving it.

    Loaning a book to a friend to get them hooked on a new author is part of my reading experience, so if I buy a book that I might want to pass off, I do it in mass market format. And once in a while it’s stopped me from buying an ebook because you’re pretty much screwed. I’ve bought plenty of ebooks that I read two chapters of and set aside, just like I’ve done the same with print books. But with print books I can pass them off, give someone else some entertainment or joy from the money I’ve just spent.

    Plus I like to buy books for other people and that’s tough to do with ebooks. I pretty much only give away ebooks I’ve written, because at least then I don’t have to worry about buying and transferring the copy which is pretty much illegal. (And not all sites offer gift cards.)

  26. Tammy
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:15:46

    Call me a Luddite, but I LIKE holding a book open. I like turning pages, hearing them flip. I like the smell of a book, the feel of a book. I also don’t want to spend $$ on yet one more electronic device.

    Different strokes. ;-)

  27. LizC
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:34:25

    I am resisting the ebook trend until the last possible moment. Call me crazy but my favorite thing is to go to a book store and browse (and, as it’s almost impossible for me to not do so, also buy). I like having tangible evidence of the money I spent. Something that I will be able to carry with me from apartment to apartment.

    While I have spent $100s on books in the last year it’s still not worth it to spend $$ on an ebook reader when I will still have to spend near paperback prices on the books for that reader. On a reader that will likely be out of date in just a few years and on books that I may or may not be able to easily transfer to another device and that I would lose anyway if the device it was on died, was lost, or was stolen.

    I have read a few ebooks that I got for free and I read them on my laptop. The format didn’t bother me because I read so many other things on my laptop but it didn’t instill in me a desire to purchase more ebooks.

    Also, I’m incredibly nosy and when I visit people I like to look at the books that they own. I can’t do that if every one starts only buying ebooks.

    Perhaps if I traveled more I could see the benefit of a reader and ebooks but as for now my paperbacks will do just fine.

  28. Sandi
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:37:27

    Not a ebook fan.

    no affordable reader (too much time on computer to read on it, too)
    Fear of drm

    I like paper books and I like to browse bookstores.

  29. Keri M
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:40:49

    It is funny how two people can do the same thing, but get two different thought processes out of it. Growleycub, you felt ripped off when you bought Dahl’s The Wicked West and I felt like I got a great deal. I knew going in, though that it was just a novella and felt based on what I heard in the past about ebook pricing, I thought it was a good deal. (Obviously, I didn’t know squat!) :-) That is also just my 2nd ebook I have ever purchased, as I don’t have a reader and have no intentions of getting one. It was still a good experience, once I got the Adobe Digital thingy worked out and should I have an absolute, I-am-gonna-die-if-don’t-get-this-now, need for a book, I am not opposed to doing it again in the future.

  30. JulieB
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:41:59

    GrowlyCub, I agree that there is likely some price gouging going on in places. People will charge what they think the market will bear. I hope that the industry finds its footing sooner rather than later and prices will stabilize.

    I hope authors are getting a fair share, no matter what the price. That, I suspect, is partly what drives the RWA stance on e-pubs. That, and some rights issues, which is probably off-topic.

  31. Leah Braemel
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:43:18

    Wow, so many reasons.

    Ease of purchase – I can buy one whenever I want – the store never closes, and the snow on the roads isn’t an issue.

    They’re always in stock, so no waiting – IOW instant gratification.

    I don’t have to pay shipping costs which are exorbitant here in Canada.

    I like the option of being able to change the font size either on my screen or my Sony Reader – that’s a huge selling point for me with my lousy/aging vision.

    I love having 150+ books on my Sony Reader so when I’m bored and sitting in a waiting room or plane, I have my choice of a whole library to read.

    Price – I have bought books as ebooks because the publisher has decided to change up series in the middle and publish the next book in the series as a hardcover. Since I don’t want to wait, and I refuse to pay the exorbitant price of a hardcover that I may not even like, paying under $10 for the ebook satisfies both my “need to read it” and “I don’t want to pay that much” sides. Oh, and don’t forget all those $1 book sales or “16 free Harlequins” I can download — how often do you see that in a paperback?

    Options – ePublishers offer me choices of books that I sometimes can’t find locally – a big issue for me considering there’s only one bookstore in my area. And as you mention with Butterfly Tattoo, the big name publishers can’t take the chances on some of the books ePubs offer.

    Storage space – I do not have room in my house for any more books. My shelves are already two layers high and two levels deep in paperbacks.

    I’m sure there’s more …

  32. DS
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:45:38

    I do look at file size before I buy an ebook. I don’t do short stories or novellas for the price of a deadtree paperback.

    I was looking at my Kindle account and noticed that each month I had bought several Kindle books, but only a couple had been originally epublished only. I had also downloaded a lot of freebies including a couple of Samhain books.

    I used to have a Baen account but something happened to their set up and I haven’t had a reason to set it up again.

    I also bought several of Ann Somerville’s books as downloads from Lulu a while back, and whatever one might think about her as a poster, her books are well edited and readable, which I couldn’t always say about the couple of books by larger epubs I’ve read.

    Oops, that last remark wasn’t directed at Samhain specifically. Sorry if it looked that way.

  33. Karen Templeton
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:54:46

    As an author, I’m thrilled that ebooks offer readers another option, one that’s more convenient for them in many ways.

    As a reader, however, THUS FAR e-books aren’t for me. I’m not gadget-crazy to begin with, so the idea of buying a reader that might become obsolete within a year or so doesn’t appeal — even if I was amenable to laying out the cash for one. I hear folks talk about all the different formats, and trying to make X format work on Y device, and my eyes begin to glaze over. And I’ve read books on my computer and do NOT like it. The scrolling drives me nuts. Since I don’t keep a lot of books, storage isn’t a huge issue, nor is needing to haul a bunch of books around with me since I travel very little. And when I do, I really don’t read — too busy doing other stuff. So a paperback or two to fill the occasional lag time works just fine for me.

    I’m simply not the target market, that’s all. But I’m not the target audience for video games, either, and those seem to be doing just fine without me. ;-)

  34. Mireya
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 09:55:52

    I have told my story on how I started reading ebooks a million times: stuck at home, sick, not being able to get anywhere to get anything to read. I was actually looking for erotica online, to order some. I couldn’t find anything that appealed to me. Pretty much by accident, I found “The Empress New Clothes” by Jaid Black listed in Amazon. They didn’t have it available though, so I started searching until I landed at the author’s website … and from her website Ellora’s Cave. I purchased 99.9% of their catalog available at the time in less than a month. Have to say I am glad my husband and I keep separate credit card and bank accounts…

    The first genre of romance I ever read was erotic romance and at that time, erotic romance had a lot of stigma attached to it and the big guns (and the RWA) would not touch it with a 10-foot pole unless your last name was Schone…. I didn’t want to read erotica either, which yeah, was available in print … I wanted ROMANCE … with a lot of sex … explicit sex ;)

    My preferences have changed, but I am an ebook convert and if I can get a much awaited release coming out in ebook format as well as print, I’ll go for it, often buying both formats if it’s a beloved author or a book that had me drooling (in a good way).

    I am a very vocal advocate of ebooks, have to say. Just the fact that I can travel carrying a lot of books with me without worrying about the weight or the bulk, is enough of a draw for me.

  35. MaryK
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 10:09:57

    I buy only DRM free books, mostly from Fictionwise. The DRM books that I do have (fewer than 10) I bought for $1 or for a 100% micropay rebate.

    I generally buy ebooks that are only available as ebooks either because that’s their original format or because they’re out-of-print and the authors are re-pubbing them as ebooks.

  36. JennaJ
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 10:11:35

    I love the instant gratification of an ebook, as well as the variety. I read from my laptop so it’s not a question of finding compatible formats most of the time: I just get a .pdf and I’m set. (I also like the .pdf format for the easy zooming and bookmarks.)

  37. Karen S
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 10:24:02

    As someone who is very interested in buying an ebook reader but has not done so yet, I have to agree with those who said that formats are a big problem. I would be planning to get an ebook reader in the next month or two…if my brain didn’t overload practically any time I tried to compare different models and figure out if I’ll actually be able to read the books I want on the thing. .lit? Mobipocket? Secure Adobe? Unsecured .pdf? Microsoft Reader? Can I convert from this format to this format using this piece of extra software, but not this one? *headdesk*

    If publishers and ebook reader manufacturers want people to buy their products, they need to make it easier for people to do what they want with said products. Period.

    Though if some of the major publishers of knitting books would get on board with ebooks, I might have to take the plunge anyway, because omg, perfect format or what?

  38. SandyW
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 10:43:59

    Reasons I buy ebooks: convenience, instant gratification, variety that I can't find in print, the annoyance of holding a mass-market paperback with 50-year-old hands.

    I prefer buying from the small press web-sites when possible, because they are more likely to offer html and no DRM. Like GrowlyCub, I otherwise buy Microsoft Lit, because I have an easy procedure for converting that format and downloading it to my ebookwise. Very soon, I am going to have to start looking for conversion tips for other formats. I have yet to see a reader that I would switch to, although I have an eeePC that I sometimes read from. The screen rotation works well and, unlike a lot of people, I like reading from a back-lit screen.

  39. GrowlyCub
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 10:57:18


    I have to laugh at that because I’m sure if you look at the early ebook threads on Dear Author you will find a post by me within the last 6 months or so that says exactly what you said in your comment.

    If somebody had told me then what I told you now I wouldn’t have believed it either… grin. It had to happen to me.

  40. GrowlyCub
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 11:05:31

    @Keri M:

    I liked ‘The Wicked West’. I liked it a lot, so I wanted it to be longer. :)

    I knew it had to be shorter than a regular novel because you don’t see many $3 e-books, but I thought it was really short to the point where the story suffered a bit. I would have loved to have seen what it could have read like at 200 pages.

    As I mentioned I’ve quite a few e-books and with longer consumption/exposure to business practices comes a higher level of cynicism, I guess. Or maybe I’m just cheap… or both… grin (I had a g in brackets before, but the software ate it).

  41. Booklover1335
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 11:47:45

    I have purchased more ebooks in the past year than print books

  42. Keri M
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 11:58:19

    @ GrowlyCub, now that is something we can both agree on, I would have liked it to have been a lot longer as well. :-)

  43. Angie
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 12:10:57

    These days, I buy more e-books than print books. I actually prefer print books, all else being equal, but all else is not equal. First, one of my favorite genres — m/m romance — is hardly served at all in hardcopy. And second, e-books are cheaper than paper books, so by buying electronic I can get more books.

    And BTW, I think even $9.99 is a ridiculous price for an e-book, certainly for a basic novel. If we’re talking an electronic version of a coffeetable book with a lot of photos or something, then that’d be another matter and I’d be willing to pay more, but for just a text file? Puh-leeze. I’ll rarely pay more than about six dollars for an e-book, and occasionally seven. Beyond that, forget it. And the New York publishers who think we should pay hardcover prices for an e-book are delusional, or think their customers are idiots, one of the two.


  44. SonomaLass
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 12:20:32

    I still mostly buy print books, and I don’t own a dedicated e-reader. I read on my laptop sometimes, either Adobe or (lately, and much better) e-reader. I started with free e-books, then a few books that were highly recommended but not available in print, and then the $1 e-books. I now have about 65 e-books, and I’ve only read a dozen or so. Like others, I spend enough time at the computer doing other things — reading a paper book is very different for body position and eye strain.

    However, I’m about to embark on an experiment — three weeks in Scotland without a ton of dead trees in my suitcase! Other than a few keepers that I’m taking along to leave in our house over there, and a couple of books for the flights, I’m only taking my laptop. Thus I expect to do a lot of laptop e-book reading (I rarely have an internet connection, and I won’t be working while on holiday), and I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes.

    Not that I plan to give up paper books; my UBS habit is too strong, and I swap most of the romances I read with my daughter. Those behaviors are not served by the e-book.

  45. T.Elle Harrison
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 12:29:23

    I’ve never actually bought an ebook but I did take part in the free ebooks that Ravenous Romance offered just to get a taste of what they were like. I have to say that they put me off. Most of them weren’t very well written and even if they were the premise was so campy, trite or overdone that I never got made it through a chapter or two. Not only that…I rather like real books. I love the way the smell and I like having a book in hand or in my bag to read whenever I have a little free time.

  46. Cathy
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 12:40:44

    Prior to February of this year, I had maybe a half-dozen e-books, mostly from Samhain. At the end of February I got my Kindle, and my e-book (and e-pub’d book) consumption skyrocketed. I’ve discovered many, many books that I would’ve otherwise missed out on either because they were only available in e-form or because the print price was too high for me to take a chance on something new. I’m also tickled over the number of free books available; of the 80 or so on my Kindle, I’ve paid for maybe 25 (all of them obtained legally).
    I look forward to watching the ebook movement gather more momentum in the next few years.

  47. MarnieColette
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 13:57:31

    I love my ereader (Sony -505 in cherry red) I buy tons of books for it… generally ones that I want now and can’t wait for a store for them. I also like the variety of genre that they offer over print books.

    I do still buy loads of print book. I just now buy loads of ebooks too. Its great for buying an authors backlist.

  48. cursingmama
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 14:15:20

    I haven’t yet purchased an ebook and I can say that the only reason why is my lack of a reasonable way to read. I refuse to pay for a dedicated reader and my current computer situation for home is taxed – so, until I can either afford a new computer (I’m thinking netbook) or a digital reader is gifted to me through reviewing I will be sadly on the sidelines.

  49. Karen
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 14:17:59

    I’ve bought a few ebooks over the years (maybe a dozen over the past 5 years), but only books that I couldn’t get in any other format. As someone who doesn’t read paranormal or erotica, there aren’t that many e-published books that appeal to me, although there are a few. I don’t particularly like reading on my computer or laptop, so I have to really want to read a book before I will buy one in ebook format.

    I like the idea of ebooks, but buying an ebook reader would be a huge expense for me (I’d probably have to stop buying books for a year to save up for it) and I would only spend that kind of money if I knew that every book I’d ever want to read would work on that particular ereader. And right now, that’s not the case. I just don’t have the disposable income to buy an ereader, and then still have to buy books in paper because they won’t work on my particular reader.

  50. Jacqueline C.
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 14:44:53

    I buy ebooks occasionally but I still prefer having the actual physical copy. The main reasons that I’ve purchased ebooks are that it was either the quickest way to get the book, it was cheaper in ebook format, or because the local bookstores didn’t have it in stock.

  51. Kalen Hughes
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 15:37:52

    I think it can serve an under represented portion readers whose needs are not met by mainstream publishing.

    Since buying my CyBook, I buy the majority of my fiction in eBook form, but I’m still buying mostly (almost exclusively) books put out by NY houses. I just find it convenient to be able to buy what I want, when I want. My buying them has nothing to do with my needs not being met by “mainstream publishing”.

  52. Miki
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 16:49:01

    Love my ebooks. Doing my level best not to bring another print book into my house!

    And GrowlyCub, we need to talk.

  53. Tae
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 17:45:11

    I buy e-books because I’m living in a foreign country where there is only one English language bookstore 2 hours away from me. Ordering from Amazon and shipping it overseas is ludicrously expensive. I ended up buying myself a Sony Reader – which allows me to get a ton of free books through Baen Free library and the Harlequin giveaway and the Sony store. I also have access to my library’s ebook collection from abroad. I can’t imagine buying a paper book again. Really. When I really want an author’s backlist, or the next book in a series RIGHT NOW, e-books satisfy. I ended up buying two Linnea Sinclair books recently. Oddly, I am more likely to buy e-books than tree books now since I don’t have access to my library back home.

  54. Evangeline
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 17:50:27

    For some reason my comment didn’t go through on the conversational review Jane and Maili did on the Trinity Blacio book, but I am aggravated by Pershing’s stance on e-publishing. I firmly believe that if RWA a) didn’t place so much emphasis on being published over developing excellent writing skills and b) ignore the e-publishing market, many, many, many of the bad apples in e-publishing, which further harden RWA’s stance on e-publishing, would likely not exist.

    A look at the majority of the workshops and classes offered by all chapters of the RWA, as well as the many conferences, show that only a fraction have anything to do with the money side of writing and publishing romances–so why beat the drum over a writer obtaining advances? Unless there’s exists a fear that too many non-NY published authors won’t be able to pay their annual dues? o.^

    My first priority is to become a better writer. I could get the highest advance in the world, or I could go the e-book route, but if I have no concept of or cannot grasp basic narrative and writing skills, how does that reflect well on being a member of the RWA? I feel it reflects badly on the organization to have a significant percentage of its writers woefully ignorant about e-publishing and its model, which leads to a higher probability of being scammed by unscrupulous e-publishers. If the RWA is to serve as an educator for romance writers, it behooves them to be fair and open-minded about all aspects of publishing–not basing their decisions on whether or not an author receives an advance.

    Oh, ha ha, off my soapbox now–I do buy e-books. Not as often as I’d like since I don’t have an e-reader, but if a book looks interesting, I’m likely to purchase it–especially if it’s something not offered by mainstream publishers.

  55. GrowlyCub
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 17:50:31

    Miki, thanks! I’m not sure I’m technologically savvy enough to follow those discussions and implement, but I guess I’ll have to unless publishers see the light! What’s that saying? ‘Hope springs eternal…’ lol

  56. Evangeline
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 18:01:09

    @Bree: Oh, that is something I’d forgotten about when it comes to e-books. Particularly after I practically gave away my $17 copy of the latest Sookie Stackhouse book for free *g* (well, not for free, but close–my UBS for half-credit). But even then, I’m possessive and will keep a book I didn’t like or couldn’t finish for a while, just because it’s mine. :D

  57. ~~Olivia
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 19:02:08

    I wanted to buy e-books, but like others have said, was extremely confused about formats, etc. I also did not want a separate e-reader and I don’t want to read books with my computer screen. I like to curl up with a good book on the couch. Last week, I discovered the Ipod Touch has applications to read books. I was thinking of buying an Ipod Touch and that cinched it. I order one from Apple yesterday!

    I am excited that I won’t have another gadget in my purse, like a separate e-reader and my Ipod Touch can be used for more than just music. Imagine being able to pull it out of my purse while waiting at the doctor’s office.

  58. Christine M.
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 19:27:49

    The only one I’ve bought is Ilona Andrew’s novella, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on it, paper-wise, and I already knew–and loved!-Ilona’s writing so it was a given for me.
    ETA: I forgot to mention that I don’t own an ebook reader and that I will read this novella on my laptop. And it’s DRM-free, too! :)

  59. Marcy Arbitman
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 19:42:04

    I prefer e-books. I own an eBookwise reader and I transfer my books onto it. I would be delighted if all romance authors offered their books in e format. The cost is much more reasonable and I can and do carry my reader with me.

  60. Jane Bierce
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 20:27:20

    I’ve been published since 1983 (HAR), and moved to epublishing in 1998. I’m a pioneer, and considering the treatment my epubbed colleagues and I have endured from RWA, we have the arrow marks to prove it. I’m member #2 of the Electronically Published Internet Connection — EPIC — and served two years as its president. So — been there, done that. I have a book coming out next month and one in September and several more in line.

    I was legally blind for fifty years — darn right I love to read on my computer, where the font can be the size I want it. I write sweet romances, and they are taking quite a hit right now, but epublishers are still willing to publish them, because they don’t have to sell a gazillion of them to earn back their investment.

    I love my epublishers — Hard Shell Word Factory and Awe-Struck e-Books, both now under the Mundania banner. Those publishers were likewise pioneers and very responsive to the writers’ visions for their books. Whereas print publishers look at a cover as just a way to get the customer to pick it off a shelf, e-pubs accept the writer’s input. And there have been times that I’ve hired a cover artist to do my cover the way I wanted it.

    Most of all, I love the freedom to write what the print publishers throw up their hands and hide their faces from. Why write if I can’t shatter a few rules?

    I love this discussion — I hear what you are saying. Ebooks are not going to disappear, so someone is going to have to accept that, but the print books will stay around, too. You’ll have the best of both worlds.

  61. Kat
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 20:39:19

    Ebook readers are expensive, I’ve heard it’s a little more challenging to buy ebooks here in Oz, and even though I have a folder filled with ebooks, I struggle to read them on the laptop. I’m too easily distracted. *coughTwittercough*

  62. Regan Taylor
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 20:58:44

    “an” ebook? Oh my — I started reading ebooks in 2001 and haven’t gone back. Yes I still read print — I’m about 50/50 between print and e.

    I always have at least 200 on my Palm — if you’re an avid reader you know you never want to run out of reading material. I could have more but feel okay at 200 on it. With the Palm it’s so convenient — on line at the store, the last few minutes on the bus going to work, on a quick break.

    Print are usually for reading at home before I turn out the lights.

    I’ve made friends on the bus going to work because of the Palm — they see me reading, they have iPhones or whatever and want to know where to buy ebooks and ask for the names of authors to check out. They’re certainly a lot lighter to carrying around than a big old hardback. Don’t get me wrong, I do read hardbacks, but those are for at home.

    I think Diane needs to either enter the 21st century or look at the green movement. More and more of the formerly print only publishers are going to e if they haven’t already. Look back at the early days of Fictionwise — it was all the small/electronic presses. You look there now and your top 50-100 are all your formerly only print pubs.

    Great thread.

  63. Aileen Fish
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 21:06:35

    My Fictionwise bookshelf has more than 400 titles I have purchased in two years. That doesn’t include stories bought from the epub websites. I have readers on my home PC, work PC, my blackberry, laptop and I have a stand-alone ereader. I’ve bought magazines, classic authors, short stories through novels. I’ve found wallbangers and don’t deletes, just like in paper. I don’t have to make time to hit the library or bookstore, don’t have to buy more shelves, and don’t have to worry about the dogs chewing up a hardback.

    I really wonder if RWA is afraid of the competition, now that there are authors making as much or more than the traditionally published ones.

  64. Mariana
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 21:08:42

    I buy only ebooks. I have my reader and find it hard to read paperback/hardcover books now. I’m slowly replacing all my paper books with the digital versions. And I’m all for e-publishing the backlist of the authors from the pub houses.

  65. Meredith Duran
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 21:30:38

    I only started reading e-books because certain books that were getting great buzz weren’t available in paper. Bettie Sharpe’s novella, Deirdre Knight’s Butterfly Tattoo, Anya Bast’s stuff at EC. More recently, one of Lara Adrian’s books was offered by the publisher as a free download, and I scooped that up and read it on the plane (and then went out and bought paper copies of the rest of the series).

    So, if given the choice, I prefer paper. But my reason is quite simple: paper offers a respite to eyes already sore from 16+ hours a day of laptop glare.

    I do suspect that if I managed to scrape up the cash for an e-reader (or if a truly affordable e-reader came out tomorrow! everyone cross their fingers, quick!), I’d feel differently. I hear from sources far and wide that e-ink is fantastically easy on the eyes.

    Last thought — I also think that an e-reader would lead me to purchase more hardcover releases. Currently, it’s their size and weight as much as their price that deters me; they’re difficult to transport in an already-overloaded shoulder bag, much less to curl up with. An e-version would be much handier.

  66. Missy Martine
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 22:02:48

    I have bought and downloaded over a thousand e-books. They are all on my computer and I re-read them occasionally.

  67. Ciara Gold
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 22:07:48

    I still love the traditional paperbacks because I can take them in the bathtub with me.

    That said, I felt a strong need to buy an e-book reader because I have several books published with an e-book publisher and thought I really needed to embrace the technology that was in part allowing me to do something I dearly love — write.

    I have never regretted that purchase. I love the convenience it offers when traveling. I grab it up and take it when I know I have to be in a waiting room for a lengthy period of time. It’s just very handy and the cost of e-books is more feasible than paperback. Don’t get me wrong, I love them both and still buy books in both formats, but lately I’ve been buying more and more e-books. There’s such a wide range of genres to choose from as opposed to the traditionally published books. I like that – a lot.

    Now, if I can just figure out how to take the e-book reader into the bath without fear of dropping it in the water and I’ll be set.

  68. Tanya
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 22:38:09

    I love my e books and my sony reader. I buy 95% of my books at because they offer the nice pdf format for the sony reader. They have a great selection and the kind of books I love.

  69. Amy
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 22:54:54

    I've got a slew of e-books and I wouldn't trade them. While I love the smell of a paper book, I can't read the font because it's too small and tires my eyes. We won't talk about the ridiculous price of paper print either.
    I wish schools would turn to e-books. The replacement cost alone is a significant savings, not to mention the lessened weight on a student's back/shoulder.

    I've shopped several publishers and have consistently come back to the one I know for a fact does the following:

    1-book price is based on the page count, never the word count.
    2-they offer the Sony PDF, a pretty file.
    3-they haven't raised their prices in 3 years.
    4-they offer 9 formats with a 10th soon to be available.
    5-the most expensive book is $6.99 (including the large anthologies consisting of 18-23 authors).
    6-none of the formats are encrypted.

    My favorite e-pub

    And if you want mainstream romance, check out

    BTW, publishers get no say in the price of a kindle, Amazon sets those prices. The publisher gets to list their price when uploading a kindle, but Amazon sets the price Amazon wants no matter what the publisher sets the price at so blame that on Amazon, not the e-publishers.

  70. Belinda McBride
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 23:23:09

    I primarily switched to ebooks a couple years ago when I found the variety available. In my area, there is only one book store with a limited selection. Also, I sometimes have to stay up overnight to monitor my niece’s health, I can download a book at any time of the day or night. The prices are affordable. I can choose a short, a novella or a full length novel. They are never out of stock. When I travel, I don’t have to lug books along with me. They don’t clutter up my house. I can adjust the size of the font on my screen. They are environmentally friendly and last much longer than a paper book.

  71. H
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 01:27:54

    I buy ebooks – often *shuffles feet over how much money I spend*. I buy them because I live in a land far far away, and in an area too far from the one “good” bookshop for visits to be anything other than an excuse to chat with the owners and to stock up (I never make it out door without spending at least $200) .
    I buy them (ebooks) because I can keep my TBB and TBR in order easily, not to mention the sheer convenience and speed (and we do not get free shipping here, nor do we get the speedy delivery that seems to be a feature of online ordering for some readers). Impulse buying is now an option!

    I do buy print books (online), but the freight on these costs as much again as the book, so it is not as frequent an event as previously – more an indulgence or a last resort when a Much Needed Title is not (and will not) be available in ebook form …. and there is that 14 day or so wait until one actually receives the book.

    My elderly Palm T3 died last month, so I bought a netbook (ereaders not available easily here) for mobile and bedtime reading.
    Just as impulse buying is now an option, so too is impulse reading. :)
    I adore ebooks and there are titles being issued in this form that I haven’t been able to get hold of in pint for years. I can’t emphasise enough the difference ebooks have made to this avid reader – it is like having your very first library card all over again.

  72. GrowlyCub
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 03:56:18

    I have a question, Amy. Why do you consider it a positive that they charge by the page, rather than word counts? Page count can be artificially inflated by using very large fonts and lots of white space.

    Word count is a much better gauge to know the real length of a story/novella/book.

    Personally, I wouldn’t get another Extasy book if they paid me for it.

    They sell stories without any kind of HEA/HFN as ‘romance’. And I hate nothing more than publishers mislabeling stories as ‘romance’ to try to cash in on the many romance readers out there.

  73. Elaine Willis
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 04:31:18

    I have been buying ebooks for years, but only in pdf format. I bought a Sony 505 for Christmas 2007 in order to make them portable.

    One of the reasons I bought it was because I live about 100 miles from the closest bookstore. I had planned to be able to download ebooks on the same date they were published in print. Unfortunately, they do not always come out at the same time and I refuse to wait for them.

    I also did not realize at the time the problems DRM was going to cause me. Last November, I purchased a netbook to alleviate the DRM issue. It is obviously not a complete answer and does not address the delay in publication.

    I rarely purchase anything that is available in print as an ebook anymore. I find it irritating to have to determine in which software library a particular book is saved (MobiPocket, Sony, etc.), and I absolutely despise Adobe Digital Editions.

  74. Barbara J. Hancock
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 06:13:03

    For years my unusual manuscripts(I write a blend of angst-driven paranormal with elements of science fiction and horror) sat dusty on a shelf. Not because I didn’t dot my “I”s or cross my “T” s. Not because I didn’t know the rules of GMC. My manuscripts gathered dust because they were square pegs trying to fit in round holes. RWA held me back by presenting the round holes as the only acceptable gateway through which I could share my books with the world.

    I understand that money matters. My greatest hope is that RWA will come to understand that a dusty manuscript on a shelf makes no money at all. For the first time in over ten years, I’m getting paid to do what I love. I’m finding readers who love what I do…and it’s all because of e-publishing.

    That’s about as “favorable” as “favorable” gets!

    I’ll be honest. I never bought an e-book until I sold an e-book. Suddenly I discovered a fresh new world of fiction only a mouse click away. Needless to say, I’m hooked!

  75. Angie
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 06:21:41

    Barbara @74 —

    My manuscripts gathered dust because they were square pegs trying to fit in round holes. … My greatest hope is that RWA will come to understand that a dusty manuscript on a shelf makes no money at all.

    They do understand that. They’re using the carrot of promised money and the stick of zero respect to get you to write round pegs like everyone else. :/


  76. Jane O
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 07:36:11

    Since I get the vast bulk of my reading material for free from the public library, I am not at all tempted by an ereader for which I would have to buy books. The only books I buy are ones I have read (or ones by a very few favorite authors) that I know I will want to keep. This does not, I suppose, make me a very good revenue source for anyone, so ebooks will fail or flourish without me.

    I do think they are more likely to flourish in the long run. At present, however, they seem to be very much a niche item. Although some large publishers are putting out ebook versions of their regular books, the small epublisher books seem to be heavily weighted to erotica (or m/m or all those other initials). Since these books do not seem to have the same size audience as, for example, historicals, ebooks seem to be a sensible and efficient means of putting books and readers together. (Also, keeping the entire transaction electronic serves the same purpose as the brown paper covering the windows of certain bookstores in my youth.)

    In short, some people like square pegs even if more of them like round ones. Ebooks provide a way to get books with a limited but very real appeal to their readers.

  77. Allison Knight
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 07:47:28

    Not only have I bought ebooks, but I bought an e-reader and when my husband saw how much I enjoyed using it, he wanted one too. We both sit together, music playing softly and read from our devices. I get romances, but my husband goes for several well known authors of thrillers.

    There are two reasons why we’ve gone this route and something I think RWA is missing. First is the expense of a hard bound book compared to an e-book. Hard bound books, the kind my husband reads, ’cause he can’t wait for the paperback,
    are 2 to 3 times as expensive. And second, we can increase the font on our readers.
    I also discovered that the quality of e-books is every bit as good as print book, and I often find more mistakes in paper than ditigal medium. Says something about editing doesn’t it.


  78. Julie Eberhart Painter
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 07:54:24

    E-publishing is the coming thing for several reasons. I’ve always seen it as the answer to the heavy backpack our young people carry to school. Now it’s becoming the environmentally practical answer to saving paper. Established authors and classics are being published electronically, which gives e-books a greater status than they have previously enjoyed. As the competition for better, lighter, less expensive readers continues, soon the e-way of reading and studying will be affordable to the public, which have avoided it because of the cost.

  79. Shiloh Walker
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 08:00:15

    I was buying ebooks before I signed with an e-press-the main reasoning was that the books weren’t available in print.

    I like how quickly I can get an ebook.

    I like the shorter lengths-sometimes I just don’t have as much time to read as I like. Being able to buy a novella that I can read in a short amount of time is wonderful.

    I like the variety of stories. A lot of the books I’ve read and loved in ebook just wouldn’t get published in traditional publishing-Bettie Sharpe’s LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT is one I don’t see selling to a traditional pub and it would be a shame for a book like that not to get published-it’s so darkly beautiful.

    And did I mention the ‘get it now’ factor? No waiting-I don’t have to worry about the bookstore not having it, or even driving to the bookstore. I don’t have to wait for it to be shipped.

    I still read plenty of books in paperback, but ebooks have a huge appeal and no matter how much some people don’t want to admit it, ebooks are the way of the future. Print books aren’t going away any time soon, but ebooks are definitely here to stay.

  80. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 08:12:22

    The RWA doesn’t figure anywhere in my thinking. I was a member for a year (despite being in the UK), and when I didn’t get value for money, I left.
    It really doesn’t matter what the RWA does or doesn’t do. Readers don’t care. Epublishing is growing like grass in springtime without the RWA’s help, and I don’t see that changing once the Ladies of the Committee finally relent.
    While I do feel sorry for those members who are epubbed and have been jerked around for the last ten years or so, and I’ll cheer from the sidelines, it doesn’t figure in my thinking. Not any more.

  81. Regan Taylor
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 08:19:27

    Hi Growly,


    That’s not so, my book Jason’s Accord is with eXtasy and I write sweet/sensual. All my books have HEA/HFN. It’s definitely a romance.


  82. GrowlyCub
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 08:26:31


    it happened to me and when I pointed out privately that a story that doesn’t have a HEA/HFN shouldn’t be called a romance I got hate mail from both the author and the publisher. In the end the publisher changed the genre label from ‘gay romance’ to ‘Urban gay romance’ with the explanation that ‘Urban’ would indicate that it doesn’t have a HEA/HFN.

    I was also lambasted for not understanding that this was only half the story in the first place (which wasn’t indicated anywhere on the site, I might add and why on earth would you publish half a story in the first place?) Wait, to make more money off your readers maybe?

    I have no doubt that they may have other, good books, but I don’t care, because after my experience with both author and publisher I wouldn’t buy there if they were the only e-publishers on the planet.

  83. Heather H
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 09:57:35

    I think I’m one of the rare people who have never purchased an ebook. I’ve downloaded some free ones — from both Tor and Harlequin — but I’ve yet to read them.

    I’m a voracious reader and, given a free day, can devour a couple books between getting up and going to bed. I’m constantly looking for something to read, something that isn’t out yet or I don’t have when the books on my TBR shelf (ok, shelves) aren’t what I want. The instant gratification of an ebook purchase could allay that.

    Traveling with such a habit is heavy…and expensive. When I traveled the Pacific and Asia for a couple months, I was constantly swapping books on the hostel shelves and trading things into the used bookstores. An e-reader would obviously make that easier. And yet, I might miss out on new authors like Wilbur Smith is I did that.

    My reading habits would seem to indicate that I’m the perfect candidate for ebooks. And yet…

    I spent much of my day working in front of the computer, so the thought of curling up in front of one at the end of the day…not my idea of fun. You can’t get as comfy on the couch or in the tub with a laptop. A dedicated reader would obviously be more portable, but until I prove to myself that I would read electronically, the cost is prohibitive. A chicken and egg kind of problem.

    I can’t say that I read paper books because I love the feel of paper. But there is something about the heft of a paperback in my hand. I can dog-ear a book or drop it on the floor or shove it in my bag and it’s all good.

    Plus I get a kick out of sending the books I read on to my mom or best friend. My mom probably wouldn’t buy the books herself (although on a couple series, she’s bought the next book and sent it to me) and my friend moved home to take care of her mom and just doesn’t have the cash for them. So I read a book and think, “ooh, I’ll send that to mom.” For a couple bucks postage, I can fill a box and make someone’s day. I couldn’t do that with an ebook.

    Does this all mean I’ll never be an ebook reader? No, I’ll never say never, but it’s more likely that it will be a business decision to get into that market. I’m also an unpublished writer. While my dream is to see my book in print (on paper), I realize that epublishing is a growing market. Which means that I’ll need to explore it. And to do that, and to submit wisely, I’ll need to be aware of what those publishers sell and what they want.

  84. Liddy Midnight
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 10:08:28

    Great series of polls coming up, Jane! I’m looking forward to it.

    I’ve been buying and reading ebooks since the initial days of Dreams Unlimited. I must admit, however, that my consumption increased with my acquisition of an eBookwise reader that I won at RT a few years back. (Thanks to New Concepts Publishing for sponsoring that party and prize!)

    Love the space-saving aspect of ebooks.

    Hate the fact that NY print pubs don’t often discount their digital versions. (That’s why I buy a lot more small press publications than I used to. Yes, the quality of both editing and writing varies widely. I shun publishers with blatant typos on their splash pages and read whatever excerpts I can find before buying a new author.)

    Love the backlight on the eBookwise.

    Am not crazy about the weight – the arthritis in my hands is getting worse – but it’s a lot lighter than a hardcover. And I can set it on my lap, the chair arm or a table so it’s not much of an issue unless I’m standing in line somewhere.

    Love the customer service. I had a problem with mine that was an infant mortality problem (as in shows up early in operation) and the folks at Fictionwise couldn’t have been more accommodating. I sent it in for service and when I got it back, it had been upgraded with the optional memory chip. Sweet! At under $150, if anything happens to it I will definitely buy a replacement unit.

    I STRONGLY URGE you to see, feel and try any reader before you buy it. I looked at my editor’s Sony reader and the lengthy page refresh time drove me nuts. That made me realize that all readers are not created with equal features.

    As for pricing, there are basic costs that the publisher faces for all publications and thus a threshold below which it’s not worth the investment. When I first sold FIRE AND ICE to DU, Bonnee told me she couldn’t price it at 20K words. I had to bump it up to 30K for her. Then I was asked to increase the length to around 50K for EC. (That *#^%&$ book just wouldn’t go away! :crossing fingers:)

    For the record, I recently left RWA. From the perspective of a small press author who”s quite content with her publisher and her per-book income, the organization was not giving me enough return on my increasing dues. I don’t have the time or the inclination to run for office and effect change from within. I took the exit interview seriously and offered specific and coherent reasons for my departure but I don’t expect it to change anything. More’s the pity.

  85. Nancy Henderson
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 10:34:58

    I read e-books on my laptop. I love how quickly I can get them. Space is a huge problem for me, too many books!, so e-books are my only way to go. I love that I can still find American set historicals in e-book, where not so much in print.

  86. Cathy M
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 10:51:43

    I read more books in e-format than in paper back these days. Love the convenience of my Ebookwise Reader, and having book choices right at my fingertips. For the most part, I find ebooks are usually cheaper, and I do a lot of my shopping at Fictionwise and Books on Board. I tend to pass on high cost ebooks and will wait for sales to make my purchases.

  87. senetra
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 12:02:08

    I went to Samhain to get Butterfly Tattoo, and got four more as well. I spent money at Fictionwise and eharlequin this week, too.

    Right now my paper to ebook buying ratio is still 70-30, but it’s increasing, and I’m stocking up on books from Project Gutenberg. I got the Mysteries of Udolpho by Mrs Radcliffe from there to read for a class, mostly because I want to know what all those Regency misses were so het up about.

    My ebook purchases will never be 100% unless I live somewhere there are NO bookstores, and also because sometimes I just want a paperback.

  88. Karen Ranney
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 13:30:39

    I buy oodles of ebooks, but only Kindle books from Amazon. In fact, I only read Kindle books lately. If a book is only available as a hard/paperback, I pass on it.

    I’d be curious to know where people buy books.

  89. Lisa J
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 13:58:20

    My Sony reader is sitting in the box at home waiting for me. I picked it up at Borders yesterday with the coupon for $199. YEA!!

    I have been buying e-books since I got hooked on Lora Leigh’s Breed series three years ago. I am now buying more e-books than any other format.

    All of Leah Braemel’s reasons apply in my case. Ease, availability, storage room, and cost. All that and more.

  90. Phoebe Matthews
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 16:01:32

    Sorry RWA feels that way. I am a PAN member but at this rate, I am thinking it is time to drop RWA. All I get is a magazine. I don’t need to pay $85 for a magazine subscription.

  91. Phoebe Matthews
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 16:07:17

    Oops, forgot to mention where I buy ebooks. I like AllRomanceeBooks. Also buy from Fictionwise. And directly from the publishers sometimes. I’d buy more if I could get a reader that can download from Mac. Right now I have to read on my laptop. Sony claims it can hook to Mac but the local Sony store tried it and had books come through with missing parts. Discouraging. Maybe they will get this fixed. I love the size of the Sony ebook reader.

  92. Amy
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 19:27:21

    I have a question, Amy. Why do you consider it a positive that they charge by the page, rather than word counts? Page count can be artificially inflated by using very large fonts and lots of white space. Word count is a much better gauge to know the real length of a story/novella/book.

    I never said it was a positive, I said it was a fact they did, meaning they started using page count and haven’t changed the way a book is sized. The only white spacing I see is the normal 6 spaces for a chapter and in between chapters. It's easy to see when a publisher does the font game. When they do it, I stop buying their books. Every eXtasy Book I’ve ever bought has a 12 pt font. Whether via page or word count, everyone is entitled to their favorites. Different strokes for different folks.

    Personally, I wouldn't get another Extasy book if they paid me for it. They sell stories without any kind of HEA/HFN as ‘romance'. And I hate nothing more than publishers mislabeling stories as ‘romance' to try to cash in on the many romance readers out there.

    I agree, I hate mislabeled books, too, but it sounds to me like you're saying eXtasy mislabels all their books. That's a really big stick to swing if you're incorrect and such a comment could be considered libel. Personally, find the eXtasy stuff to be better than many other pubs out there, including several who have shafted authors and readers and pop-up overnight and do nothing ore than hurt thr e-industry as a whole.

    I recall that book and the ruckus over it. It did not stay private, although I can't quite recall who took it public, it was an attack on the author and publisher that hit several loops. Part two is the HEA for the series. And many authors run series by writing part one and then somewhere down the road, an unexpected part two pops up, sometimes a part three. There’s nothing wrong with authors doing books in 2, 3 or more parts.

  93. Tanya
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 19:45:23

    I find the staff at eXtasy Books nothing more than helpful and courteous and can’t imagine any of them sending hate mail. They behave professionally at all times. My friend lost all of her e books. At some point, until they fixed it, you couldn’t download your book after a certain period. The publisher was kind enough to search out my friend’s purchases and replace her 72 books she’d bought at eXtasy by sending them to her via email. How many publishers would do that?

  94. Tanya
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 19:50:03

    Oh, and by the way, has this discussion now received a new topic? Let’s slam publishers?

  95. Grace
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 20:14:15

    I purchase all my ebooks from FW. The publisher doesn’t matter as long as I like the theme to the story. I like my romance on the science fiction side, so it is tricky to find. I read far more synopsis than books these days. Some just don’t make the cut. FW solves the problem by lumping a large number of publishers together with a Superstore effect.

  96. Nadia
    Jun 12, 2009 @ 02:29:00

    How many publishers would do that?

    If you buy from FW, all your purchases are available via BookShelf page for a very long time, although FW says it cannot guarantee that they’ll always be there. (probably CYA on its part; I’ve been able to redownload all my books there.)

    If you buy directly from Samhain, your purchases are forever linked to your account and you can download in ANY FORMAT you want, as many times as you want. Zero hassle.

    So I don’t think it’s THAT special that eXtasy re-sent your friend her books.

  97. Ebook Publishing a Bad Career Choice?
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 08:28:47

    […] post by erotic romance author Lauren Dane here. See Kristin Painter’s response here. And Dear Author is running a poll and asking for comments. Monica Burns weighs in over at the HEA […]

  98. Fiction Scribe » Blog Archive » What I’m Reading
    Jun 17, 2009 @ 00:10:36

    […] *Dear Author has a poll regarding e-publishing and the results may surprise you. How many readers have bought an e-published book? […]

  99. Lise Horton
    Jun 17, 2009 @ 15:26:12

    I have bought e-books for 2 reasons: 1. To support friends who have published in digital format; 2. To buy the plethora of super-hot erotic romances that I just love.

    However, I can guarantee that, in the future, I will be buying more and more and more. I am a rather uncontrollable bibliomaniac and as soon as I have mastered my fear of e-book readers, I expect to be binging ferociously.

  100. Edie
    Jun 20, 2009 @ 08:42:44

    Late response.. but hey!
    I would say my book purchases (which are way too high) are these days 70% ebooks and 30% print, and that is me with a second hand book store.. *cringe*

    But realistically being on the bottom of the earth here in oz, where in the stores paperbacks are $16.95 – $19.95, talking normal MME editions here too, it is just not feasible anymore. (and darn UPS or whoever it was banning surface mail.. boo)
    Most of my ebooks are from the epubs, as the NYers charge way too much, and I get a wider variety..

  101. H
    Jun 20, 2009 @ 17:45:55

    As a niche reader (m/m – which to me describes the relationship orientation and does not equal erotica. Just to clarify, lots of the books I read have little sex (or no) sex in them) from a small country, I am delighted to be able to buy ebooks. We don’t have the range, number and competitive pricing available to customers in larger countries and the postage rates are awful (doubling the cost of the book) with none of the “Free Shipping” enjoyed by others. I don’t buy ebooks with DRM, I don’t have any problems with the international nature of the financial exchange (twice I have read messages where someone from Australia said it was a problem … not in NZ and I am aware of at least three authors of ebooks in Australia, readers all, so I assume it is not a problem for them, either).
    MMPB cost far too much here these days (and hardcovers are ridiculously expensive) for me to buy anything other than must-have-this-in-print series – and I generally have them in eformat too, as these are often available earlier. I read at my computer and on my newly purchased netbook (which does extra duty as a “takeaway on holiday” computer and extra backup for the main pc). It is light enough to hold like a book, although I prefer to have it on my “bean bag tray” on my lap and I can change the brightness/font/colour/magnification to suit.

    Quality of the stories can vary, but I’ve made far more mistakes with print purchases than with ebook ones – with the bonus of never yet having that “Oh No! I already have this!” after a shopping trip. As much as I love browsing in a bookstore, the ones here don’t offer the breadth of choice to make it worth the price of petrol (or my time). I buy as many books as I ever did, it is just that most of them are in eformat (and the print ones tend to be from the same authors/publishers). I tend to buy from the publishers – Samhain, LooseId, Torquere Press, Dreamspinner Press, Amber Allure, MLR Press – and they aren’t the NYT Bestsellers or Oprah picks.
    If someone is going to try an ebook for the first time, I would suggest that they wait until someone who they trust (book-wise) suggests a title, rather than trying the nearest free offer (at least that way, you can find out why they suggested the story, if you didin’t enjoy it!).

  102. JT Banks
    Jun 21, 2009 @ 02:17:03

    Like many of you that have answered here, I buy ebooks because they offer
    greater variety than I find in print. I have an ebook coming out soon from Sugar and Spice and, a few days ago, I put a mystery I wrote up on kindle as an experiment (BARELY MAID $1.59). I offered my romance series to NY first, but in spite of the writing being praised, the characters were outside of mainstream. Ebook publishers can afford to take chances and we as readers are better off for it!

    I believe ebooks are the wave of the future, but they will coexist with print for a few more years. I hope the writers and readers can do the same.

  103. Deidre Jackson
    Jun 21, 2009 @ 04:22:03

    Since 2005, 95% of all of the books I’ve read have been ebooks. Favorite publishers: Loose-Id, Changeling, and Ellora’s Cave. The reason? They offer books that feature multicultural relationships and heroines mainstream publishers are afraid to offer.

  104. Diana Castilleja
    Jun 21, 2009 @ 11:34:21

    I want to say, I bought my first ebook in 2006. I even recall the book. A Surge from Phaze. I’ve since bought several hundred more, with over a hundred in my current digital library.

    I avoid DRM’d books like the plague so if it’s secure, and it’s a real want, I just buy the mmp. (I have an eBookwise where none of the secured formats work).

    I buy from publishers, but because of the constant library, I am more likely to buy from Fictionwise or All Romance.

    I saw the question at the top of range. I can go months without buying one, but I can buy 10 in a month if I have the money for them. I’m not a consistent buyer so I’m not sure how accurate a range would be either.

    I’ll try to catch the weekly posts. I’m all for proving epublishing as a valid format. It’s long over due.

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