“I like to read real books.”
“I only sell real books.”
As a person who is constantly working to promote authors’ and publishers’ digital content, these are a couple statements I hear frequently when I engage prospective customers. Sometimes I respond with a simple smile and shrug my shoulders. Sometimes I ask them, “what makes a book real?”
Regardless of how I respond, the conversation typically ends there. I’m not interested in debating the nature of reality, and I’m not going to waste energy selling someone a product who won’t be happy with it. There are too many other people out there who do want what I’m selling. That is who I’m going after, for myself, and for the authors and publishers I represent.
Whether or not ebooks are real is like asking whether or not a print book is real. Both obviously are, and both can obviously be profitable. In fact, ebooks can be insanely profitable. Just ask this girl about it. This doesn’t mean print is dead though. If people can make a living selling swords in a mall, then I am sure people will be able to make a living selling printed books for a long time.
Here is a link to a blog post that is a good starting point for a bigger conversation on this. The idea that print books are around to stay is a pretty exciting thing for me. Our biggest product is a printed item, after all.
When you break it down though, what ebook cards really are is a hybrid of print and digital. It’s a digital file locked inside a versatile, physical product. It’s a powerful sales tool that will bridge your print and digital readers in an interesting way. It is a testament to the realness of ebooks and I am willing to argue there are fewer more compelling ways to show someone the realness of an e-book than by physically handing one to them.