Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Paper or Plastic?

When purchasing a book, magazine or newspaper, is it that much easier to simply view it on your phone, tablet, laptop or computer? Do you miss the feel of the paper in your hands? I do...and I can see why the market is rapidly changing. The advent of the tablet/reading device is altering the reading/writing game forever.

Artwork provided by Justine Babcock
 The reason that I ask is that while I personally do enjoy the feel of a real book in my hands, I cannot deny the ease at which books can simply be downloaded to your device for your perusal. Simply put: the market has changed forever. This fact leads me to the decision and I see no alternative but to jump on the ‘eBook only’ bandwagon. Several authors that I have spoken to recently are doing this, too. And with Amazon signing authors directly, they are cutting out the publishing house and agents and bringing the content straight to the reader. While this is strange and hard to understand at first, it is something that is appealing to me as a starving self-published author. If printing cost is all-but eliminated and readers, gamers and other enthusiasts of the written word can simply download their content to their portable device, how can I choose otherwise? Kindle, Nook, iPad and smart phones have simply changed the game...a lot!

I am actively writing and working on several new books, including a prequel/anthology to Covenant of the Faceless Knights that will include the Pre-Prologue of the novel as well as short stories that include all of the main protagonists (Saeunn, Elec, Garius, Rose and Orngoth).

I am also working on the sequel to CotFK, as well as a Role-Playing Game (RPG) supplement based on the Realm of Ashenclaw. (I will let you speculate as to which gaming system.) While I would love to pursue putting these things in print, the cost to profit ratio is simply not appealing to me. I am actively researching writing and self-publishing options and want to know what experiences any other writers/readers/authors/artists may want to share!

In closing, how do you want your products delivered to you? Are you willing to pay more for an actual book or are you content with the (probably) lower price/speed of delivery involved with an eBook?

As always, I look forward to reading your comments!

See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

Please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience, see direct links to purchase Covenant of the Faceless Knights and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

Photos from Stock.xchng...and me!

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios, LLC 2011 unless otherwise noted. Sketches copyright Justine Babcock.


  1. Interestingly, recently I have run in to a couple Kindle books priced higher than their print counterparts. I think there will remain a market for both. Plus, production costs will never really go away since a quality ebook still needs to be edited and designed. Thanks for the topic, Gary!

  2. First off, thanks for sharing an opinion, Cheryl!

    I agree that the market for both print and eBook will remain. I only believe that it is more profitable to go the eBook route. I believe that someone is more likely to download my book vs ordering a hard copy that is generally more expensive.

    That is, of course, unless you have a major publishing house behind you that will market your product to the masses. That is really what sets those authors apart from those that are self-published. I believe that there are some real talents out there in the self-published market waiting to be plucked!

    I can agree with you that production costs will remain, but the print on demand cost of a book is a huge cost vs. the digital download.

  3. I am an absolute Kindle convert and read it all the time. It really comes into its own when going on holiday and not having to take an extra suitcase full of all the books that you plan to read. And with the 3G version I never run out of books on holiday either.

    But I do expect an electronic version to be the cheapest option, I won't buy it if it was more expensive that a paperback as I'd think I was getting ripped off.

    I have to say though that this is just for fiction. I'd prefer RPG books as actual book. In fact I pretty much prefer all of my non-fiction in a real form. Maybe that's because of lot of non-fiction books I like have pretty colour pictures in. :)

  4. Craig, thanks for the comments! As I said, I do have a kindle and think that the pricing for books there should be cheaper, though some people inform me that this is not the case. They are out there, so I assume that someone is buying them!

    I am not sure what we are going to do for the RPG supplement. We are running into cost issues in trying to get a supplement available. My first thought is to make it available as a PDF or digital copy and if people start clamoring for the print edition, we can go from there. I don't really know what the right answer is here.

  5. I do have friends who use electronic versions of supplements and even entire rulebooks... that they download and then just print out. I'm just too tight to use my own ink and paper :)

  6. I think I will always have an addiction to the texture of paper and the smell of ink and binding glue, but that said, I love the portability and sheer storage capacity of ereaders. At this point I will purchase a paper version of books that I love enough to make part of my book collection, but for books that I am just consuming, I'll be loading them on my Kindle. I hope there will always be room in our world for both formats!

  7. Thanks for sharing, blackalchemy!

    I kind of think I agree with your assessment and also believe that is what most are doing: downloading, reading and buying hardcovers for collections. That seems about right.

    I personally would love to produce books in print also, but unless you are a recognizable name in the industry or backed by an advertising juggernaut, most Indie authors are going eBook only! (Maybe I am wrong, we shall see...)

  8. With a huge backlog of paperbacks I still jumped at the chance to read ebooks offered free to review. Now I can read on my phone even if dark outside. I read while walking. So I will epub too.

  9. Thanks for the comment, Sher! You seem to enjoy reading both, but are planning on publishing only eBooks, so I think that is probably wise. I am still trying to figure it out myself! Thanks for sharing!

  10. You can use very low cost print-on-demand services like CreateSpace to make your books available in print form too. (The only real cost is ordering the proof copies)
    I published on Kindle KDP to start with but had a few friends that prefered paper books, so went the POD route.
    If you can put together an ebook for KDP, then creating a PDF for CreateSpace is not a lot more effort, and the feeling of getting a physical copy of the book in your hands is worth that effort.

  11. James, thanks for stopping by!

    I have recently found out about CreateSpace and will certainly look into that. I published my first series through Authorhouse and am having issue with them making my book available on the Nook and in the iBookstore. Needless to say, I am not happy with that, but they did produce a nice softcover and hardcover product. The only thing is that I would like more flexibility in my print cost/pricing. And I agree that there are very few things that compare to holding your own book in your hands!

    Thanks again for the comment and I look forward to reading more posts in the future.

  12. I'm with Craig in being a total Kindle convert, and in expecting ebooks to be cheaper than print ones. I'm based in France where ebooks are only gaining ground slowly. Books tend to be expensive here and publishers are pricing the ebook version at only a very little less. Which is missing the point in my opinion. Epublishing is about getting the product to the consumer quickly and cheaply. I've had books published traditionally, which is thrilling, but I'm just as excited when I self-publish an ebook and see the finished result.

  13. Thanks for the comments, Steph! I also have the kindle, though in the US of A, the eBook craze is happening now...we are in the thick of what I believe to be 'game-changing' events. As always, when technology makes an impact on your medium or genre, the changes are usually dynamic.

    Pricing is a weird subject and I tend to think that they should be cheaper, but I do see a great deal of eBooks that are priced similarly to the paperbacks. Trend? Only time will tell.

    Thanks again for stopping and sharing!

  14. Hi Gary - great subject for me as an indie newbie looking for the best route. I certainly understand your preference for the simplicity of an all ebook route. From what I've read, you seem to be right on the money with e-books as a game-changer. But if you don't do any print, aren't you going to miss out on all the potential hard-copy readers out there? I know that ebooks sales are skyrocketing and eclipsing paper copies, but there are still a whole lot of people not in the ebook reader space yet and probably won't be for several years. Isn't that potential market worth the hassle and cost of using CreateSpace or something similar? Note - I am not judging your inclination to go all ebook, I am just trying to learn from you veterans! Thanks for the post!

  15. Hi, Greever! First off, thanks for stopping over AND for joining the site--great to have you on board! Believe it or not, I might do CreateSpace for my next novel, but for the short stories, I do not think it is worth offering. I haven't had anyone ask me for one either yet, but if I do, I might address the issue. I am very much learning the craft as well and do not pretend to have all the answers and I enjoy the interaction from the community on all of these topics. It really makes me think things through thoroughly. If you had short stories, would you make them all available in hard copy? Just curious. Have a great weekend coming and thanks again for the comment. I look forward to more!

  16. Well I like paperback because I can actually hold the book in my hands. I also like ebook devices as they allow someone to carry an whole library with them to read.

  17. I love paperbacks, too, Daniel! There is nothing like telling people what page you are on instead of what % you are Nothing will beat the feel of a book in my hands when it comes to reading. As much as I like my kindle, it's still not the same.

  18. I've completely gone over to ebooks. I have to say I don't miss paper books at all.

  19. I all honesty I love the ebooks only because more of the newest writers are there, as an example Issac Marion who wrote Warm Bodies as a short story and was discovered by a print publisher. This medium gives people a place to get discovered. I never would have heard of many of the writers I love if it was not for having E book.

  20. I'm happy with both mediums, because that's all they really are to me: a medium for containing stories. As a writer, I refuse to get sentimental about the container the story is in, so long as the device works. They each have their pros and cons, and I'm satisfied to occasionally buy or make print copies of books for the reasons print is still valid, and otherwise go with eBooks, with all of their attendant benefits.

    As for the pricing disparity, the traditional publishing industry would have us believe it has no choice but to price ebooks as high as they do, but I think time will prove them wrong.

  21. You cannot beat the feel and texture of a good book!