Author Cheri Lasota—On the Magic of Ebooks
Ebooks: either you love ’em, you hate ’em… or you publicly adore paperbacks and secretly gobble up ebooks when no one’s looking. As the years pass, I notice more and more die-hard paperback fans falling in love with ebooks. This is to be expected as ebook prices drop, the world is becoming more budget-conscious, and e-readers become more feasible and convenient when traveling, etc.
I publicly adore ebooks and have for many years. I see a potential with ebooks that paper books just cannot touch.
Immerse yourself in the experience
Ebooks have the potential to engage readers more. Enhanced (interactive) ebooks are just beginning to make a splash. They work incredibly well for nonfiction and once easier, more advanced platforms become available, the ease with which we can design enhanced ebooks will make them more mainstream. Truly, e-reader technology is still “growing up.” To design a quality ebook, it still takes authors and publishers quite a bit of skill with coding and graphics.
Some examples of interactive “enhanced” content
- Audio files of the author reading or speaking
- Hyperlinked glossaries or links to websites
- Video that offers background or new knowledge in a more engaging way
What is effortless on the web with plugins or widgets takes much more time and effort with an e-reader. But new platforms are hitting the market, which allow for drag-and-drop capability. This is a welcome evolution. Often when we see poorly designed ebooks, it’s because a budget was not in place to account for the learning curve inherent in the process. This is changing. And it’s changing fast.
Learn the technology
Often readers and writers will shy away from the e-reading experience. There are many reasons, but one is that they simply don’t wish to learn to use a new device or reinvent the wheel. They don’t have to learn anything to sit and read a paperback. This, I’ll grant them. But soon will come a day when e-reading will vastly eclipse paper-reading. It is inevitable and when you look at the statistics of how fast we’re moving in that direction, it can be staggering. I think the last statistic I read was that within five years, e-books will amount to fifty percent of the market.
We are all surrounded by tech-savvy friends, family, and colleagues. Have them show you what this e-reading thing is all about. Borrow their Kindles and Nooks and see how they work. Decide after you’ve used one what you think of e-readers…instead of before. You might just be pleasantly surprised.