E-books made their debut on the publishing scene when the advent of the digital information age roared into full throttle, and they have revolutionized book publishing by making it less expensive and more convenient. Authors and writers can publish long reports, pamphlets, small books, or a whole series of titles that are the size of an encyclopedia, and they can do it on a small budget and get results almost immediately. Without the lag time associated with offline printing – which can add months to the production time of a book – writers get results fast and readers get more immediate access to publications.
That makes it easier to, for example, get ideas into print and begin to circulate them – in the form of e-books – to a virtually worldwide audience. By taking advantage of online tools to boost exposure a writer or e-book publisher can put books into the hands of countless readers for an investment that is less than the price of a typical hardback novel. You simply create your e-book, submit it to the site, and suddenly it is advertised and distributed for you to a practically unlimited viewing audience and readership. Or you can combine e-book promotion with offline promotions, by tying your Internet marketing strategy into such things as book signing events and tours, seminars, workshops, and media appearances.
There are big advantages for readers, as well, because now a consumer anywhere on the planet can go online and gain access to any e-book they want to read. Even if you are traveling in a remote part of the world without facilities like bookstores, as long as you can get access to the Internet you can find, download, and enjoy an e-book. And if you happen to be in one of the world’s more high-tech urban centers, like Tokyo, you may find that some of the biggest best sellers are e-books that are read through portable electronic devices such as mobile phones and PDAs. Within the past few years many of Japan’s top selling novels were sold exclusively as e-books, not old-fashioned printed manuscripts, and the trend appears to just be gaining traction.
Amazon books, for instance, the largest seller of books on earth, spent years and millions of dollars of research and development to come up with its trademarked Kindle book technology. The company started selling the device – which looks much like a thick writing tablet but displays pages exactly like those in a real book – last year and quickly sold out of them. After ramping up production the bookseller has managed to keep pace with Kindle sales, but the new e-book format devices continue to fly off the shelves. Each time someone buys one of these remarkable new inventions they are able to carry in their hand a virtual library of titles, and having a way to put e-books into the hands of readers in this way has finally put the e-book on the map in terms of its status in the world of publishing. Now many of the most famous authors in America are publishing their new novels not as conventional books but instead as easy-to-produce e-books. Experts predict that over the next few years the e-book phenomenon will grow at an unprecedented pace, as more and more writers catch on to the ease and affordability of this new technology and readers turn to electronic books as a modern alternative to old-fashioned books on paper.