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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Battle of the Book Formats

Oh how the battle thickens.

It’s no longer a question between paperbacks or hardbacks. It’s evolved past physical book vs e-book. Oh no, my friends. It’s become so much more complicated.
You can’t just choose ‘e-book’ anymore. Now you must choose which format of technology to read these precious stories.
Kindle, Nook, Kobo Mobile (iPhone or Android), laptop, tablet.
.pdf, .mobi, .epub, and probably 10 more I can’t think of right now.
The choices expand every month. 
Forty years ago, you still had options of which material you wanted your book printed on, but imagine…what if not just paper, but perhaps cotton, leather, wood, chocolate (yes please!), or stone (try balancing that on your head!).

And the battle continues, with additional, equal amounts of confusion and choices.
Which do you prefer? Physical books or e-books?
If you prefer physical, the main choices are hardback and paperback.
If you prefer e-books, which format do you use most?
And an even more dangerous battle to wage: what price are you willing to pay?
I’ve realized that most e-books $2.99 and under are significantly shorter than full-length novels from just 5 years ago. My normal expectation is anything less than $3 is a novella or dime-length novel (pretty sure I just aged myself with that term). Perhaps my expectation is inaccurate, but that’s the impression I have. Or perhaps its because everyone’s attention spans are significantly shorter than a few years ago…
What was I saying?
Wait, one battle at a time.
Personally, I’m still 70% physical books. At first my reluctance to move to ebook was because I loved the feel of the paper in my hands, turning the pages between my fingers, and more importantly the smell. There are not so many things in the world better than that new book smell. But now my excuse is far more superficial. It’s more along the lines of maintaining a full battery in my electronic devices long enough to read what I want, and the data usage charges my wonderful wireless carrier imposes on me every time I download a book.
The remaining 30% for ebooks (if I actually have a charge on my device and I’m not over on my data usage), I go back and forth between iPad and my iPhone. I have evolved (slightly), as is the publishing industry.
Just in time for me to purchase my first pair of reading glasses, which I’m sure is just around the corner for me.

By Susan Sheehey
Follow Susan on Twitter or Facebook and her website


  1. Like you, I was reluctant to get an e-reader. Now I love, love, love my Kindle HD and save so much money with it (and no surcharge to download). I still buy paper book (dead tree books) of those few I plan to keep an reread from year to rear. Otherwise, it's electronic for me.

  2. Ebooks are a boon to those who aren't able to read print books. It's hard to find a print book with adjustable font. LOL. I love my Kindle Fire and use it for reading back my manuscripts as well as reading for pleasure. Obviously, since I can't read them, I don't buy print books anymore... but neither do either of my daughters or granddaughter. They simply prefer to read on their Kindles.

    As for length, I have a $2.99 book that's over 100,000 words. All of my $2.99 books are 75,000 words or more. Last I knew, NY wouldn't take anything over 80,000 words, so yes, you get a full length book for $2.99 if you choose well. My novellas are 99¢.


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