to "e" or not to "e" - that is the question

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A reader in Florida posted a thoughtful comment regarding the electronic version of my book. Here is what he wrote…

“Please, please consider an iPad or Kindle version. Presently the only electronic version available is in Adobe Digital Editions format which in not compatible with any of the portable reading devices. Bought the Adobe version before my last vineyard trip and found that I had to lug my laptop in addition to my iPad. Total waste, I could have just brought the hard copy of the book and saved $28 to boot. That said, great book, I really appreciate your work.

”

I confess I had not done the research on the e-version of my book. It was introduced quite awhile after the print edition was released, and I do not yet own an e-reader, and I was pretty wrapped up in writing the new edition. So things slid. As I pondered what to do I received a follow-up e-mail from the same reader.

“My wife and I just returned from our first trip to Washington. I had purchased your book a year or so ago so we would have some idea of what to expect when we got there. We are both ‘readers’ and historically take a dozen books any time we travel. These new e-reader devices have been a godsend and greatly reduce the weight of our luggage. So as we were preparing for this trip I started looking around for an e-version of Washington Wines & Wineries. Looked everywhere, came up empty no matter where I looked. Finally clicked the link for the book on your home page and ended up at the University of California Press and there in the fine print was a link to ‘E-Book Version’. Eureka! Bought it immediately without thinking about what Adobe Digital Editions was. Figured there would be an app somewhere for my iPad. Well, no there isn’t, you need a computer to read Adobe Digital Editions. So when it came time to pack for the trip it became a choice of a 2 pound book or a 3 pound laptop. Just what I had hoped to avoid. I truly appreciate your willingness to talk with your publisher about a version for iPad, Kindle, Nook, or whatever e-reader devices are out there. Not only will it make my suitcase lighter on our next trip but it also might increase your sales.”

In our further correspondence, I learned that the existing Adobe version has some flaws, including a blank (all black) page that is supposed to show maps that appear between pages 46 and 47 in the book. So my question for anyone with further expertise on these matters is this: what would be the optimal e-format for this new edition? I will collect all comments and forward them to the publisher for consideration.

Many thanks!

3 comments:

Colby V said...

The iPad handles the epub format natively. Kindle uses the .mobi format. If you had to pick one, a quick google search implies that there are a number of epub converters to mobi for the Kindle. It doesn't sound like you're creating different content for the devices, so if it's just a matter of output, publish in both in epub and mobi.

John Sosnowy said...

My wife believes that Kindle is the greatest thing since sliced bread. She is a prolific reader, and now won't read anything that's not available on Kindle.

Ajacks said...

Clever title Paul. I do hope you can work out an e-version with your publisher and Amazon that will be of benefit to all.
Look forward to purchasing both versions. I still like having reference books as well as books that I reread in my library.

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