Digital Communication . . .
Taking Advantage of the Ebook Format

by Jarold Imes
January 2009


As I searched through Amazon.com for my latest e-book, I noticed a disturbing trend… unless you are published by a major New York based publisher; your book is not published in this format. Now in all fairness to the publishers, we have been having a variety of issues with Amazon.com lately (which may be a topic for a future article) but our under-representation in the overall e-book market is troubling. I could probably name only one or two other black owned and operated publishers other than mine that have e-books available and they are not your most popular companies.
 
For one, more and more black people of all ages are reading their news on the internet. I, along with several college students across the nation take classes online, which require us to read material on the net. Chances are, you are reading this article and several articles from TheUrbanBookSource.com and other literary publications and participate in several literary forums like Coast2CoastReaders.com and ARCBookClub's Yahoo Group.
 
I purchase Adobe Reader and Microsoft Reader versions of my books and the best part about it is that you don't have to buy special software to read the book. For most of my purchases, I go straight to the publisher's website, pay for the book and then read on the computer when I have nothing better to do. It also helps because most e-books are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than their print counterparts. Sometimes, I just don't have $15 to buy a book brand new from the store and I don't want to wait two to three weeks for a used book to arrive from Half.com or any other used bookstore dealer.
 
I am not saying to stop supporting the books or the black owned bookstores, I actually see a way of saving some of the existing black owned bookstores if they would become media hubs that embraced e-books and used them as marketing tools to sell the print copies. I am suggesting that we as authors and publishers embrace this technology so that we can attract a larger audience for our book. As more and more mainstream readers begin to embrace our work of all genres, they will be looking for multiple formats in which to purchase them in. Audio books and e-books remain popular formats and can add revenue for your company if you do the research and utilize the proper software to produce high quality products. For the most part, you don't have worry about your books being bootlegged because the files can be set up to disable printing and file sharing.

I realize that using e-books will take some getting used to and that many manufactures are working to find ways to make e-books readable on portable devices like Amazon's Kindle and Apple’s iPod. Plus, some of use who are bored on the job can read an e-book while we are working at the desk instead of having to have a book every time the boss walks by. What I'm saying is that as independent publishers, we need to be ahead of the curve and anticipate that the day is coming soon, very soon, when e-books will be a preferred method for a significant portion of the literary market and that our readers will want these books in digital form just as they want their music and we don't need to be the last to have products available.
 
Who knows, taking advantage of e-books may make many of us and our authors more money in the long run.


Jarold Imes is a contributing writer for The Urban Book Source and author of Hold on Be Strong; he is the creator of online soap opera: Hold on Be Strong (www.holdonbestrong.com), send emails to:jaroldimes@yahoo.com


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Jarold Imes :
Posted 3214 days ago
Thanks Joy. I believe we got time, but not a whole lot of time left. Sometimes, it's about taking that bold step forward...
Joy :
Posted 3222 days ago
Nice piece, interesting article. I think black street lit publishers don't see the potential in electronic publishing yet.
 




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