Using Ebooks To Their Full Advantage

February 4th, 2012

Most of us have heard that eBooks are now mainstream, yet are writers using them to their full advantage? According to James Moushon in his guest post “Real eBooks: Are We Still in the Stone Age?” on The Book Designer, probably not.

Here’s what James says about what a real eBook should be:

My contention is that REAL ebooks should be a different product than their paper counterparts. They should be formatted differently; sections arranged differently and in some cases they should have different covers. In short, to be a REAL ebook, they should not be just a copy of the traditional book version.

He goes on to give tips on exactly how to rearrange an eBook so it’s a “real” eBook, which includes moving large table of contents and author references to the end and including links to other books, especially the author’s other books.

While I agree with James, I admit that it’s difficult for me to actually do that. Writers are avid readers. Until recently we all grew up reading traditionally published paper and hardbacks. To layout a book in any other way seems like we’re trying to walk on our hands and eat with our feet.

However, James has a point. If you want a potential reader to decide to buy your book based on what he or she has read, you have to get them enough material from the book to read to make an informed decision. When online stores offer only a set percent of the front matter for a reader to view as a sample, it makes sense to make the most of it with the actual story and not a lot of added stuff they would probably skip anyway.

With the rise of eBook purchases, we need to do everything we can to make the experience a pleasant one for the reader so they become not just a one book buyer, but a devoted fan.

What other differences have you noticed between paper/hardback books and eBooks? What changes would you make?