Given that I only sell eBooks, it may be strange to think that I spend a lot of time dwelling on the nature of a printed book.
My reasons for going e-only were purely efficiency and economy related. I don’t have the time to sit and go over layouts, and my ebooks don’t make enough money (yet) to justify print copies. Certainly I could use Kindle to sell print copies, and certainly I love having a printed tech book in my lap while I tap out code, but the logistics of self-publishing physical books was monumental for me. No, I’m not being sarcastic. I love printed books and I usually have a few on my desk at any given moment in time to flip through.
My father’s small house in Japan is filled to the brim with books. Shelves double stacked, double deep, and there are always books being read. Currently I carry my books with me, storing just over a gig of them on my iPad. Yes, 1.1 gigs usually. Right now it’s 769 megs, and then 7.4 gigs of comic books which are larger. My iPad has one movie on it right now, and it’s the Veronica Mars movie. When I moved to California, many books we shed and donated to libraries and prisons or given away to friends.
If you look at my bookcase, it has only the middle section with books, and only the favorite ones I love reading again and again. Upstairs in my office are a few tech books. This isn’t because I don’t love reading, it’s because of where I read. The first time I visited Japan, I brought five books with me and read them all before the trip was over. This time I had all my books and could read any number of the new ones I’d picked up. I could download one my father recommended then and there, and I could enjoy them everywhere, even on the plane.
There isn’t an answer, for me, which is better. I find I retain as much reading on my iPad as I do on a physical book or on a computer. That said, most of my education comes from reading on my computer these days, so it’s a natural evolution for me.
That’s why I don’t feel bad that I only sell my books in electronic format. I do make time to check that they’d print alright, just in case.