Monday, May 2, 2011

First Monday With Robyn: The Ebook Journey Lives

By Robyn Gioia
I’m sure when the television, telephone, and computer first debuted, there was the usual skepticism and scoffing. Unless you were a visionary, you couldn’t see into the future where these things would eventually morph into world changing milestones. I heard someone say yesterday that eBook readers were gadgets and the fascination would die off. I’m still stunned. This was someone in the book industry!
When I started this conversation on eBooks several months ago, it wasn’t my intent to champion eBooks, but to merely discuss current events in publishing. Since I am a teacher, an author, and a book reviewer for School Library Journal, I think it’s just wise to keep up on what drives the industry. But when I heard a professional in the book business dismiss the advent of eBooks, I had to gasp. This person’s love for the paper book has blinded them to the metamorphosis taking place.
EBooks are here to stay. Not only will they hang around, I predict they will become the wave of the future. The educational world from elementary school to college is already looking at eBooks as a way to save on the cost of expense curriculum. Think about it. EBook curriculum is cheaper, our forests will be spared, updates to material can happen instantaneously, and eBooks can be integrated to the internet. Plus, eTextbooks can be delivered directly to the eReader and deleted just like library eBooks. So basically, students rent their eTextbooks. When time is up, they disappear off the eReader.  
Of course, the convenience for the student is unmatched. Imagine a small lightweight eReader that holds all of your books and more. No more heavy books to break your back. No more 60 pound backpacks to lug back and forth. Will that also signal the demise of the backpack?
One of the biggest advantages to eBooks over paper books is the convenience. They are as versatile as email. I wonder how many people scoffed at email over hand written letters way back then. Want to read a Fodor’s Travel Guide on Italy? Download it on the spot. Want the next book in a series? Schedule it to be downloaded the second it’s available. Want to read those huge tomes like Gone with the Wind but don’t have the time? Download it as an eBook. That’s what I did. It’s not so formidable in size, and you can read it anywhere you take your eReader. I’ve read an eBook at the doctor’s office, in the car, on a plane, at school, in line at the grocery store, the beach, and the mall.  
And because I have a Kindle, I am able to download loaned books from fellow Kindle users on the Amazon booklending website. The website sends out occasional notices on FB and when one of the books really piqued my interest, I decided to find out what borrowing a loaner was all about. This is what I learned. It’s very easy to do. I registered with the website which gave me access to the library. I chose my book. It put me in a queue. I learned books are loaned out one at a time, just like a paper book. The book I choose was not instantly available, so I had to wait for an email from Amazon telling me when it was ready. Four days later, I received an email with a link. The link took me to Amazon where the book was available with a special loaner link. I had the book within moments.
As an author, I have decided to put my middle school, fantasy, mystery book out as an eBook. When I saw agents placing their clients with eBook publishers, I knew the time had come. I contacted two of those eBook publishers that the agents were using and submitted my book directly to them. Both publishers were interested. That told me the story was ready.
I am posting the first chapter while I finish polishing. Please take look. I am venturing into a new arena and would love to have company along the way. Until next time, happy reading. 
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Click here to read the first chapter of Robyn's book, The Ghost, The Rat, And Me.  Then feel free to leave a comment.  Read Robyn's column here every first Monday.  Robyn's website is:

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