Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Poll: Paper or Bits?

I've been learning a lot about publishing my own books, and am seriously considering offering print editions of my miniguides (with links to download the example files). Would you, dear reader, prefer to buy my books in print or continue to read them in EPUB and PDF editions? If you wouldn't mind, answer the poll here in the right-hand column of my blog. I'd sure appreciate it.

The results are in! Out of the 130 people who voted, 82 said they preferred the ebook format over print. Only 18 preferred print, and 21 said they'd buy both. 9 said they had no preference.

At first glance, that might look like an overwhelming victory for electronic formats, except that the poll must be pretty skewed by the fact that I asked for responses from Twitter and my blog, where people are most likely to be comfortable reading on screen. The truth is I, like the rest of the world, sell many more books in paper than I do electronically.

I thought the fact that 1/3 of the responses preferred print, both formats, or had no preference, was even more telling, given the folks who I asked.

At any rate, I keep printing out bits of my miniguides so I can consult them faster. So, it looks like once again, I'm going to make something for the rest of you just because I want it for myself :) Printed editions of my miniguides are on the way. Details to follow!


  1. I find that being able to open your ePUBs and see your actual code is immensely helpful. Thank you for making your ePUBs DRM free. You might need to include all the ePUB code in the print version, or make a premium edition that includes it. ;-)

  2. I would still provide the example EPUB files, you'd just have to download them separately. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. I've edited the post to make that more clear. You don't have to choose between print and examples. Thanks!

  4. This arrow is nice, but it must be the product of a print-centric mind (a fixed-layout mind)

  5. @Gerrit LOL! Hey, it'll work until I post something new, and by then I can just add the results in place of the arrow :)

  6. My view is that ePUB is preferable to print as long as I have a good device to read on, and as long as that device is not the same one I'd be using to work on my own ePUB documents (I work much better if I can read the instructions in a book or on a separate device rather than switching windows on my computer). I'd go for print if, for example, my only e-reader was an iPhone or iPod Touch, or if I read ePUB docs on my Mac. I love and continue to buy print books, but I never buy printed manuals for software or anything technologically related anymore because they go out of date so quickly. With an e-book you can get updates without wasting paper or wondering what to do with your outdated manuals.

  7. Hello Liz,
    I don't have a preference, I am too new to computering, and only now am discovering the world of ePUB eBooks and the like.

    I think Reference Manuals would be good in such formats, as it is true, so quickly is today's ideas updated.

    But... Books... there is always so much beauty to them...
    the feel, the print, to simply hold and read... with the only power one needs to enjoy them is sufficient Natural Light from the Sun, or a bright Full Moon night can work on large-print, even by candle-light if necessary, and of course, one's eyes to see it all with.

    Or, the amazing Books of Braille, when just with the touch of one's fingers across the raisings on a page gives the delight of words.

    Walking into a Library... large or small... that sensing of all the words, all the people, all the places and stories... a world of wonder are Libraries.

    Those things ePUBS and the like cannot replace. Books are the gift from Nature and Technology combined. But I also feel with the present era, what both forms offer is worthwhile and valid.

    Good luck and good fortune with either or both Paths Liz... either or both, you write with able to be understand text, so the pleasure and the benefit will still exist.

    Thanks from Magda in Australia

  8. If you make a beautiful artistic photographic/typographic book it is always worth something for the future. I agree that books about technology are not so clear a case for print version. It would be more fun to create an interface that would let others design your book as they like and print it on Lulu or Blurb :-). You could sell a special "signature" image that they can include as the way to handle your book signing (and there are companies now marketing e-signatures for authors).
    BTW, I buy 3 "copies" of your books so that I can share them with my colleagues without guilt, thanks for keeping your prices low.
    -- Dorothy


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