Recently I was able to publish my first two eBooks via WROX BLOX, httpModules and httpHandlers. Each of these books gave me an opportunity to share some valuable information, experience and demonstrations on each of these niche topics that might otherwise go hidden in the more advanced section of a bigger book. I also chose to write them in the eBook format because I like the model they offer.
But today I want to share what I would like to call the virtues of Reading eBooks.
- Immediate Distribution ' You buy it and you can download it right then and there. You do not even have to get in the car and go to the local bookstore or wait for the UPS truck to show up next week. You got it now. Even if it is 2 AM, you have the resource in your hands to start reading and learning.
- Optional Printing ' Print it if you want, it is your choice and I always like having my freedom to do what I want. Trees are a renewable resource by the way.
- Very Portable ' eBooks are files, keep them on your laptop, network share, Mesh, Thumb Drive, hand held or binder. You can port it around very easy. A few years ago I had to sit in a doctor's office for a few hours and needed to learn something. I put an eBook on my ViewSonic PocketPC and solved two issues at once, it was great. I also like the idea of printing out the 20-40 pages and reading on my deck in the Fall and Spring, ahhhhh.
- Punch Holes and Add to a Reference Binder 'I have done this on several occasions, once I print out an eBook I ran it through the 3 hole punch and added it to a 3-Ring binder as a reference. O'Reilly offers Rough Cuts, where you can print out section of upcoming books as they are submitted to the publisher, then ultimately getting the finished product. This way you have a living book. I think this is a pretty good idea.
- Copy and Paste Code 'While this should never be the way you actually program, it is super nice to be able to just select the code and paste it into an application to see how it performs..
- They are Affordable ' I have a lot of books and I spend a decent chunk of change on books too. The big problem is I cannot read them all the way through and many times there is just one or two chapters I really want or over use. eBooks give me a cheap way to buy just those important chapters.
- Text to Speech ' OK, if you are really lazy'But seriously what if you just let it run in the background reading the content to you? It might be a little annoying, but then again I believe in repetition for learning. I mean I listen to about 10-12 hours of podcasts each week, why not a book? I do like normal books in audio format.
Several publishers are looking into or are offering eBook options. I wrote two WROX BLOX this Spring for example. WROX also has a chapter on demand service for regular books. O'Reilly has Rough Cuts, which is a slightly different offering. My consulting group, Solid Quality Mentors, has SolidQ Press. My friend Andy Leonard has sort of lead this effort and recently pushed a new title online covering Visual Studio Team System Database Edition.
I have not even covered services like Safari and Books24x7 (I recently got a subscription to the entire Microsoft Press library through Boos24x7 and it is great). These are services where you can subscribe and get online access to libraries of books anytime you want.
This by no means if an exhaustive list of what publishers are up to, but I sort of got to thinking about the topic today exchanging some e-mails with Pete Kellner after he asked me about the process of writing and potential sales of an eBook. So I want to thank him for inspiring this quick run-through.
So I hope you give an eBook a chance to see what you think. I would not say this is an exhaustive list of eBook virtues either, so if you have any more thoughts, please leave a comment.