We've been asked from time to time (probably one out of every 60 or so people that we meet), whether our books are available as e-books. Our response is, "Not yet, but we're looking into it."
The world of book publishing is changing daily, especially that of e-book publishing - as evidenced by today's big announcement that (Chapters) Indigo Books & Music Inc. has sold its Kobo e-reader business to Rakuten Inc, one of the world's largest e-commerce companies, for $315 million.
For the past year, we've been considering taking a few of our book titles and creating digital files for e-readers. We were waiting for the industry standards to settle down a bit. This spring, we thought that epub was chosen as the standard format to use, then we found out it isn't necessarily so. The costs of translating a manuscript into one that is available via an electronic reader device is not as costly as it once was, but it takes time and skill and money that could be used for other things - like producing more physical books. The problems relate more to informing readers of your e-book, marketing and selling online, making sure the information is accurately translated to the new format, and keeping up with the latest technology. Whew! It sounds exhausting and a little overwhelming for a small publishing house like ours - but we aren't dismissing it altogether.
At a recent meeting of the Saskatchewan Publishers Group, we were given advice by a fellow publisher who told us not to worry about the swarm of new e-technology - which can feel like an army of soldiers on horseback coming at us. He suggested, "Just pick a horse and get on it."
So we're carefully wandering around the horse barns now, looking for the most sturdy, reliable animal. Once we've found the right one, we'll carefully jump onto its back and see where it leads us.