Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

Do Sportsmen Buy and Read eBooks?

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My AOL

The Lateral Line
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

January 30, 2012

Do Sportsmen Buy and Read eBooks?

By John Merwin

I’m looking for some opinions on this question: Do sportsmen buy and read ebooks? That is, titles dealing with hunting, fishing, or firearms that you would download and read electronically on your iPad, desktop computer, or even a smartphone.

The photo shows a fly-fishing ebook that I bought, downloaded, and read over the weekend on my iPad. Pat Dorsey, the author, is a well-known guide in Colorado. I wanted to see what his best fly patterns were and how to tie them. The tying-sequence photos in this book are large, bright, and easy to follow. I’d have no trouble setting up my iPad next to my tying vise and following the directions.

The only thing getting in the way here is tradition. Being an old guy, I rather revere regular books. I have hundreds of them, including many, many fishing titles. The whole ebook concept and its amazingly rapid growth is turning the book-publishing industry upside down. And as the author or editor of numerous traditional books, I find this very disconcerting.

(For a fascinating look at the current state of book publishing and the rise of eBooks, see this New York Times article, which appeared yesterday. If I were a conventional book publisher, I’d be terrified.)

So maybe I should get with the program, like it or not, when I do another book. Among fishing ebooks at present, most are offered as an alternative to an existing book in hard-copy form. The Dorsey book I used as an example is one such. That requires a conventional publisher. But if I were to do something as an ebook only, no publisher is necessary. No agent. No distributor. All of which means getting a very substantially better return for my effort because so many middlemen are eliminated.

But I’m very curious to know what readers here think. Do you buy and read ebooks? I know you’re already reading here electronically, but does that electronic inclination or convenience extend to ebooks, too?

 

Comments (21)

Top Rated
All Comments
from twa32 wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I am starting to read more e-books in some genres but I am a stickler for paper books, especially hardbound, on outdoor topics. There is something about the smell, the feel of the paper, the look of an old book that adds to my enjoyment of reading something like A Splendid Wayfaring, Green Hills of Africa, or Tough Trip Through Paradise. Call me old-fashined I guess but outdoor books are probably the most likely to be bound paper in my library.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

Yes I do purchase e-books. Some are about hunting and fishing. I tend to purchase them if I need them immediately or if the price, as compared to a traditional book, is equal or less. But I also find myself purchasing used hunting books for next to nothing. If I could buy used e-books I would go all digital.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MICHMAN wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

My wife got me a Kindle Fire for Christmas and Amazon has different list to choose from. #1 on the Top Rated Kindle Hunting list is a new release titled, TROPHY WHITE TALES: A CLASSIC COLLECTION OF CAMPFIRE STORIES ABOUT NORTH AMERICA'S #1 GAME ANIMAL - THE WHITETAIL DEER. The book is fantastic and the cool thing about a Kindle Fire is the pictures are in color whereas in the paperback they are black and white!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dleurquin wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I'll read eBooks when I get around to buying an iPad - which is becoming very commonplace. Thing is, I have a hard time paying the same price, or nearly the same price, a paperbound book. If I can feel the pages and store it on my book shelf, I'm willing to pay more for it than a bunch of words streamed to my iPad or nook.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

"So maybe I should get with the program, like it or not, when I do another book. Among fishing ebooks at present, most are offered as an alternative to an existing book in hard-copy form. The Dorsey book I used as an example is one such. That requires a conventional publisher. But if I were to do something as an ebook only, no publisher is necessary. No agent. No distributor. All of which means getting a very substantially better return for my effort because so many middlemen are eliminated."

^^^^^^^ This. Absolutely. Especially if you're an established name or author that has already published in the field. If I were an established midlist or niche author and I owned the rights to my backlist, what could a traditional publisher offer me that I couldn't do myself by e-publishing on Amazon?

However, I think for new or aspiring authors it's probably a bit harder deciding what to do. As a reader and collector, I am and always will be a die-hard bibliophile, but as an un-agented and unpublished author actively working on a several book proposals that traditional publishers either probably wouldn't consider taking on, or if they did, the terms (measly advance if any, eight or ten percent royalty on print and seventeen on e-books) are actually a disincentive to write the book, I'm torn. On one hand, I'd love to see my book in real, physical print, there's certainly a resounding validity, both physical and intellectual, to that, but on the other hand I'm beginning to think e-books, self-publishing and self-marketing are the future.

When you think about it, a publisher's strong points are its massive distribution mechanism and to a lesser extent professional editing and marketing. Take those strengths away (as the current e-book reality assuredly is) and if you're a newbie or a midlist author then what's the advantage of banging your head against the wall trying to get those publishers to notice you?

In the digital world (which at this point is largely Amazon) you have the exact same distribution power sitting at your home computer as the largest NY-based publishing house. There are a ton of freelance copy editors and graphic artists out there for edit, format and design work if you need it, and once the book is "published" to, say, Amazon, you get a seventy percent royalty on every copy sold. You set the price. You retain all rights. No fifteen percent of your measly 10 percent traditional royalty going to an agent and no publishing house taking the rest.

Granted, you don't have the publishing marketing machine behind you, but from what I've gathered picking the brains of a few midlist-level authors is that the vaunted publishing house marketing doesn't really do much for you unless you're already a bestseller anyway. So basically, if you're going to toil in obscurity and be largely responsible for your book's marketing efforts anyway (as I'm told many midlist authors are) then why not make a 70 percent cut doing that instead of a 10 percent cut (minus a 15 percent agent's fee)?

Of course, I guess pricing and target audience also play a part in deciding between trying for a traditional publisher versus e-publishing. As an author, do you make more money on a traditional hardcover priced at $30 than you do a self-published e-book priced at $3.99, $4.99? What format has the potential to sell more? Guess it depends on the contract with your publisher and how much marketing you're expected to do on your own dime (book tours, appearances, etc.). But if your book appeals to a relatively small niche market, anyway, I would think, all things being equal, the potential to make as much or more money from e-publishing is certainly there, especially if you're a hard worker, a savvy marketer or you're an established name in the field in which you're writing.

But who knows? Talk about profound cultural flux. All I know is, if a year ago you told me - a guy whose retirement dream is to own a dusty old used book shop in a nice mid-sized college town with good bird hunting and fishing close by - that I'd be considering buying an iPad or a Kindle, and that I'd seriously be considering the e-publishing route for my book ideas, I'd say you were nuts. But here I am, doing both. I'll never give up my real books, but I think it's inevitable that I'll (soon) start incorporating e-books into that mix as well, and I bet an increasing number of authors, both established and new, will do the same in terms of publishing. I always used to wonder how I'd ever get an agent. These days I'm increasingly wondering if I'll ever need one...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

Speaking of books, sorry, didn't mean to publish one in the comments section... I was just thinking out loud and hit submit before editing...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hal herring wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

No apologies needed- Chad- good information, and this is much in the discussions of all the writer-folks that I know.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dleurquin wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

Chadlove, You're going to make more per eBook than you are with hard or softcover books. There's so much more overhead with traditional books. I'm thinking a book like Pat Dorsey's has a break even point between 2,000 and 5,000 units. It's a lot of selling before you get your first royalty check. Of course, if you have a publisher, they'll have you doing hardcovers (first), then softcovers and eBooks if they can get away with it. eBooks are becoming the expected prescription because they are so cheap to create.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from stick500 wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I know all too well about the current situation in the book publishing business; I'm an editor and I'm out of job.....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1uglymutha wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

"the old order changeth" as long as we've got electricity, e-books are great. i have one and use it constantly. paper books are great too. nothing like settling down with a good book, no matter the format.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I have two about coyote hunting on my Kindle right now. The downside is that pictures etc. which are often a huge part of the information do not always look so hot. I bet they are better on an Ipad. Think my kid will lend my his?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I have a mild interest in ebooks but do not believe I will go out of my way to buy a Kindle or an ebook. Most of my books are second hand or passed from me to somebody else.

Blogs are great because you can read them and respond with interaction from many throughout the country. Most topics are short, of a recent nature, making them of interest.

However, books are a different breed. They never run out of batteries and I can lay one on the floor board of my Jeep without worrying about breaking the screen. Plus, I get some satisfaction seeing the book on the shelf, knowing I have already read it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

Yup!
I have always wanted to read the collected works James Fenimore Cooper (The deer slayer, the pioneers, The last of the Mohicans). Now I have them. Cost on ebay for used paper hardbound. $800+. Cost in my android phone that I can read, whenever I am waiting somewhere (think dentist waiting room), less than $2.00. Would I rather have paper? Yep! But I would rather have the $800 bucks more. My first ebook purchase was a piece of crap political book by Jessie (wrestler and governor) Ventura. Thank God it was an ebook and no tree had to die for that thing. And thats another good thing about ebooks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from iron giant wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I love real books. And I'm a young guy, think college kid. I love the way old books feel and look. I think better when I am reading something bound and printed on paper then I do when reading it on a screen. I have ton's of books, more then I can fit on the two bookshelves in my room, and my collection is always growing. I have only read a few ebooks and I really disliked the experience. Staring at a screen that long tends to give me a headache.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hil wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I do read ebooks. In fact I run a women's outdoor book club where we read a different hunting/fishing/outdoor-themed book every month or two and a lot of us prefer our books on the Kindle. I am waiting patiently for the day someone makes Robert Ruark's work available on Kindle. Until then I have to scour ebay for vintage copies.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chris Johnsrud wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I live in the middle of nowhere and keeping a steady supply of books is hard to do. I have been reading e-books and magazines on my Nook color for sometime now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I can give you a perspective from the publishing side. In 2006 I founded the Whitefish Press--which deals largely in books on fishing, fishing tackle, and fly fishing history--and we've just celebrated five years now and well over 75 books in print and counting. The rumors of the demise of the "book" are vastly overrated. Are e-books here to stay? Of course. And their marketshare will increase. But what has doomed so many mainstream publishers are bloated and outdated business models, NOT ebooks. As a publisher committed to sharing royalties 50-50 with authors AND having our books published here in America, we can attest that quality products can and will sell, and that the good, old-fashioned book is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Just my two cents worth...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from casestevenson wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

i get the ebook, and if its a keeper that i'll open again and again, then i get the real deal.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Colorado Samurai wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

If I get money, I'll just buy off of amazon, safari press, or any other book site I find with something of interest. As for E-books, I generally download free ones off of Google Books. It's a really a good place to find out of print volumes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Smithhammer wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

"Do Sportsmen Buy and Read eBooks?"

In all seriousness, John - why wouldn't they? Particularly if you live in a rural area without access to big book stores, having internet and an e-reader immediately makes the largest bookstores in the world available to you, right in your own living room. There will always be room for print, but pondering the growing viability of e-books, and the new publishing models they represent, already feels like a bit of an archaic point of view.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 357 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I do, my kindle is always tucked away in my stuff for when i'm traveling or have a spare moment. alot of classic hunting tales are free through the classics section.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from MICHMAN wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

My wife got me a Kindle Fire for Christmas and Amazon has different list to choose from. #1 on the Top Rated Kindle Hunting list is a new release titled, TROPHY WHITE TALES: A CLASSIC COLLECTION OF CAMPFIRE STORIES ABOUT NORTH AMERICA'S #1 GAME ANIMAL - THE WHITETAIL DEER. The book is fantastic and the cool thing about a Kindle Fire is the pictures are in color whereas in the paperback they are black and white!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

"So maybe I should get with the program, like it or not, when I do another book. Among fishing ebooks at present, most are offered as an alternative to an existing book in hard-copy form. The Dorsey book I used as an example is one such. That requires a conventional publisher. But if I were to do something as an ebook only, no publisher is necessary. No agent. No distributor. All of which means getting a very substantially better return for my effort because so many middlemen are eliminated."

^^^^^^^ This. Absolutely. Especially if you're an established name or author that has already published in the field. If I were an established midlist or niche author and I owned the rights to my backlist, what could a traditional publisher offer me that I couldn't do myself by e-publishing on Amazon?

However, I think for new or aspiring authors it's probably a bit harder deciding what to do. As a reader and collector, I am and always will be a die-hard bibliophile, but as an un-agented and unpublished author actively working on a several book proposals that traditional publishers either probably wouldn't consider taking on, or if they did, the terms (measly advance if any, eight or ten percent royalty on print and seventeen on e-books) are actually a disincentive to write the book, I'm torn. On one hand, I'd love to see my book in real, physical print, there's certainly a resounding validity, both physical and intellectual, to that, but on the other hand I'm beginning to think e-books, self-publishing and self-marketing are the future.

When you think about it, a publisher's strong points are its massive distribution mechanism and to a lesser extent professional editing and marketing. Take those strengths away (as the current e-book reality assuredly is) and if you're a newbie or a midlist author then what's the advantage of banging your head against the wall trying to get those publishers to notice you?

In the digital world (which at this point is largely Amazon) you have the exact same distribution power sitting at your home computer as the largest NY-based publishing house. There are a ton of freelance copy editors and graphic artists out there for edit, format and design work if you need it, and once the book is "published" to, say, Amazon, you get a seventy percent royalty on every copy sold. You set the price. You retain all rights. No fifteen percent of your measly 10 percent traditional royalty going to an agent and no publishing house taking the rest.

Granted, you don't have the publishing marketing machine behind you, but from what I've gathered picking the brains of a few midlist-level authors is that the vaunted publishing house marketing doesn't really do much for you unless you're already a bestseller anyway. So basically, if you're going to toil in obscurity and be largely responsible for your book's marketing efforts anyway (as I'm told many midlist authors are) then why not make a 70 percent cut doing that instead of a 10 percent cut (minus a 15 percent agent's fee)?

Of course, I guess pricing and target audience also play a part in deciding between trying for a traditional publisher versus e-publishing. As an author, do you make more money on a traditional hardcover priced at $30 than you do a self-published e-book priced at $3.99, $4.99? What format has the potential to sell more? Guess it depends on the contract with your publisher and how much marketing you're expected to do on your own dime (book tours, appearances, etc.). But if your book appeals to a relatively small niche market, anyway, I would think, all things being equal, the potential to make as much or more money from e-publishing is certainly there, especially if you're a hard worker, a savvy marketer or you're an established name in the field in which you're writing.

But who knows? Talk about profound cultural flux. All I know is, if a year ago you told me - a guy whose retirement dream is to own a dusty old used book shop in a nice mid-sized college town with good bird hunting and fishing close by - that I'd be considering buying an iPad or a Kindle, and that I'd seriously be considering the e-publishing route for my book ideas, I'd say you were nuts. But here I am, doing both. I'll never give up my real books, but I think it's inevitable that I'll (soon) start incorporating e-books into that mix as well, and I bet an increasing number of authors, both established and new, will do the same in terms of publishing. I always used to wonder how I'd ever get an agent. These days I'm increasingly wondering if I'll ever need one...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from stick500 wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I know all too well about the current situation in the book publishing business; I'm an editor and I'm out of job.....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from iron giant wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I love real books. And I'm a young guy, think college kid. I love the way old books feel and look. I think better when I am reading something bound and printed on paper then I do when reading it on a screen. I have ton's of books, more then I can fit on the two bookshelves in my room, and my collection is always growing. I have only read a few ebooks and I really disliked the experience. Staring at a screen that long tends to give me a headache.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 357 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I do, my kindle is always tucked away in my stuff for when i'm traveling or have a spare moment. alot of classic hunting tales are free through the classics section.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from twa32 wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I am starting to read more e-books in some genres but I am a stickler for paper books, especially hardbound, on outdoor topics. There is something about the smell, the feel of the paper, the look of an old book that adds to my enjoyment of reading something like A Splendid Wayfaring, Green Hills of Africa, or Tough Trip Through Paradise. Call me old-fashined I guess but outdoor books are probably the most likely to be bound paper in my library.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

Yes I do purchase e-books. Some are about hunting and fishing. I tend to purchase them if I need them immediately or if the price, as compared to a traditional book, is equal or less. But I also find myself purchasing used hunting books for next to nothing. If I could buy used e-books I would go all digital.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dleurquin wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I'll read eBooks when I get around to buying an iPad - which is becoming very commonplace. Thing is, I have a hard time paying the same price, or nearly the same price, a paperbound book. If I can feel the pages and store it on my book shelf, I'm willing to pay more for it than a bunch of words streamed to my iPad or nook.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

Speaking of books, sorry, didn't mean to publish one in the comments section... I was just thinking out loud and hit submit before editing...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hal herring wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

No apologies needed- Chad- good information, and this is much in the discussions of all the writer-folks that I know.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dleurquin wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

Chadlove, You're going to make more per eBook than you are with hard or softcover books. There's so much more overhead with traditional books. I'm thinking a book like Pat Dorsey's has a break even point between 2,000 and 5,000 units. It's a lot of selling before you get your first royalty check. Of course, if you have a publisher, they'll have you doing hardcovers (first), then softcovers and eBooks if they can get away with it. eBooks are becoming the expected prescription because they are so cheap to create.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1uglymutha wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

"the old order changeth" as long as we've got electricity, e-books are great. i have one and use it constantly. paper books are great too. nothing like settling down with a good book, no matter the format.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I have two about coyote hunting on my Kindle right now. The downside is that pictures etc. which are often a huge part of the information do not always look so hot. I bet they are better on an Ipad. Think my kid will lend my his?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I have a mild interest in ebooks but do not believe I will go out of my way to buy a Kindle or an ebook. Most of my books are second hand or passed from me to somebody else.

Blogs are great because you can read them and respond with interaction from many throughout the country. Most topics are short, of a recent nature, making them of interest.

However, books are a different breed. They never run out of batteries and I can lay one on the floor board of my Jeep without worrying about breaking the screen. Plus, I get some satisfaction seeing the book on the shelf, knowing I have already read it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

Yup!
I have always wanted to read the collected works James Fenimore Cooper (The deer slayer, the pioneers, The last of the Mohicans). Now I have them. Cost on ebay for used paper hardbound. $800+. Cost in my android phone that I can read, whenever I am waiting somewhere (think dentist waiting room), less than $2.00. Would I rather have paper? Yep! But I would rather have the $800 bucks more. My first ebook purchase was a piece of crap political book by Jessie (wrestler and governor) Ventura. Thank God it was an ebook and no tree had to die for that thing. And thats another good thing about ebooks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hil wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I do read ebooks. In fact I run a women's outdoor book club where we read a different hunting/fishing/outdoor-themed book every month or two and a lot of us prefer our books on the Kindle. I am waiting patiently for the day someone makes Robert Ruark's work available on Kindle. Until then I have to scour ebay for vintage copies.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chris Johnsrud wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I live in the middle of nowhere and keeping a steady supply of books is hard to do. I have been reading e-books and magazines on my Nook color for sometime now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I can give you a perspective from the publishing side. In 2006 I founded the Whitefish Press--which deals largely in books on fishing, fishing tackle, and fly fishing history--and we've just celebrated five years now and well over 75 books in print and counting. The rumors of the demise of the "book" are vastly overrated. Are e-books here to stay? Of course. And their marketshare will increase. But what has doomed so many mainstream publishers are bloated and outdated business models, NOT ebooks. As a publisher committed to sharing royalties 50-50 with authors AND having our books published here in America, we can attest that quality products can and will sell, and that the good, old-fashioned book is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Just my two cents worth...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from casestevenson wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

i get the ebook, and if its a keeper that i'll open again and again, then i get the real deal.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Colorado Samurai wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

If I get money, I'll just buy off of amazon, safari press, or any other book site I find with something of interest. As for E-books, I generally download free ones off of Google Books. It's a really a good place to find out of print volumes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Smithhammer wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

"Do Sportsmen Buy and Read eBooks?"

In all seriousness, John - why wouldn't they? Particularly if you live in a rural area without access to big book stores, having internet and an e-reader immediately makes the largest bookstores in the world available to you, right in your own living room. There will always be room for print, but pondering the growing viability of e-books, and the new publishing models they represent, already feels like a bit of an archaic point of view.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

bmxbiz-fs