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?