My mother gave me an eReader this year, and for the short amount of time that it worked, I decided to indulge in a little online reading. Let me first explain something about myself- I read medical journals for fun. So, it can be frustrating sometimes to read ‘books’ that don’t provide me with any useful information or enjoyment. If I’m not learning something I didn’t already know, it is a waste of my time. For me, most eBooks are akin to reading the magazines in the checkout line at the grocery store- except they don’t have the good pictures.
So, if I seem highly critical of the electronic book- I am.
So, it is always problematic for me when I take an eBook project. I struggle with writing something that is just a bunch of words with strategically placed links for the purpose of content marketing. I value the readers time, and I probably spend more time than the project is worth searching for that nugget of unique information to put in the writing.
Once again, I am probably over-thinking it, and I wonder if I am the only one. After spending a couple of days reading all of the nonfiction eBooks my brain could stand, I noticed a trend.
Many of them were poorly written summaries of information you could find online. Thankfully, they were free, because I could have taken a screenshot of Google page 1 listings and have gotten the same result. But, there were the few that I felt understood what an ebook is best suited for and wrote in an entertaining (if not useful) style.
In my idealized view of the Internet, an ebook is an extended blog post rather than a technical training. In the non-virtual world, it would be similar to going to a presentation to see someone speak on a topic that interests you. That presentation could be engaging, with music and slideshows and cookies, or it could be an absolute bore, where you cannot understand the speaker, and even if you could, you couldn’t hear him anyways.
Many people think they can take the short cut and throw a few words on some paper with some links and they now have authoritative content. Here’s how that looks in the real world.
“Introducing Jenn, she is going to speak about online writing. Now open up your computers! Wait you don’t have a computer? Go get one. The rest of you, type google.com. This is online writing. Please don’t forget to rate this ebook!”
Good thing I served cookies, because that would have been a total waste of your time. Oh wait, I ate all of them while you were reading.
eBooks don’t have to be like this. If content creators are willing to spend the time investment writing something worthwhile, there are people who will gladly read it. These people will be so grateful for the information you have provided them, they will tell their friends, and support whatever it is you do. Writing an eBook just because it is the thing to do is bad Internet citizenship. If you want an eBook for your online presence, but don’t know where to begin, I’ll be glad to help- but bring your own cookies.