I can remember the excitement of buying my first downloadable-book. It was back in the late 1990’s and although I cannot remember the title of the e-book I do recall that the seller lived in Georgia, USA and within ten minutes of buying it I was printing it out in rural Wiltshire in the West of England.
Since those early days I must have purchased hundreds of such books. I have had everything from 300+ page manuals right down to 2 or 3 page “reports”. But the trouble is that over half of them end up either part or totally unread.
I believe that for most people there are two basic problems with e-books., they are not easy to read on screen and if you print them out this can take time and be expensive on ink.
Despite all the dire predictions profits of doom I believe the future for e-books and information products in general is very good. However, writers must understand the requirements of their readers. To be honest if a subject needs more than 100 pages to get its message across perhaps a downloadable file is not the best way to provide the information.
eBay is a great example, there are hundreds if not thousands of e-books on the subject ranging in price from a few cents up to some costing hundreds of dollars, The average price for a “How to Make Money on eBay” type book seems to be around $67 but go to Amazon or Barns and Nobel and you will find print books with far more information for around $20. So why do we pay more for less?
The answer is “immediacy”. We want it and we want it now.
And if the reader wants the e-book now, he or she also wants the information straight away. What they do not want to is to have to wade through hundreds of pages to find what they are looking for. In other words the ideal e-book should contain the basic facts or methods with as little padding as possible. Ideally a person should be able to read the contents of an e-book at one sitting And in my opinion the ideal length for an e-book is around 30 pages but anywhere between 20 and forty is fine. For most subjects the important points can be included within that page range.
The advantage for the author is that it is a lot easier to write a 40-page book than one with 200 pages. There is also a greater chance of the reader actually clicking on your affiliate or other links within your book if he or she actually reads it all. If the writer feels that it will take 200 pages to cover the subject why not cut it down to 5 or 6 smaller e-books selling at say $15 each.
The current trend of pile it high sell it cheap is driving many people out of the information market and some might say that is not a bad thing. But there will always be a market for value for money and easily digestible information products on subjects of interest to the customer. So if you are a writer please cut the padding, just give me the facts, just the facts.