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Why I wrote an ebook

Most readers will agree the variety of books we can buy, borrow or lend is phenomenal. So is the choice of media – whether it is  hard-copies, second hands, paperbacks or electronic books – I can read on my laptop, phone or reader.

Swapping perspectives this variety also applies to writers. We can choose traditional publishers (or hope they choose us) or do it on our own. Choosing to write an ebook only (as opposed to print+ebook) was a well thought through decision for me. Let me share with you what I struggled with.

To me, print books provide a tactile experience. Particularly travel guides (at least those I like) feature amazing photos that really make you want to pack your bags and hit the road. No doubt, having a decent sized print book would be incredibly gorgeous and flashy to have on my coffee table.

Visuals are extremely important to me. In my forthcoming travel guide Road trip Kathrin Nollek, an incredibly talented photographer and good friend of mine, has contributed a substantial amount of her work that makes the book sparkle – regardless on what type of device it’ll be read.

My main motivation for choosing e-only was a simple realisation: my book is not a coffee table kind of work, but a travel guide and there’s a huge difference between the two. While I love a pretty photo book, hand on my heart, I’m not a big fan of hardcopy travel guides and I tell you why. From experience, most of my books end up looking absolutely shocking with bent backs, frizzled pages, stains and god knows what sticking to the paper. After all, a travel guide is meant to be handled, looked at, reread and studied a million times – it’s isn’t per se supposed to be easy on the eye, but packed with valuable information.

On our road trip I have been using many different guides as functional tools. Even with novels I’ve become an absolute fan of e-readers. Handling a smaller weight without loosing any quality and accessibility of information is the main plus for me.

So, when I first had the idea of writing my own travel guide it felt like the right decision to only go with an electronic version. Luckily I found a publisher who shared my view and also loved my travel guide idea, hurray!

What do you think, do you like hardcopy travel guides or can you do without? What’s more practical? What’s more inspirational?

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thorsten #

    I need to agree, I like the book reduced to its content – which is what really counts anyway. The physical form is just a personal preference – and when you travel weight is crucial (and that’s not only when backpacking, but also when traveling by car). You quickly realise how much stuff you carry around with you and then start choosing what you really need and reduce it to the essentials – an ebook is a perfect this way.

  2. For those of us who like to travel light–in every way–the eBook is the way to go. The mobile is never far and so, too, with the guide; that is how it should be :>)

  3. You probably made a good call on the ebook. It’s cheaper to produce and more practical in modern times. I still have a weird fetish for holding physical copies of things but it’s sort of pointless in todays world.

    Still, anytime I travel anywhere, I always take a couple of books with me and just let them get beat to hell as I pull them out of my bag. In that way, they become more meaningful.

    • Yes, that’s true. The look of a battered, dog-eared book kind of tells the story about your journey, doesn’t it? Do you leave some of your books behind with a note so they keep travelling?

      • I have in the past but, usually, I just keep them with me until I can hand them off to a good friend.

      • That’s nice too. Those are usually the books I’d read first instead of the one that’s waiting on the top of the pile… do you buy books (as in novels) specifically for a trip?

      • Historically, yes. However, I haven’t this year.

      • What’s changed? Also, your blog is fantastic!

      • Well thank you very much. I hope you return to it.

        This was the first year of my life that I didn’t do a lot of traveling. I moved to New York and tried to buckle down at making money and getting projects started up. It’s been a bit of a battle and one of the casualties is my normal routine of traveling and enjoyment of friends. My hope is that, once things get rolling, I can focus specifically on the work that matters most to me and use any money and free-time that I have to travel and visit friends again. I won’t be able to go too much longer without it.

      • Sounds like a very exciting time in your life! Good luck with it and wishing you a happy (and hopefully a bit of travel filled) 2013!

  4. Bob Neubauer #

    Just curious: why did you bother getting a publisher at all for an e-book? I’ve self-published on Amazon, one book only in Kindle format, and I don’t know how a publisher could have helped at all with that process. Thanks.

    • Hi Bob, thank you for your question, which is an exceptionally good one! Yes, you’re right from a technical point of view I probably would have been capable of going solo (accepting there’s a bit of a learning curve involved). Looking at what my publisher can provide me with I found the benefits convincing: my book is part of a bit sized travel book series not just a stand alone, which I felt will help people find it. I’ve also connected with other travel writers who work with Collca giving me access to mentors that I wouldn’t have had. From a personal growth point it has helped me immensely. From a book promotion point it’s a plus too. How do you find the process of self-publshing? Btw I absolutely love your book…this travelling thing, must be in the name? Do you know about your family origings…who knows maybe we’re related? 🙂


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