Why I think you should publish your e-books on the amazon website…

dear author, publisher, readers

I read a lot of books. I always have.

September 2010 I bought my first kindle. In less then a year, after reading 45 books, I prefer reading on a kindle. And not just because of the screen. Even more about the whole reading experience.

Let me tell you a little story to tell you how far this goes:

A few months ago I started reading Continuous Delivery on the train in the hard copy version. In less then 10 pages I realized I did not like reading this version. I turned on my kindle and ordered the digital version. Less then a minute later I was again reading, but now on my kindle. Yep that is how I buy new books these days, on a train in the middle of nowhere, miles away from my computer.

I know that lots of publishers don’t like the way amazon treats them. To avoid working with amazon, they offer their electronic books on their website. Because they know people like reading on a kindle, they offer them also in the kindle format. From their point of view, problem solved.

I’m sorry that does not work for me. Let me clarify that. I’m sorry for your lost sales.

I think it’s time to talk about the reader point of view, I will give you a few examples on how the e-books experience is different for me then reading dead-tree books.


old books:  I order a book when I heard about it and I thought it would be a good one to read. The book sit on my stack ToRead, together with tons of others. Sometimes a book is out-dated before I even started, sometimes I’m no longer interested in the topic because I moved on professionally (most technical development books would go in that category)

kindle books: When I hear about a book, I send the sample to my kindle. I put it in the category ToRead (it now contains +200 books). When I pick up my kindle to read, I first finish the book I am currently reading. If I don’t have energy for that one, I go to my category Reading, (that has a WIP limit of 6) and I pick another book to read.

If the Reading category contains less then 6 books and I have energy for none of them, I browse my ToRead category and pick up a sample. I start reading the sample. When I finish the sample book and the books fits my current interest and energy level, I buy the book from my kindle. & I continue reading. Even when I am at home, I don’t go to my computer to buy a book.  If I would go to a computer (or similar device) the chance is pretty high I end up reading my e-mail, twitterfeed or anything else that keeps me from reading a book.


Old books: Most of the books I am reading, are business books. In an old book I would write notes on pages, I would underline stuff. That works fine in old books. Some people don’t like it as it “destroys” the book. I don’t mind, a book is a tool, it’s not sacred for me. Sometimes I add a dog-ear as a visual management tool to find an note back. That only works if I look in to the correct book. (Finding the correct book can take a long time…)

Kindle books: With my kindle (V3), I first select the text, then I start typing. I have to admit, using the small keyboard with his limited default characters took me a while to get used to. Now I love it.

  1. I can read it. I have a horrible handwriting and when I take notes in a sidebar with little place, it usually got worse.
  2. I can find it! I can search in my kindle for comments over all the books I have. No need to remember what book I read something in.
  3. I can share it! I have the choice to record my comments local or share it on the internet. This creates a total new experience. Other people react to what I wrote and I get a much deeper understanding of the topic. (the author is no longer the sole source of knowledge)
  4. With every public comment I make publicity for the book (it does not matter if I like the book or not). For me these kind of comments are recommendations on speed.
    Sharing comments on the internet does not work when I buy a kindle book outside amazon. So not only you have a high chance of missing out my sale, if you do get my sale, you miss out my referrals.


Do you now buy more or less books?
Yves you said you know have +200 books in your ToRead list. Does this not mean you buy less books then before?

Interesting question. The answer is both yes and no.
Yes: I don’t buy books anymore I won’t read.
No as I now don’t doubt anymore before I adding a book to my ToRead list. (in other words this list is longer as the books I would buy before (my kindle) ready to be picked up to read)
This has a significant influence on publishers statistics: books that are only bought for show, won’t show up. So in kindle stats you will only see books that are actually read (at least if people buy kindle books like I do, which I think they do.)
That was a nice consultancy answer, can’t you give me hard numbers?
You are right, we change artists always think that there is more then 1 truth.
You ask for hard numbers, well I have + 45 books in my Read category. I’m pretty sure I never bought 45 hard copy books in one year for myself.


If you are an author please talk to your publisher about uploading your books to amazon.

Update: I got a remark in a personal e-mail that the author did not have time to put into comments. That author said I was supporting amazon’ monopoly. And it was reducing competition.
I don’t think it is a monopoly, I think that Amazon is creating more competition, but at a different level. Dean Wesley posted a nice blog post today claiming that traditional publishers make more money with digital books then with paper books.

+ I want to stress that I ask for publisher to ALSO publish on the amazon site. Not for not publishing on other places.