The Format Wars! (and why I don’t care)

J. F. Lewis

Every now and then people ask me about ebooks.

When they do, they tend to ask it in such a way that I suspect it should have been accompanied by a sound cue…. something like: bum-bum-BUM! (as in Klarion bum.. bum… BUM… the Witch Boy for you comic book fans). And I guess I understand why. Often this is a preamble to the question: how would you, the writer, like me, the reader, to purchase your books? Or which way do you make more money?

I was on the reader side of that question a few years ago when I apologized to Mike Stackpole for not having read his new series yet. I told him honestly, “I’m sorry, but you’re one of those authors I buy on the release day, but don’t read until I have the whole series.”

Mr. Stackpole’s gracious response was, “As long as you buy them, you don’t have to read them.”

And I get his point. As long as I buy his books during the initial release week, my purchase makes his publisher as happy as my single purchase is ever going to make his publisher. It helps earn back his advance. When I choose to enjoy my purchase is up to me.

The ebook question is quite similar. I don’t care whether people purchase physical or digital copies of my work… Just so long as you purchase it. 🙂 It *is* a little difficult for me to sign a digital copy, but I’ve signed several Kindles or Kindle covers for people, so it’s not completely out of the question. So how would I like you to buy my books? I guess the most fair answer I can give is this: Buy them new and as close to the release date as possible. I couldn’t ask for more.


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