First, lets go back in time
Back in the late 90s, when I was studying wine making, there was much debate over the emergence of screw caps. While the technology had been available for decades, the wine industry were, for the most part, terrified of letting go of their beloved corks.
Even though it was well known that cork caused somewhere between 4-8% of wine to be spoiled, winemakers thought that their sales would decline if they started bottling under a more reliable closure. They reasoned that the whole ritual of pulling the cork from a bottle of wine and hearing that wondrous ‘pop’ was something that wine drinkers weren’t ready to give up. There was also the old argument that only cheap wine was bottled under screw caps, so no one would accept a quality wine that wasn’t bottled with a cork.
Yet these days screw caps are ubiquitous. And why do you think that is? Well for one they’re a whole lot more convenient, no need to go rummaging around for a corkscrew. And then there’s the reliability factor – no need to worry about your wine being corked.
But the biggest reason is that at the end of the day, the best thing about wine is drinking it and sharing it with your friends. It isn’t about the cork. And if we can still enjoy wine and have the added convenience and screw caps, then it’s a no-brainer.
See any parallels here? Like maybe books?
I know it may sound like sacrilege to some. Please don’t get me wrong. I LOVE books.
But when I think about it, books are a lot like wine. (Actually books have an advantage over wine in that over-consumption doesn’t lead to a hangover). But for me at least, books are a lot like wine because it’s not the packaging that’s the most important thing. It’s what’s inside. It’s the ideas and knowledge and images that make books so wonderful.
It’s where they lead your imagination not how they look or feel that keeps us coming back. Sure flipping pages and feeling paper are nice but I’m willing to exchange that for the convenience of the digital age, after all I still get to be inspired and learn new things.
Why you should embrace ebooks?
i. They’re portable.
How many times have you been at work and decided to cook something from one of your books but the book is at home? With ebooks you can take your library in your pocket which includes the supermarket – just the thing for last minute shopping lists.
ii. They weigh nothing
When I went to live in Barcelona for 6 weeks last year my luggage was up around the 30kg mark, about a third of which was books. Next time I’m planning on keeping it as digital as possible.
iii. They don’t kill trees to produce
Bytes rather than wood pulp. You get the picture.
iv. They have search funcions
When was the last time you looked in the index for a recipe you knew was in the book but couldn’t find it listed and had to trawl through to find it? With ebooks and simple search functions you won’t have to worry about frustrating indexes any more.
v. They are interactive
Imagine a book where you could look at the contents, click on something you like and instantly be taken to that exact page? In print never. In the ebook world this is already a reality.
And then there’s the possibility of being able to browse the book through different lenses. Imagine a cookbook you could browse by what’s in your fridge OR your mood? Again it’s already happening with ebooks.
vi. They can be multimedia
With print all you’re ever going to get is words and pictures. Sure 3D pop-up books are fun, they’re nothing compared to books which have video and even active links to the internet.
vii. The get delivered instantly (and for FREE)
I don’t know about you, but I’m a fan of instant gratification. While a parcel in the post is lovely, not having to wait or pay for shipping your books is totally the way forward.
some history behind the next generation of 5 ingredients 10 minutes
A little over a month ago I launched my new cookbook 5 ingredients 10 minutes in ebook format. And while sales have been pretty good, I have had some interesting feedback.
First are the people who just can’t get their head around the whole ebook thing. The people (my friends included) who want to know when I’m going to release a print version.
While half of me understands their love of paper and answers ‘oh hopefully some time next year’, the other half of me just wishes they would open their minds and see that maybe the future is here. (For the record I’m still undecided about doing a print run).
Second were the people telling me that $37 was way too much to pay for an ebook. I’m glad that this group is open to the ebook idea. And their feedback made me realise that it’s difficult to convey how much value is contained in a book with 133 recipes over 344 pages. They raised the question in me that maybe smaller bite-sized mini books are more appropriate for the online space?
2 new iterations of the next generation of 5 ingredients 10 minutes:
I’ve already been super self indulgent with my ebook rant today do I won’t go heavy on the sales pitch. But I wanted to release a video version because it represents all of the benefits of moving over to the ebook dark side.
If this is something that interests you, head over to The Stonesoup Shop for more details.
But before you go the first 50 people to purchase the premium video edition of 5 ingredients 10 minutes will also receive FREE access to a Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School masterclass of their choice valued at $37. See the 2011 class calendar for a list of potential FREE classes.
ii. The mini-ebook version broken down into 10 volumes for sale individually..
I’m really excited about this launch. The ideal of choosing the bits which interest you most and ditching the rest really appeals to me.
Again, head over to The Stonesoup Shop for more details but there’s also a deal to be had here. The first 50 people to purchase each chapter of 5 ingredients 10 minutes will also receive a FREE BONUS chapter of their choice. So for the 10 chapters that’s 500 opportunities to buy-one-get-one-FREE.
Thankyou for your indulgence today. I’d love to hear in the comments what you think about the whole ebooks v’s print. Are books potentially the new vinyl records? Or am I dreaming?