It’s a book! At least, it’s not a scroll. It couldn’t have been a scroll!
Its content is not on leather or the skin of goats or sheep. It’s not a tablet, either. It’s just a book! No ebook!
I mean Unfortunate Oyibo is a book!
Unfortunate Oyibo Is No Ebook
In that introduction to this essay, I sound like someone were arguing (no, wrangling me over) the nature of my debut book. Deliberately. But, yes, someone is.
No, not someone. Many ones! Many people are arguing that the book is an ebook.
Listen, anytime you find anywhere on the web the call-to-action button saying something like, “download the ebook here,” someone somewhere is insisting that my book is an ebook, and not a book. Or not my book.
But that what they have written or produced is not a book but an ebook. Just an ebook! They tend to make a distinction between what is a “delivery format” of a thing from the thing itself. What then is the thing?
An ebook is something that can be produced in as little as an hour and a half.
You know that ebook is short for “electronic book.” That is, the electronic version of the thing, a book. Any book.
Therefore, whether the print version exists, will exist, or will never exist, it doesn’t make the ebook just an ebook. That is, in the sense of “not very worthy of note.” Not worthy of serious note. Just one of those…
Something that can be produced “in as little as an hour and a half.”
See? That’s how just calling it an ebook makes it. And that is far from what a true book is that took (takes?) concerted efforts and sweats and time (perhaps years) and pain to produce.
And, for the number of years it took me to prepare (compose / edit / remix / rework) all content (poems) of Unfortunate Oyibo, I meant it to be delivered as book, irrespective of format. Something organized. So, it is a book. And no matter of convenience will make me regard it as ebook. Nor will it be too lengthy a thing for me to say, “you can find the Kindle version here.”
Or you can read it on Kobo and iBooks very soon! Or even have me send you a pdf version for free. Here. And if funds come in enough… print version on the way!
So you might only consume an electronic version of this book, which is a very convenient, portable format. But no ebook!
End of No Ebook Soapbox
My “no ebook” soapbox out of the way, let’s look at where this oversimplification of book may have arisen. I’ll also share how one person and one entity I love shifted from the idea of ebook as “just a collection of blog posts,” something trivial, something to just put together, and only eeing their real book.
Hopefully, English Language and the web would rid their vocabulary of “ebook.”
Let’s just say book and always make one so. And e it, if we like to.
Ebook Is Content Marketing Slanguage
You may not fully accept the conclusion of my heading here, and you don’t have to, but imagine.
Ebook has a rather interesting history. And it can be drilled down to, “the result of people trying to reduce the number of books physically held at a time,” “a carry less, hold more stuff,” or “a more portable book.” But a marketing trend has made it just a practice to gate content and generate leads via the social web.
Publishing ebook (mostly free, quite many as pdf’s, a ton of them here, here, and here) is generally regarded as a content marketing strategy. It is primarily a way to generate leads. To establish authority.
To these ends, brands (and their publishers with them) are ever on the hots to “put together” books. Sorry, ebooks. But these really are collections of blog posts.
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with codifying information on several pages. And much insight, too, can be added so. Make it sweet. “A cohesive narrative.” In fact, many have done this with enormous success, like this author, this author, and this author. See those?
But even if a book (and I mean a book here) can position a brand (personal or corporate), it shouldn’t be done for that purpose at all! Not for brand positioning. There must be something a specific audience needs to consume, and thus be given. Then the providing brand can be positioned. Counterintuitive, but works.
For portability, the book can then be “eed.” Now, e, that’s a simple sweet word English should consider adding to its dictionary codices. Vote here.
How Two Authors Treated the “No Ebook” Idea
I know if I did a more thorough research, I’d come up with more authors than two to make my essay get a “fatter” backing. Right? If you take me very seriously, though, you see you don’t need very many examples to make your next book, a book, not an ebook.
Even if the book is (only) available on electronic versions.
So, about Sean D’Souza’s Brain Audit he gave the book all the seriousness it deserved for all the awesomeness he intended it to do for merchants (like you and me, we all sell something don’t we, and have customers we’ll love to keep, don’t we?). Then when he was done?
“The Brain Audit is now available in many formats,” the heading begins, “you can get a physical book (directly from Amazon), you can get the e…” you guessed it. Read the rest here.
So rather than just making an ebook, or calling his book an ebook, D’Souza made a book and eed it, for necessity sake. Don’t we all seek suitability? Portability?
Another example of this no ebook practice is Hinge’s Inside the Buyer’s Mind, whose eversion (free pdf) I consumed to finish in under 3 hours (for it was that good!). Is there a print version? I’m not sure. Why don’t we both check online!
When Lee Frederiksen prepared that volume for Hinge, he did not see himself (a great at content marketing) as putting together just another ebook as strategy demands. But to make a book that can help professional services firms win more businesses. Well, as strategy demands!
These Will Do!
Having said all this and given you a few examples, would you still make an ebook? Or call my book an ebook? I hope not!
Thanks for reading. Start or follow conversations around this topic with the hashtag #NOEBOOK.