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Electronic publishing, or e-publishing as the jargon designates it, is a relatively new online industry that has been the subject of substantial praise. But, as Murphy’s Law dictates, there has also been a heavy onslaught of criticism from all facets of the publishing industry – book publishers, editors and promoters, the media, in particular book reviewers, even writers themselves.

There are obvious disadvantages to why the industry seems a doomed one. The primary reason is that readers don’t seem to be interested in reading an electronic book (e-book) on their computer when they can indulge in an orthodox book in the comfort of their bed or bathtub. Many who have apprehensively tested the credibility of e-books claim that none are any good. Because the industry is still very much in its infancy, many of the consumer features will drastically have to be improved. E-readers, compatible hand-held computers with specialized programs to download e-books, at this stage are too expensive. Current e-readers hold about ten novels but are sold for between $200 and $1500 each. Some industry critics and watchdogs speculate that once e-readers become cheaper (which, with the precedent of newer and faster technologies being developed at cheaper rates, will inevitably happen) and more user-friendly, the industry will blossom. Another unattractive consumer feature is the pricing of e-books. While many e-book categories such as fiction are priced cheaply (between $5 and $10), others such as non-fiction titles are much more expensive (anything between $10 to $30 or more).

There are also numerous reasons why e-book writers seem destined for failure. Unlike major publishers, writers are not granted advances or promotion of their e-books. Because of the limited number of people who purchase e-books and the plethora of similar titles and genres, sales are virtually non-existent. Traditional book reviewers refuse to grade e-books, resulting in no mainstream recommendation or condemnation of one’s book to the wider public. Because there are so many e-publishers, many e-books’ quality and presentation are neglected and the end product is a poor one.

E-writers are, however, ecstatic at the successful part of the industry, which makes e-publishers a much more attractive outlet than traditional print publishers. E-book royalties can range from between 15% and 70%, depending on the publisher. Print royalties normally range between 10%-15%. An e-book sale is a legitimate one, and the credibility of being a published author has seen many e-writers being published in print form. Because e-books are available over the Internet, writers’ material is exposed to a global audience instead of a local or national one. Royalty statements and cheques are sent out quarterly, as opposed to print publishers that distribute them annually. An e-book can be submitted to an electronic publisher with the click of a button. Alleviating expensive postage costs to, and rejection slips from, print publishers is also an added bonus. E-publishers also stock titles longer than print ones – normally a year, but some contracts can be arranged to extend the e-book availability to two years or more, depending on demand.