Monday, January 24, 2011
In today's technological society we are witnessing change faster than the speed of light. One huge area of change has been brought about by the advances in e-readers. The Kindle, the Nook and the IPad are revolutionizing the way that avid readers enjoy their books.
Being in the community cookbook business I am often asked, "should I also sell my cookbook via e-reader devices?" The answer to this question is a bit trickier than it might seem. Sure there are now millions of e-readers out in the hands of consumers, but when you think about why people buy community cookbooks and how they use them, the proclivity for offering them in electronic format diminishes.
Personally, I am a messy cook. I would hate to think that I just splashed an expensive e-reader with olive oil or salt--not to mention flour, raw eggs or Worcestershire sauce. It's bad enough keeping my laptop keyboard free of dust and other normal atmospheric junk but to take it or a similar device into the kitchen is a scary thought.
In addition, most of us don't purchase a community cookbook simply to cook out of. We want the stories and the memories all together in a printed volume to recall our visit to a place and a culture where we enjoyed the people and their food. Somehow this just doesn't translate into electronic files.
The other obvious drawback for community cookbook publishers is the business end of the equation. Where will readers buy my electronic version? How will they find it? Will I make any money from the sale? The business end of this industry has a long way to go before any of us understand exactly how the model works.
Am I putting e-readers and their fans down? Absolutely not. Both my wife and one of my daughters enjoy their Kindles. I am planning on buying an IPad when the next generation comes out later this year. Most likely I will download trade biographies or non-fiction to my reader to use when traveling. That said, I never foresee using an IPad in the kitchen--for my money, a community cookbook should be the printed volume.
Of course my thoughts are exactly that, mine. However, read the attached article by Nichole Aksamit of The Omaha World-Herald and you will see that others agree.