Should eBooks Be Distinguished From Books?

At a panel today at the Digital Book World conference in New York, Ellen Archer, president of Hyperion, raised a good question. “Why do we call them eBooks anyway?” she asked. “Do we read emagazines? They’re books.”

Archer brought up the issue when telling the story of a politician author who she suggested write an eBook rather than a more traditional print book, in hopes that the title would evolve as readers added their thoughts to the topic. His response, “You mean I won’t have a book, book?”

This, in and of itself, points out that the stigma of an eBook over a print book. Aside from the obvious, eBooks being short for electronic books, Archer raises a bigger issue. Should eBooks be distinguished from their print counterparts?

Maybe and maybe not. Unless the format changes the experience as enhanced eBooks do, then a book is a book, be it paperback, hardcover or digital. However, publishers need to know where their sales are coming from, so breaking out titles based on the category is a smart way to distinguish where the sales are coming from. Thus the need for the eBook bestsellers lists that have been popped up in the last year.

What do you think?

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