More thoughts about formats

So, once I’ve settled on publishing vol. 1 in one, er, volume, and keeping the smaller units electronic, there isn’t really any point in keeping them at 32 pages, is there?

Personally, I like my screen reads short. That’s how I came up with split downloads in the first place. And if you look around, you’ll find a lot of experimentation with eBooks formats, usually settling for the shorter form. That’s only natural. Screen reading is still a drag for a lot of people.

When you’re not putting a book jacket around it, the size of the thing just doesn’t matter. What we perceive as a comfortable book size is a convention that was brought about by the print market. It’s cheaper and altogether less troublesome to assemble 200 pages into a book than to market five installments of 40 pages each. A hundred years ago, 28 page books weren’t that unusual. I believe they’re coming back.

Then, there’s the real small size unit – the webcomic installment. A page a week, in my case. A strip a day. Or the blog post. Don’t even get me started about Twitter. There are possibilities here.

When I broke the Conny collection down into two download books, I considered all this. Why two? Why not three or four? Why not market each story individually? I decided against smaller units because I still entertained the idea of adapting the downloads into printed pamphlets. Plus, the stories varied between one and fifteen pages, and 24 comic pages are a good chunk to break that into – if you want one size for all of them, that is.

But the real small book idea hasn’t died on me yet. Last year, I collected A CHRISTMAS CONNY into a five-page pdf for my German readers. I even considered custom-made downloads – assemble your favorite stories (or chunks) from a menu, and I’ll collect them into an eBook for you at a flatrate price. (Or maybe even POD?) I might get back to this concept, as soon as I’ve found a practical way of marketing it.

For now, I’ll stick to the format I’ve planned for all along. I’ve wasted enough time not getting the books assembled as is.