Why it’s good to take part in Read an E-book Week 2011 (and how to do it)

There are a couple of reasons why it’s good to devote extra time and energy to e-books during this special week.

First, Read an E-book Week is a fantastic idea. It’s an honest promise for those readers who are afraid of trying books in digital form. It lasts only a week. Short enough to give it a try. It’s just by next Sunday, not a long-term commitment. On the other hand it is long enough to discover the most important benefits of e-books.

Secondly, this year e-books are on the rise like never before. The time of tipping point is coming. REW is one of the opportunities to make it happen earlier. Opposite to events for industry professionals, it’s a proposal, most of all, for readers.

And a third thing. We have a very important anniversary: e-books turn 40 this year. Many people can’t believe it, but it’s true – e-books are with us longer than we think.

Compare the history of e-books from this infographic with one week of attention. I’d love you to have a conclusion: the time is now.

So, if you feel you could try and spend a couple of minutes (why not now), check the possibilities below. You don’t have to go anywhere. It’s all digital.

The most common activities anyone can take – no matter whether you are a reader, author, librarian, publisher or bookstore.

1. Place a banner on your blog or website and link it to the official REW site: http://ebookweek.com. Let the readers know about the event.
2. Check the official Read an E-book site, especially the list of proposed activities and special offers from official partners. You can also enter the contests – with a chance to win a Nook or a Kobo e-reader!
3. If you use Twitter, check #ebookweek tag (embedded at the end of this post). Writers, publishers and bookstores will be sharing news, offers and special deals. Find interesting ones and share them with your followers.
4. If you spend most of the time on Facebook, join REW page and find out what people are posting.
5. If you see somebody reading on a tablet or an e-reader, try to take a picture and share it with the others as described here.

If you’re an e-book author, you can offer special deals for readers – either discounts or free downloads. If you’re a published Smashwords author, try the Smashwords REW promotion. What’s important – it’s really easy and takes a couple of clicks to do it. Your book will be included in a special catalog and you can share coupon codes to your books, so that your followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook can instantly benefit.

Or you can download a book file to your blog and offer a download from here. Or you can share links to your books on Twitter in such a way that people can can download them directly.

Remember, Read an E-book Week is a great reason for a more intensive self-promotion. It won’t ruin your reputation.

If you read e-books already, it would be fantastic if you share your reading experience. Make a screenshot of an e-book you’re reading on a smartphone or tablet. Take a picture of your e-book on an e-reader. Share a download link to your favourite e-reading application. Or an archive blog post, in which you were unpacking your Kindle. Or an e-bookstore you bought your first electronic book…

See, it doesn’t take too much of your time, but people realize that e-books are part of somebody’s life. For many – it’s hardest to imagine.

If you haven’t tried any e-book yet – don’t worry. To start reading you don’t have to buy a Kindle on Monday. For testing you can use a computer or a smartphone. Read this short post on how to turn your phone into an e-reader.

Do you have an account at Amazon? Go to this page and find a Kindle application for your device. Try to find a Kindle edition of a paper book you recently bought. Compare the prices of available editions: hardback, paperback, Kindle. Download a free sample. On smartphone? Increase a font size. Screen too bright? Use sepia or night mode. Check also how to use a dictionary and popular highlights or save bookmarks.

Are you a Gmail user? Why not checking Google eBookstore. Or maybe you’d like to find a website with free e-books? It all started with Project Gutenberg – check how they’re doing after 40 years.

If you have some time and besides reading e-books you’d like to read about e-books, don’t hesitate to visit great sites, where people with passion write every day about the electronic book, digital publishing and the future of books: TeleRead, eBookNewser, Publishing Perspectives and The Digital Reader.

Who knows, maybe in 10 years, when e-books will turn 50, we all will be reading books as fantastic as these:


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