In Botswana where most of us don’t live near a bookstore and then can’t afford the high prices of paper books, ebooks are a fantastic alternative.
I’m a complete ebook convert; it’s rare I read a paper book nowadays.
My ereaders have improved the quality of my life a thousand fold, nowadays I don’t know what I’d do without it.
But some people have not followed the technology so I thought I’d catch you up so you don’t miss out.
So first some definitions. An ebook is the very same book you would buy as a paper book but in an electronic format.
There are various electronic formats and what format you need will be decided by your ereader.
Examples of ebook formats are Kindle, PDF, and epub.
An ereader is the device you read ebooks on.
You can read ebooks on your computer or your tablet, of course, but I prefer to read ebooks on an ereader because you still have the same experience as reading a paper book.
It’s portable, you can read where you want, you can carry it in your handbag and pull it out wherever you are.
Ereaders store hundreds of books. It will depend on the storage space of a particular ereader how many books it can store exactly.
They allow you to change the font and font size of the text.
They need to have charged batteries, but some ereaders have very long battery lives.
For example my Kindle only usually needs to be recharged about once a month.
How to get Books into Your Ereader
To buy ebooks, you must open an account with an online bookstore such as Amazon or Kalahari.com, for example.
You’ll need a credit card.
When you buy books, they will download either into your ereader or onto your computer.
This will depend on the type of ereader you have.
With Kindle, when you start it the first time it will ask you for your Amazon account details.
(Kindle is exclusively for Amazon) Once you’ve entered the information, you can now visit the Kindle store directly on your ereader and choose the books you want.
They are then automatically downloaded into your Kindle.
For less expensive ereaders, you may have to download the book into your laptop first and then connect your reader to your laptop and upload the book to your ereader.
Some things to consider when buying an ereader:
• Cost: there are wide ranges of prices for ereaders from P2000 to P200.
• Features: I prefer an ereader that I use only for reading books and nothing else, but some people don’t.
You can get ereaders that connect to the internet, email, and social networks
• Battery Life: ask about battery life.
I just bought a cheaper ereader, but it only has a battery life of eight hours, as compared to my one month battery life for my Kindle.
• Lighted or not: My Kindle does not have a back light and I prefer that, it’s easier on my eyes.
It looks and feels like a page of a book.
Other ereaders have backlights.
For whatever reason, ebooks are taking long to take off in Africa, but yet they are very thing that can solve the problem that hampers so many African writers and readers- distribution and access to books.
I suspect the problem stems from the fact that ebook stores need credit cards and most Africans, including most Batswana, don’t have those.
I think there is a real niche there for an entrepreneur-how to sell ebooks to Africans with no credit cards?
If you answer that question effectively, you will have a continental business.