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Audio and E-book Opportunties
by: Ruth Marlene Friesen
I joined a Christian Writers' Group a few weeks ago,
and the email exchanges of those members is quite
exhilarating. Browsing and skimming them last night I
came to one where a writer who has vision trouble and
can't read regular print books challenged the others
to produce more e-books.

E-books are read on the computer, and the greatest
thing about them, as I've discovered myself, is that
one can enlarge the text so it is easier to read. For
those who find even that too difficult, it is possible
to get software in your computer which will read the
text to you. I'm not sure how digital it sounds, but
I believe in many places that software is free to any
who are legally defined as blind.

What shocked me about the exchange was that a number
of writers had admitted a bias against e-books when
this other member first asked who all offered their
books in this form. The mindset still seems to be, a
book is not really published until it comes out in
paperback or hardcover.

I confess I've learned too, that fiction doesn't sell
as an ebook yet, though all kinds of marketing manuals
and self-help books do.

Fortunately, when this writer explained herself, the
others rallied around with offers to help out. One
said she'd gladly offer her books to be read on tape
if anyone could be found to do it. Another urged that
we all consider producing our books in digital at the
same time as in print.

Thinking about all this today, I suddenly see wide
open doors of opportunity for ministry and perhaps a
business.

Here in Canada, I believe the Canadian National
Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is on the lookout for
volunteers to read books on tape. They have a lending
library by mail. The US has similar organizations.

All you would need is a good clear voice for reading
without stammering or hesitation, and with a lively,
instead of monotone voice. It wouldn't matter if you
sat in a wheelchair, or had no use of arms and legs.

The same reading could be put on tape or CD. Besides
the audio, the CD might have a graphics or flash
movie version as well.

If you know, or could learn some web design skills,
you could volunteer or make small paying arrangements
with various authors to turn their books into e-books.
If they have a website they might be happy to pay you
a small commission on each downloadable copy sold
alongside of their print book.

If they don't have a website - guess what - you have
the skill, so offer to build that author a simple one
or two page website to sell her books. All it needs
to be is a terrific sales letter with ordering links
at the bottom. You'd think the writer could write up
that effective sales letter, right? You'd just copy
and paste it into the web page.

Should it happen that you have more advanced skills,
or they grow on you, why not set up a library, or
bookstore of ebooks? Market it specifically to those
who need the benefit of being able to read a book on
their computer.

Hey-hey, before too long even those with 20-20 vision
will come snooping around, praising the advantages of
digital books. You'll be a trend-setter.

The whole publishing world is like it's just had an
earthquake, and the after-shocks haven't all hit yet.
The dust hasn't settled on all the changes coming.
Be a Mover and a Shaker.

About the Author

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Ruth Marlene Friesen, makes friends everywhere,
just like her alter ego, the heroine of her novel,
Ruthe's Secret Roses. Discover the secrets of
intentional friendship that transforms lives
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