One of the really delightful things about ebooks is that they can be easily updated. This is especially useful in two of my favorite categories – family history and technology. One thing that really irritated me about technology books is that I paid a lot of money for a book that was basically obsolete before I got it home. And, when the technology improved, an updated version of the book would be published – just waiting for me to fork out even more money.
The first dent in that little monopoly was made by Safari Books Online – a subscription reading service for (mostly) tech books. For a monthly fee, you had access to a huge library of tech books – with a search engine that could not only find the book you needed, but the chapter and paragraph containing the information you wanted. Even better, my employer was paying for it!
But then I retired.
As a dedicated WordPress fan, I was delighted to discover the guys at Digging Into WordPress and the PDF edition of their book with lifetime updates. For more than two years I’ve been downloading updated versions of the book full of all the latest WordPress goodness.
That was my first good ebook investment, but not the only one. I have the iBooks edition of David Sparks’ Paperless which just released an impressive update to include the latest apps and services. This book was created with iBooks Author so it’s got lots of video clips demonstrating the apps and workflows discussed in the text. It was so good, I bought his Email book too!
Kindle authors also have the ability to update their titles and pass those updates on to their readers. Until recently, that didn’t happen too often, but I’m now finding update notices appearing more frequently. That’s a good sign! If you see the updates banner at the top of your Kindle library screen, just select the Available for Update view to display the titles that have updates. Click the Updates link and Kindle takes care of the rest.
While this discussion has been focused on technology books from a reader’s perspective, it’s also a reminder to the family history author that your publishing efforts don’t have to stop when that book is published. When new research adds to the story, update your original manuscript and follow the update procedures at your publishing service(s). It’s almost as easy for you to upload an update to your book as it is for your readers to download the updated version.
Whether you’re just beginning a publishing project or already published, the ability to update your ebook is an option to incorporate in your overall publishing plan. Your readers will love you for it.