Monday, November 28, 2011

CyberMonday: Gifting E-books

Books for Christmas Presents: Paper or Plastic?
by Naty Matos

Technology is moving so fast that even I, the gadget junkie, am falling behind. As I was working on publishing my first book Growth Lessons, I started to wonder the same thing any new author asks themselves, how do I make my book available to most people? I posted the question on my Facebook page wondering what would be more attractive to customers these days; a paper book or an e-book? Of course the answer was that there was market for both formats, but the truth behind my question was that I was the one resistant to the change from paper to electronic.

After seeing the enthusiasm for e-books I downloaded the Kindle application to my phone and found me a book to read. Not only I was fascinated with the fact that I was at the doctor’s office reading my book without adding any more weight to my already packed purse, but that it was actually fun to read from an electronic device. It truly didn’t take as much out of the experience as I thought.

Can E-books be gifted?

I went back to Facebook to consult my friends. Wait a minute there is a disadvantage to this thing. I give books to friends and family all the time and now I won’t be able. Once again I was wrong. Amazon has a way to gift e-books. You would simply need to choose the “Give as a Gift” option for any book in the Kindle Store, and then send the gift to anyone with an email address.

Here are the instructions on how to do this on Amazon.

Now sitting on the customer side I thought, what a wonderful idea! E-books are far less expensive than paper books. I’ll use Growth Lesson’s for example. Let’s say you read my book, loved it and thought ten of your friends should read this book.

If you bought the paperback, at $9.99 each, that’s $100 and I didn’t add shipping. I wouldn’t complaint about your purchase, but your pocket might. However, let’s use the same book, which will be on sale for 99 cents from today and throughout the whole month of December. You can now buy the book for the same ten friends for just $10 and no shipping costs. You can even buy 2-3 different books for each person in your gift list.

What about autographed books?

I still wasn’t satisfied in my battle between paper vs. electronic and came up with another reason why maybe paper was better. Well, I can’t get my book autographed by the author if it’s an e-book. Once again I was wrong. Actually you have a better chance to have an e-book personally autographed by the author than with a paper book. For the paper book you have to find out where the author will be hosting the book signing, stand in line and if the author never makes it to your city, it just may not happen. There’s this fabulous website called “Kindlegraph”  if the e-book is registered on Kindlegraph all you have to do is submit a request and the author will personally sign it for you, absolutely free! (Editor's Note: Naty's and Tracy's books are available on Kindlegraph, so be sure to look for them when you explore the site! They'd love to autograph a book or two for you!)

Yes, personally. It is not an automated signature that goes into each request. The author will be signing with their own hand and mouse (instead of pen) each request. You do need a twitter account to enter the request, but if you do not use twitter, you can make up the account just for this purpose, it’s free and who knows, it may get you tweeting!

So as this Christmas season approaches, and with our budgets a little tighter this year, think of gifting an e-book. Don’t worry if the person doesn’t have a Kindle reader per se. Remember that the Kindle app is free for anyone with an IPad, IPhones, Android phones, Blackberry and both Mac and PC’s.

Before you leave, one more question; what if the person who I’m trying to give an e-book doesn’t have a kindle or rather have books for other formats?

I have good and not so good news. The technology is so new that at this moment Amazon is the only provider that allows direct e-book gifting. But, the other formats like Barnes & Nobles (Nook), Smashwords, Sony, Apple (iTunes) and others have gift card options. You can buy a gift card for the person and let them know the title of the book you intended to get for them, that way they can choose the format that is convenient for them and still get that wonderful inspiring book that you wanted to share.

Let’s give the gift of reading uplifting books this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!

About Naty Matos:

Naty Matos was born in the city of New York, from Puerto Rican descendant parents. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.

She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.

Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She’s the author of the live changing devotional Growth Lessons. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at

Growth Lessons on Amazon.
Growth Lessons Kindlegraph.

Naty Matos on Twitter @natycmatos

Naty Matos on Facebook.


Melanie said...

Thanks for covering this topic! I hadn't really thought about how we'd give books in the e-book age! Our family often does theme Christmas' and a few years ago it was books. Giving the gift card idea was great as I try to avoid Amazon if at all possible!

Tracy Ruckman said...

How fun to have a theme for gifts each year and to have books as one of those themes!