E-Books a Boon to English Israelis

Haaretz has a neat little quickie about English-speaking expats living in Israel who are turning to e-books to get their work in readers’ hands. One author approached an agent, was told the lag time would be a year-and-a-half and didn’t want to wait that long. Another deemed her Israeli-themed historical fiction too niche to attract a mainstream publisher, and a third is still considering options for her young adult fantasy story.

The profile highlights well the main benefits of e-publishing: control and timeliness.

Author Steven Greenberg could get his post-apocalyptic Israeli-set thriller out there right away, and he enjoyed some success on the Amazon best-seller list when he briefly offered it for free. Miriam Feinberg Vamosh had to pay for the cover art and page design herself, but was pleased by the result and says it was “money well spent.”

The profiled authors are also upfront about the main drawback of self-publishing, too: The profit margins, for most authors, simply aren’t that high. Greenberg “was happy to take the gratis publicity and exposure that came with the high ranking,” and Feinberg Vamosh went the ‘for pay’ route and has netted just $12.87 so far.

“It’s hard to be an author and keep your day job,” says Feinberg Vamosh. She invests about an hour and a half each day managing the various aspects related to her book, and says she hasn’t even begun the marketing phase. “If a person is expecting to retire on the proceeds of any book, they need to rethink that,” she maintains.

One angle the article didn’t explore was the English-language market for readers in Israel. Is it hard for them to find books at affordable prices? Is it hard for them to find books at all? Given that geographical restrictions can still be an issue for some publishers, the indie boom might especially benefit readers in a country like this where English is a minority language. And a fresh stream of new English-language books from their own contemporaries must be a boon indeed.

1 Comment on E-Books a Boon to English Israelis

  1. Hi Joanna. I enjoyed reading your article especially since I am an English-speaker that lived in Israel for over one year. You make a point, it is really hard to find affordable English books in Tel Aviv. However, they do have a nice system of book exchanges at at least a couple stores on Dizengoff alone.

    It sounds to me that having an English book in ebook format already speeds up the marketing process for Expats in English-minority countries. They can create a quick product and have something to show for it just as fast i.e. the ebook file / the ebook in an online retailer. In my opinion, marketing is going to be a struggle anyway since they are most likely a new civilian to this foreign land. And talking about the English-language.. in countries like Israel, the expat communities are vey tight so this can also speed up the marketing process.

    Cheers

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