That is the question.
I say ... DO IT!
It took me quite a while to really accept the so-called e-book revolution for a variety of reasons. There was the fear that paper books would be all but forgotten, though I never really believed that would happen. I figure mass market paperbacks will drop off a bit, and with the failings of Leisure it seems like that is exactly what's happening. I think this is a shame, but in this tech world we live in paper is becoming outdated. Schools probably don't even use paper products any longer. I bet kids in kindergarten are painting pictures with fake brushes on kiddie sized laptops. What a horrible thought!
Unlike the vast majority of the populace, I have very little interest in technology. I have a flip phone and I like it that way. I have no use for a "smart" phone. (As a side note, I hate the term "smart" for things like phones and those little death-trap cars.) It took me a while to get an e-reader, and now that I have one I can understand what all the buzz is about. It's a pretty cool invention, and it allows me to purchase books from authors I have never read at low prices (providing the publishers keep prices low, which I think they will, for the most part, considering the fact that we're talking about a transfer of data here, not something physical).
That being said, I also think ebooks have opened up an opportunity for unknown writers like myself to get their work out there. One must be careful, though. There are a plethora of authors and so-called authors dropping piles of shit here and there and everywhere. So much so that potential customers and horror enthusiasts have to wade through every X amount mediocre or just plain out terrible books for a good one, which can turn people off of trying something new, or, gulp, something self published.
Oh the horror!
I once said I would never self publish my work, and to a certain degree I have not wavered in that opinion. I will not self publish novels, however I have an idea about self pubbing some short work. I have seen many authors selling a single story for .99 cents. Ok. I have seen established authors sell their back catalogue for .99 cents apiece. OK. The established author will make money off of that kind of price due to the volume they sell. I would be doing nothing selling my books at that price because few people have heard of me and are looking forward to my next release (hopefully there's more than few, but who knows). So my thought is to publish an ebook with around 20-30K worth of short stories. Some of them new, some of them re-prints, maybe one or two of them trunk stories...maybe. I'm weary of trunk stories, and I am uncertain that a whole book of them is a good idea. Anyway, I would also include a preview of my forthcoming novel People of the Ethereal Realm, providing the publisher will allow me to do so. The price: .99 cents. A customer would get more for their buck than just a single story, and hopefully that would entice them to take a chance on my work. It would be a sort of starters guide to Robert Essig's fiction. If they like what they read, then maybe they would be willing to take a chance on People of the Ethereal Realm or Scarecrow and The Madness.
I'm working this through my mind and going to have to figure in a few other factors. I would have to hire an editor, of course, and maybe someone to do a decent cover if I couldn't manage one myself (and I probably can't). Once I see the cost going into this little venture I will decide whether I feel it is worth the effort.
Here's to ebooks!