I was pleasantly surprised last week when I saw that Weird N.J. released Home State Hauntings, a collection of ghost stories from around New Jersey. Some are new, and some are the best of what they’ve published in the magazine, books, and special editions over the years. It’s the magazine’s first true foray into eBook territory, which I find pretty exciting.
It’s a book that I had a lot of involvement with, but not quite in the way that you’d think. It includes four stories that I’ve written, one of which has never been published before. And many of the other stories are ones that I’ve edited over the years in one way or another. But that’s mostly where it stops for me: Weird N.J. chose the stories to include and left the design of the book in the very capable hands of Paul Michael Kane.
It’s great to see that the book includes illustrations and photos by Ryan Doan, whom I worked with on Weird Hauntings and Weird Encounters, as well as the special edition of the magazine, Last Exit: Travels with Death Through the Garden State.
The book is available in iBook, Kindle, and Nook formats. From what I’ve seen, the iBook format is the prettiest, and it has a table of contents, which I find pretty important. The way the table of contents is formatted doesn’t seem to have translated to the Kindle as well, meaning I can’t find one. That’s my only nitpick. I don’t have a Nook so I can’t speak to the user experience on that.
Oh: It looks like the book is a dollar more expensive in the iBook version than it is in the Kindle version. Probably for the table of contents!
One big plus to the eBook format: you do have the ability to make the photos a little larger. I think anyone who has ever squinted over a ghost photo in a standard book will find this a plus.
So far people seem to like it, though I have seen feedback from a people who are firmly planted in “real book” territory who are disappointed that the book will not be released in that format. I can empathize, especially for my indie bookstore friends. But Weird N.J. is also a small business (smaller than most people think!), and the cost of printing, storing, and shipping books definitely makes eBooks more cost-effective for them. I have a feeling that you’ll be seeing a lot more from them in this format going forward.
If you pick up a copy of it, let me know what you think.