Good question! The simplest way to answer is to say that we actually weren't going to offer ebooks at all, but one of our previewers asked for the option and we were happy to oblige. We decided to build ebooks into the project in a way that wouldn't make the reward levels too complicated—by offering them as an alternate option in the backer surveys. The paperback book is the main event here, and we highly recommend picking up a copy. It's going to be a gorgeous book that feels great, and if you don't like to keep paper books lying around you can give your copy to a friend when you're done with it and totally make their week.
Here's the more complicated reason: We're really good at making and selling paperbacks here at Microcosm, but ebooks are a lot harder for us. We do make them for all of our books. But the cost to format each ebook is between $100 and $900 in staff time (depending on how image-heavy it is) and our ebooks average lifetime sales of less than 100 copies each. Meanwhile our average print cost for books we mass produce (in the USA, thank you very much) is under $1 per copy. When you do that unhappy math, you can see that ebooks cost us at least as much as paperbacks to produce, and some of them cost 9 times as much. Most of them never, in fact, make back that initial investment.
So why are ebooks usually cheaper? The unfortunate reality is that the publishing industry has been boxed into a corner by large companies...one in particular...that are working to dominate the entire book market by flooding the market with books, cutting out all labor costs, and devaluing books generally. When we offer an ebook on Amazon, say, we are required to charge no more than 70% of the cover price of the paperback version, *even though that ebook costs us more to make.*
Actually, for this project, if you choose to get an ebook instead of a print book when you fill out your backer survey, it will cost you a little bit *more* than a print book, because Kickstarter will charge you for shipping and then... nothing needs to be shipped. So if price is a real problem for you, then your best fiscal strategy is to sit out this project and buy the ebook for 30% off cover in April when it comes out. But if you just want to support independent publishing, read a great book, and stick it to the man, now you know a few more great reasons to do all those things!