2-8 Prepare an eBook

eBook is short for electronic book, also called a digital book. An ebook is the digital version (at least in theory) of a printed book that can be read on a computer or a special eBook reader.

The major advantage of eBooks to authors is that books can be produced without paying for printing, shipping or inventory. The major advantage for readers is that they can be purchased and read immediately.

One of the big issues in eBook production is that there is no standard format, although we are getting closer. Just as music has been on records, cassette tapes, CDs and now is available in MP3 download, so eBooks are evolving.

Another issue with ebooks is how easily they can be sent to someone who hasn’t paid for them – something authors and publishers want to prevent. This whole issue is called digital rights management. Many of the conversions have built in properties to secure ebook usage to a single computer or ebook or in other ways prevent copying.

The difference between most eBook readers and computer screens is the use of something called eInk technology. The screens of ebook readers are usable in direct sunlight (unlike computer screens) because of a higher-contrast technology.

eBook Readers

Similarly, eBook readers do not yet have a standand format. . The most popular ebook readers right now are the Amazon Kindle, including upgrades to the basic Kindle, the Kindle fire and the Kindle Paperwhite.  In addition are the Barnes and Noble Nook  and Apple’s  iPads, Kobo and Cybook Odyssey .

Creating eBooks

To create an ebook you must have a designed book ready for print. It is just as important to have an ebook professionally designed as well.

To create an ebook version as a PDF of a book and cover to read on the computer is easy – just like creating a PDF of any document. To create a PDF ebook, add a PDF of the front cover to the beginning of a PDF version of the book, making sure to change the ISBN on the copyright page. It is a good idea to ask the book designer to create this for you.

To create an ebook version that can be used on a reader is a little more complex and to make matters worse, each of the readers has its own proprietary conversion language that works only on that reader, making conversion difficult and somewhat costly.

When your author is doing a printed book first, some book designers are capable of doing some or all of the conversions to book readers, so it might be a good idea to do the conversion at the same time as the book is being designed. Most of the major publishers release ebook versions at the same time as print versions, but it is up to the author as to whether to do this or not.

Best Source for Conversion from printed to electronic

The best place to convert the author’s printed book to an ebook is at KDP.Amazon.com. This is another reason to use Create Space as one of your printers – so they will have the manuscript to convert.

BookBaby for conversions is the cheapest direct conversion option available out there right now.

First, you’ll need to set up a BookBaby account.

Then submit the file for conversion.

They will notify you when a proof is available.

Ask them to supply a Mobi file format (Mobi files load onto Kindles and ereaders;  Epub files load onto iPads).  BookBaby will send both Epub and Mobi files.

BookBaby will send both Epub and Mobi files.

BookBaby will then send you a Mobi file proof.

You can then double check the proof and make revisions.

You can use the proof files to publish Epub directly to KDP.

Publish just to KDP and if the author wants they can use the Epub to distribute to Barns and Noble for Nook.

eBook Numbers and Listings

An ebook of the author’s printed book must have its own ISBN. An ebook does not have library cataloging information because you can’t shelve an ebook in a library.

An ebook also does not require a Bar Code since it doesn’t physically need to incorporate the ISBN and price in a scannable form.

Retail Pricing

We are only going to talk about Kindle, because if you can select only one – this is the one to select.

The author can select the price, but general pricing for ebooks is between free and $14.99. If the eBook is priced $2.99 to $9.99 the eBook author receives a 35% royalty on each one sold. There is also a 70% royalty option, but this includes the author paying for shipping internationally and other services. I find it better to stick with the 35% royalties.

eBook Distribution

Amazon now carries more than 350,000 books plus many magazines and newspapers for Kindle and users can download almost anything in less than 60 seconds, anywhere in the world with wireless capability. Here are Kindle’s current capabilities:
• Get books delivered wirelessly in less than 60 seconds
• 6-inch electronic ink display provides users a “read like real paper” experience
• 2GB of internal memory stores up to 1,500 digital books
• Read For Weeks On A Single Charge – supports over 2 weeks with wireless turned off or up to 4 days on a single charge with wireless on
• Read-To-Me – Kindle can read most newspapers, magazines and books out loud thanks to the Text-To-Speech feature
• Automatically syncs with Kindle and Kindle compatible devices
• Wirelessly send and receive documents in a number of formats including Word and PDF

Barnes & Noble launched an eBookstore (www.bn.com/ebooks) which started with 700,000 e-books that can be read on a wide variety of platforms priced at $9.99US. The total includes 500,000 public domain titles from Google that can be downloaded for free.

Other places where ebooks are sold (and where Lightning Source provides distribution) include:
• Powells.com
• Ebookmall.com
• Diesel-ebooks.com
• Fictionwise.com
• Booksonboard.com

Future of eBooks

Most book industry experts feel that digital revenue will exceed print revenue in this decade, but now digital revenue is about 10% of the total publishing revenue.

As of today, more ebooks are sold than hard cover books. Eventually most books will be sold primarily as ebooks and “special ordered” as print books.

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