I’ve been learning about eBooks. Not what they are or how to read them, that’s easy. But how to create and market them.
An eBook, if you happen not to know, is an “electronic book,” i.e., a manuscript, whether previously published in print or whether ever scheduled to be print published, that is put into a read-only file and posted online. eBooks can be made available for free or for fee.
eBooks have taken the publishing world by storm. No, make that by tsunami. Amazon.com introduced the Kindle in 2007, a portable eBook reading tablet similar to Barnes & Noble’s Nook (2009) and Apple’s iPad (2010). Barnes & Noble is selling three times as many eBooks as print books and since introducing the Apple, iPads have captured 22% of the eBook market.
Recently, Amazon announced: “By July 2010, Kindle book sales had surpassed hardcover book sales, and six months later, Kindle books overtook paperback books to become the most popular format on Amazon.com. Today, less than four years after introducing Kindle books, Amazon.com customers are now purchasing more Kindle books than all print books - hardcover and paperback - combined.” This is a pretty amazing change in consumer behavior, a genuine phenomenon.
I’ve been learning how to turn a manuscript into eBook format so I can place more of my writing online and so we can tap into this materials distribution method with SAT-7 USA. What I’ve learned is that it’s not difficult, but like anything worthwhile there’s a time investment and a learning curve required. I’ve given it enough to know that new eBook software is available—that’s what formats the text and makes those cool turn-the-page-on-the-screen eBook functions. And through one of my sons I found a gentleman who does this for a living, so I can talk to him, send my material, pay him an appropriate though modest amount, and get my eBook set up more quickly and more professionally than I could do it myself.
I’ve learned that each book, including each eBook even if it’s simply the electronic version in toto of a printed book, must have it’s own title and a unique ISBN. The ISBN or international standard book number is governed and recorded in the United States by the Library of Congress. They outsource the task, currently to Bowker, and you go to this website, set up an account, and purchase an ISBN for $25 or so. Or you can order ISBNs in blocks of ten or higher if you’re a publisher. Once you receive a new ISBN, you register it on the same site together with the title of your book and, Voila, you have an eBook.
If you haven’t seen an eBook function, ask a friend to give you a demo with an ereader like the ones listed above. Then I encourage you to take the plunge and buy your first eBook for your laptop or for the new ereader you acquire. If the growing number of Kindles, Nooks, and iPads I see on planes is any indication they’ll soon be everywhere.
And oh by the way, you can get my eBooks when they’re released ever so soon. Watch this space.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
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