No, this is not about a bookshop.
It occurred to me that there may still be a few online readers who aren’t sure what the deal is with e-books. I don’t even have an e-book device myself and yet I’ve published some ebooks. So I want to share a few tidbits that may help others who are also still learning about them.
Melanie and I publish through two companies. With one, we do “regular” books. Lulu does what are called “print on demand” (POD) paperbacks for us. That means they don’t print a book until somebody places an order for it. The orders can be filled quickly, so there’s very little wait time. Here’s a starting page for me at Lulu and one for Melanie.
This has become a popular way for independent authors to publish because it eliminates the need and cost of printing lots of books that may not sell at all.
Lulu gives us the best royalty when our books are ordered directly from them. But they also distribute most of our titles to other online bookstores. When third parties help like that they get a large cut of the price, as payment for helping make the book available. So we trade some of our royalty for the extra exposure to other book buyers.
But I wanted to talk about ebooks. E-books have really come into their own in the past half dozen years or so. E-books are simply computer files that can be read on special book reading devices (Kindle, Nook, etc.) or on computers or cellphones (iPads, laptops, etc.). Ebooks are easily ordered and downloaded from many internet bookstores. There are several different formats. This makes it hard to move the book you want to read from, for example, a Kindle to an iPad. You need to know what format to ask for when buying an ebook, so you can open it on whatever computer or device you are using. I have not entered this part of the ebook world. All my ebook work is done and uploaded from my desktop computer, and that is where I read any books I download. There are free apps out there to help you read any of the ebook file formats in use, so the variety of file formats is not a problem for me.
Melanie and I have published our ebook editions at Smashwords, the largest ebook publisher and supplier in the world. I like founder Mark Coker’s business offer. He has decided to take a chance with any author who wants to work with them in the ebook field. This means the author does the work of preparing the book and Smashwords will offer it in their own store and with distributors around the world at no cost. Smashwords earns a commision only if the book sells, and they offer authors the best royalty anywhere I have looked.
If you have ever wanted to publish a book, be sure and check them out. You should know that ebook files have some differences from files that will end up being printed on paper. There is a free style guide at Smashwords that covers all the details. I have edited the print and ebook editions of all our books, although some writers turn this task over to others when they don’t want to do it themselves.
Here is our list of titles at Smashwords (scroll to the bottom of the page). Some of these are free and all of them have generous free samples you can download or read online. They provide ebooks in every format. By downloading a book sample, you can make sure you’re getting the right kind for your book reading platform.
We also have some of our titles at Amazon. Amazon has the largest chunk of the online book buying market in the USA and they take the highest commission from authors out of sales. If you have a Kindle, you know how easy Amazon has made it to buy their ebooks!
Ebooks are growing in popularity as more authors avoid old, traditional book publishers by stepping up to this 21st century format. Have you started reading ebooks yet?