According to a September 2010 Publishers Weekly sales report, ebook sales continue to rise, jumping 150% in July, a month when all print trade segments reported a decline in sales.
What does this mean for you as an author? If you want to maximize book sales, you will want to get your print titles into ebook format.
If you have contracted with a publisher, the publisher may have already converted your title(s) into ebook format, or have plans to do so. If you are an independent publisher and hold the necessary rights to your manuscript, you can do it yourself fairly easily, as long as you adhere to formatting requirements specified by retailers.
Several retailers sell ebooks on the internet, but for maximum exposure you will want to get your ebook listed on Amazon.
Partially due to Amazon’s popular Kindle reader, not to mention the fact that they sell a huge percentage of the books sold in the U.S., Amazon has become a leading seller of ebooks. To publish an ebook with Amazon, go to their digital text platform and read their Kindle Publishing Guide to format and upload your manuscript. You’ll see that Amazon recommends uploading your manuscript as a HTML file, but a Microsoft Word file will work fine and is much easier to edit and manipulate into ebook format. Amazon allows you to preview your file after you upload it, so if you see spacing problems, etc., you can edit and reload before your ebook goes live. Royalties authors receive through Amazon range from 35% to 70%.
A nice benefit of having your ebook listed with Amazon is that your ebooks are available to be purchased and read not only on the Amazon Kindle, but on a variety of gadgets, such as the new Apple Ipad using Amazon's free Kindle for Ipad application. Amazon also has free applications for folks to read ebooks on their PCs and Macs, as well as Kindle for Iphone, for Blackberry, for Android, and others. Here is the link to get started: https://dtp.amazon.com/
Another useful place to publish your ebook is with Smashwords. Again, they have their own special formatting procedures you must follow. Smashwords prefers a Word file but with simple, barebones formatting stripped of tabs, extra paragraph returns and all those nasty little hidden codes not always visible in Word files. Like Amazon, Smashwords also converts your ebook into a variety of formats. Smashwords not only sells your ebooks through their own website, but also distributes it to a number of other online retailers. Royalties vary, depending on the individual retailers.
You can also save your ebook as a simple PDF file and sell it from your website using PayPal or other seller tools. PDF format is a perfect format for the “picky,” like myself. If you have photos, tables, charts and special layouts in your manuscript, PDF works well because it is a static file and doesn’t “flow” like ebooks do on readers such as the Kindle and Ipad. With PDF files, what you see is what you get. You may, however, want to add security to your PDF ebook, such as making it so that it cannot be copied or printed. If you don’t have the software to do this, you can do it by going to http://www.pdfonline.com/convert-pdf/ and signing up to use the free Beta BCL Premium PDF Online Service. This service allows you to secure PDF files up to 10 mb in size.
With the popularity of ebooks rising and a variety of ebook readers being produced and improved upon, the time is right to consider turning your print titles into ebooks if you have not yet done so. The process is easier than you might think. Of course, everything seems like a mystery until you know how to do it, but if you read and follow each retailer’s guidelines, you can expand the sales potential of your books.