Amazon’s Kindle format continues to be the most popular way to buy ebooks. It has spread thanks to the introduction of Kindle apps for almost every platform including mobile operating systems. You can literally buy, download and read books from the Kindle store on almost any computing device available.
Kindle sales account for somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of the market. For many people, ebooks are Kindle books. Will the growth of ePub—the format that ereaders like the Apple iPad, Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook and others use—erode Kindle’s market share? We don’t know.
What we do know is that there are now over 20 million ereaders in people’s hands. And we know that people with ereaders just read more. And buy more books. And that doesn’t include the hundreds of millions of smartphones, many of which can also host the Kindle app.
I’ve talked often about getting our books into ebook formats to take advantage of this burgeoning market. This week I got to do it myself.
Self-Publisher’s Quick & Easy Guides Headed to Ebook Formats
I’ve been busy with lots of projects lately, but I didn’t want to neglect to get my first two Quick & Easy Guides into ebook formats.
These reports, drawn from instructional blog posts on specific subjects, are pretty heavily formatted. They include photos, bullet lists, numbered lists, block quotes, subheads and more. It turned out to be a challenge to get them right.
They also have numerous links, which I think adds a lot of value to the documents. If you can just read about copyright and click a link right where you’re reading to go to the website where you can download a specific government form, that’s a user benefit. So the links had to work, too.
Conversion and Beyond
I used ebookconversion.com to do the conversions to Kindle and ePub. I sent them PDF files that I had checked rigorously, since they are the same ones that are on sale here. You can check the Ebook Conversion Service Directory for lots of people who do ebook conversions.
Pretty soon I got the files back. I used the Mac Kindle App to open the Kindle files and check them out. For the ePub files, I loaded them into iTunes and then synced my iPad, transferring the book to the iBooks application.
Here’s what they looked like when they were finished:
The Original PDF:
The Kindle eBook:
the ePub eBook:
In the end, I was pretty happy with the conversion. You can see I’ve switched the iBooks version to Verdana to see how it looks. All the links finally worked in all versions, and I was ready to publish.
Publishing, About As Easy As It Gets
I headed over to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (https://kdp.amazon.com/) and signed in with my regular Amazon account info.
You’re taken to your Bookshelf, a simple interface which lists your titles, and where there’s a button to Add a Title. Clicking this takes you to the first of two screens you have to fill out:
The first one has to do with your book and its content. The form is easy to understand and complete. Running down the right-hand side are context-sensitive help topics if you don’t understand any of the questions. Most helpful.
Once you finish this entry and upload a cover image, you go to the second page to answer questions about royalties. Here it is:
You can see here that I’ve elected to sell in the U.K. also, and that since the retail price is $4.99 I’m eligible for the 70% discount program, and I’m informed that each sale will earn a $3.46 “royalty” after the payment of a $.05 “delivery fee.” I’m happy with this arrangement.
It takes a day or so for the ebook to go live, and Amazon sends a link in an email to let you know it’s up and available for purchase.
Speed, Pure Speed
I had spent the time to take care of my ebook conversion to the Kindle format before starting this process. But I was impressed with how fast it was. With a description ready—and this is crucial, since it’s where you’ll put your sell copy and your keywords—and a graphic, you can publish on this platform in less than 15 minutes.
I put this Guide into the Kindle Store about that fast. The combination of digital content, which doesn’t have to be any particular length, and digital delivery to all those apps on all those devices, will surely change the world of publishing.
As each Guide is ready, I’ll be uploading them to Kindle and letting people know they are available there. Next I’ll send the ePub files that were made at the same time to the retailers that deal with ePub. Here’s a link to this first one:
Photo by kodomut. Amazon links are affiliate links.