Are you thinking about eBook publishing, but are unsure of where to start?
EBooks are an increasingly popular option for authors, publishers, and readers. Able to be read on any computer or on handheld devices, eBooks offer a level of convenience that was unavailable fairly recently. Not only are most print books available as eBooks, but the format has helped out-of-print books to be made available again, and given their rising popularity, some authors choose to bypass print publishing altogether. EBooks can also include extras such as audio, video, or hyperlinks. Perhaps most importantly for self-publishers, eBooks provide a low-cost option, free of the printing and inventory costs that come with traditional print publishing.
eBook Publishing Sales
As of early 2016, Amazon’s eBook sales in the US had reached 1,064,000 paid downloads a day. Measuring the earnings that actually go to authors, Amazon.com’s eBook sales are bringing in 1,756,000 dollars daily. And that doesn’t include the money going to publishers. And of course, represents eBook sales only on Amazon.com. Ebooks have become a massive market.
EBooks have opened up new options for self-publishers and smaller publishers, and have allowed almost anyone who writes a book to have it published. Out of Amazon’s eBook sales, 47 percent were from small publishers or were independently published. The eBook phenomenon has allowed these authors and smaller publishers to get an unprecedented foothold in the market.
However, this is no guarantee of quality. It is up to you, and your publishing service, to ensure the quality of your eBook, allowing it to stand out of the huge number being published. Just uploading your Word Document to Kindle Direct Publishing is not going to cut it.
One key decision you will need to make as an author publishing an eBook, is whether your book will use a reflowable, or standard layout, or whether it needs a fixed layout.
Fixed Layout or Reflowable eBook?
Most fiction and non-fiction authors will be able to meet all of their needs by choosing a reflowable eBook format for their work. Any book that uses a simple, one-column layout, and consists mostly of text, will translate well into a reflowable eBook. Any small images in the book can be embedded between paragraphs. If this covers your eBooks basic design needs, there are significant advantages to reflowable format. Since this layout is compatible with so many devices, it offers a large distribution network for your book. The format also allows readers some control over how to read the text, able to set options for text size, font and page size.
For authors, however, this means you will have less control over how the content will be displayed, and limits your choices when it comes to fonts. On the other hand, the reflowable format is also cheap to produce, uses a smaller file size, and can update more quickly. For most authors, the advantages outweigh any disadvantages.
Reflowable eBook Publishing
Reflowable eBooks can be uploaded to most large retailers, and will function on most eReaders and on computers. However, it is important to learn the format requirements for each retailer, which can vary greatly. Reflowable formats include Mobi for Amazon Kindle, and ePUB, which is used by Apple, Nook, Google Play, and Overdrive. EPUB format is not compatible with Amazon Kindle, so a separate Mobi file would need to be supplied. Even Nook has different ePUB specficiations from Apple. A company like Izzard Ink can help you sort through these essential variables.
Fixed Layout eBook Publishing
Fixed-Layout eBooks offer an option for books which depend on graphics, have a multi-columned layout, or have other specific needs when it comes to design and layout. This option is important for children’s books, technical books, cookbooks, illustrated books, and other books with special design needs. This layout will allow you more control over how the text is displayed, while leaving the reader with no options as to how to read the text. For this reason, it is important not to have your text be too small, and to keep readability in mind more generally.
Also, some retailers do not accept fixed layout eBooks, and not all eReaders support these formats. Types of fixed-layout formats include ePub3, for Apple and Google, KF8, for Kindle, and PagePerfect, Barnes & Nobles’ format. These formats have larger file sizes, and cost more to produce.
Why Quality and eBook Publishing Process Matters
At Izzard Ink, we know how to resolve issues with your eBook so it looks like your print book, and we make sure it will flow well on all devices, using a 38-point checklist. We will check the format to ensure it matches the print book, check the links and footnotes to ensure they are functioning properly, and we make sure all files are compatible with industry standards. Finally, we review the eBook against the original file to ensure everything looks the way it should. This process usually costs about 2.50 to 3 dollars per page depending on the source file.
A high-quality process for eBook publishing is essential for a professional-quality product. For self-publishing authors, a service like Izzard’s can make the difference, bringing knowledge and experience to the table. With the sheer volume of eBooks flooding the market, ensuring quality and readability is the first step to making sure your eBook stands out from the massive quantity of lower-quality eBooks.