My E-Book Road: 2 - Online Advice from Others

Well, I've decided to buy a group of ISBNs from the official site, and I've got a pretty good idea on what software I want to use for my e-books (that's a separate post, later) so today, I went surfing around to see what I could find.

I have several questions: how do I get my books popping up on Amazon.Com? Do I need to have paperback versions of my e-books, or isn't that defeating the purpose? Can I get on Barnes & Noble too? Should I set up a DBA with a new website, just for the ebooks?

Here's some good articles I found:

1. Plug Your Book - May 2007, "How Can I Sell My E-Book on Amazon?"

Steve Weber says there's just 3 steps to getting your ebook on Amazon: (1) own your rights; (2) supply the ISBN; (3) open an account with MobiPocket which requires use of their proprietary format.

Weber also suggests that you offer a paperback version of your book, because people still prefer holding books in their hands rather than reading them on screen. (Touche - I know I do.) This, he suggests, isn't hard, either - he advises opening an account at Lightning Source, which prints on demand - no stocking of inventories here - and then supplies the copies to Amazon (and other online retail booksellers, too). In other words, someone buys a paperback version and LS prints one up and ships it over to the book retailer to ship out. Cool.

Finally, and this is real daydream fodder, Weber also advises that if your book becomes really popular out there, LS will keep on printing so you can sell the thing on shelves in actual walk-in stores, like Borders down in the mall. (Though he warns, at this point, you might want to get that inventory going because offset printing is cheaper at this point than LS's print-on-demand option.)

2. The Guardian, March 2008: "Penguin audiobooks to be free of copyright protection"

Penguin and other publishing houses just aren't sure what to do with e-books, and the best quote in the article is a comparison of Kindle to I-Pods. I-Pods make downloading music easy and fun for folk, but no one has developed an analogous machine for the book. Penguin's trying something here with getting rid of a hurdle to its offerings being available on a variety of readers by just throwing out the digital copyright protection technology.

Think this is stupid, and in doing so, are they waiving infringement claims here?

3. HappyAbout

An interesting "quick to market" book publisher -- offering books to a specific niche, in three formats: paperback, e-book, or podbook with a size range of 80-150 pages.

4. PelePublications

A site created by one of the writers shown over at HappyAbout, Catherine Kitcho. She's offering books, ghostwriting, at the site -- and other things as a publisher registered with the Library of Congress. Which is a nice thing to read for those that don't know you've got to register there when you buy that block of ISBNs over at Bowker (see earlier post on ISBNs and Bar Codes).

5. March 2008: Random House puts bestsellers and new releases in ebooks for public libraries

Overdrive is the top digital book distributor to libraries, and it's announced this month that it will be offering over 6500 Random House best sellers and new releases (we talking big books here) to public libraries in both the adobe PDF and the Mobipocket PRC formats.

Sounds like e-books are going to be more accepted as time goes on, and that's good news for me. I've already seen some books over at the San Antonio Public Library in my researching this past month that were available as e-books.