The eBook market is huge and it is growing even further at a phenomenal rate. Here are a few facts to show you the potential of having an ebook with Amazon (Amazon refer to them as Kindle books):
- They are selling 2-3 times as many Kindle books as they are paperbacks
- They give 70% royalties on Kindle books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 (approx. £1.91 to £6.37).
- There are selling 3x as many Kindle books in 2011 as it did in 2010.
- 1 in 40 people in the UK were bought a Kindle for Christmas.
You’ll also be amazed that within 12 hours of your files being uploaded your Kindle books will become available to buy in the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy & Spain.
You don’t even need to have a Kindle device to read these ebooks. They have free to download software so that you can read the book on your PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad and many more.
You don’t even need to be a publisher to have your book on Amazon. In fact 20% of the top 10 best selling Kindle books of 2011 were self-published!
Best Selling Self-Published Author
An example of someone who really made it self-publishing is Amanda Hocking.
She received rejection letter after rejection letter from publishers. In the end she decided to self-publish on Amazon just writing for the Kindle. Within 6 months she had sold 150,000 copies and by 20 months that figure had broken through the million mark. With 70% royalties per book, you can imagine how wealthy she is now!
Will Everybody Make It With eBooks?
Unfortunately as with paperbacks and hardbacks there are no guarantees! However, you will find out in a very short space of time and at very low cost whether your ebook is going to make it. With Kindle books you get instant sales figures that are available 24/7.
With paperback and hardback books it can be so costly and time consuming to get them into print and into book stores across the world for people to see. It will also be a very long wait before you know if your books are selling.
Other Benefits of Amazon
Amazon even market your ebook for you! You’ll be amazed at the lengths they go to sell your book and if you know how to take advantage of their methods then you can really increase your sales.
Are There Any Other Major Companies That Sell eBooks?
I’ve personally sold ebooks through iBookstore in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany and Spain.
These major competitors offer their ebooks in a similar but different format known as ePub which has a far stricter level of formatting quality that ebooks need to conform to otherwise they won’t be considered.
How Do I Get My Books on These Online Bookstores?
There are two options in the UK when it comes to getting your book on the other main online bookstores (Barnes & Noble, Apple’s iBookstore). They are Smashwords and Lulu.
When I first checked these options out, Smashwords seemed the better option. The main reason being that they offered your ebook to other smaller online bookstores. To me at that time was the deciding factor. These online bookstores wanted several different file types between them so I figured Smashwords must really have their act together.
I formatted the Word document in the way they asked for (which was no mean feat!) and it seemed to pass all their checks and into their Premium Catalogue. You basically won’t make any money if you don’t get into their Premium Catalogue and you can only get into it if you reach a high level of formatting to their liking.
What I didn’t realise at the time is that you need to download the epub file that they create and check that it passes an online checker called ePubCheck. The Apple iBookstore has strict guidelines that it needs to adhere to this standard.
Smashwords suggest in their guidelines that if your ebook doesn’t pass this ePubCheck then you will need to use what they call the ‘Nuclear’ method. In the ‘Nuclear’ Method you copy all of the text from the Word document into Notepad then copy the text from Notepad into a new Word document. This strips all the formatting e.g font size and type, alignment, styles and links.
Something I noticed while formatting the Word document for Smashwords is that the range of font sizes and layout options that they recommend using are very finite. It dawned on me that because the file gets converted into so many formats they have to make a lot of compromises.
I tried Lulu and got quite a different experience. They only produce ebooks in the ePub format and their checker makes sure that your file passes the ePubCheck. You can upload files in a range of different formats including Word. I personally prefer to upload all my files in the ePub format. That way I know exactly what the ebook will look like when it is published.
As I have been saying all along, quality matters when it comes to the success of your ebook. I believe you get a far better quality of ebook with Lulu and therefore more desirable to the customer.
Are These eBooks Any Good for Disabled People?
You don’t get much better than this (when it is formatted right) to cater for disabled people.
When it comes to people reading the text, you can alter the size of the text, words per line, brightness and the colour mode (e.g. white text on a black background. You can have interactive Table of Contents to stop people having to thumb through to the content that they want to read. The Table of Contents can be accessed at any time for very easy navigation.
Amazon produce an Accessibility Plugin that allows screen reader software enabling an ebook to be read out loud. There is no Braille reader version yet but I’m sure it is on its way. Speech software isn’t quite the same as a professional reading it on an audiobook but the speech has moved on a very long way and is readily accepted.
Do Amazon Have a Similar Scheme for Paper and Hardback Books?
Believe or not but getting your book listed and marketed is free for paper and hardback books as well. As with ebooks, Amazon don’t charge until a sale is made. They have invested in equipment to print books on demand and so they don’t need any stock. When a customer buys your book Amazon takes the costs of printing your book and a commission out of the money that it received when the customer paid.
The only way you can be out of pocket is if your book price is less than sum of Amazon’s print and commission charges.
Why It Is Best To Have a Paper Version As Well As a Kindle Version
Having a paper book and not having an ebook is a bit like major authors having a hardback and not a paperback.
With the only possible cost of an ebook as well as the paperback being the formatting & cover then you really shouldn’t need to think about it. Many people are missing out the paper versions all together!
In my opinion the main reason for having your book in paperback isn’t the sales from the paperback (although that is nice), but to give people confidence that your ebook is a good/great ebook. Their reasoning being that if it wasn’t a good ebook then they wouldn’t go to the trouble of a getting a paper version done.
Why Am I Telling You All This?
Both the Kindle & the ePub formats are built around HTML standards as essentially all eReaders are very basic web browsers. As such, we will convert your file into HTML and handcraft your book into the best possible ebook version. this includes a far higher quality of design, clean code and smaller file sizes.
Cleaner code means that the ebook will look and work at its best across a wide range of platforms. Smaller file sizes means it is easier to download by the customer but more importantly large file sizes are sometimes subject to a delivery charge.
Producing them this way means you can see exactly how the ebooks will look before they are uploaded as opposed to uploading other formats and hoping for the best!
I Don’t Just Stop There Though!
Getting your ebook produced is only part of the equation. Giving your book the best chance of success on Amazon is a different ball game. Decisions on what categories, keywords and tags to use are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to giving your ebook the best chance.
I will offer you a marketing plan that doesn’t involve using Facebook and other social media, but strategies to use within Amazon which could make the difference between succeeding and not. I can’t guarantee success but I can guarantee that the deck will be strongly loaded in your favour!
Can’t I Upload Word Documents To Amazon For Free?
It is a misconception that you can take your word document or whatever and upload it as is onto Amazon. Your document needs so many changes before it will be pass the inital stage.
Even when you’ve managed to get it to pass this stage you still need to check if it actually looks right when it has been converted. In the past Amazon have had many complaints about badly formatted ebooks and now take active steps to weed them out. Customers now have the opportunity to a see a sample of the ebook before they buy and are not shy of leaving a bad review.A bad review on formatting can have long lasting negative effects on your sales.
The software used by Amazon to check the documents being uploaded is quite forgiving but what gets through can be very suspect even by following any guidelines. People who are serious about formatting Word documents themselves use guidelines given by either Smashwords or Lulu who distribute ebooks to other online bookstores. With the ebooks they convert being for other companies and not for themselves, they go to greater lengths to make sure that what they are offering is a well formatted ebook.
Their guidelines are to produce a similar format called ePub which like the Kindle is an HTML based format. Many devices such as the Apple iPad use both the Kindle & ePub formats. Formatting your document this way will kill two birds with one stone by providing a document formatted for both of the ebook formats and increase the chances of selling your ebook.
At the end of the day you want to give them value for money and the best way to do that is to give them the best quality ebook you can give them. Formatting using HTML creates the best quality ebook when it comes to formatting as well as a small file size. Amazon attach a download charge to larger files and they soon add up.
How Much Do You Charge?
For a full list of the services I offer and their prices please go to the order page