13. Ebook Formats
by Katy Loffman
Have you considered producing your book as an ebook? This is an electronic form of the book which can be read on a computer or laptop, on an ebook reader such as a Kindle, or even on an iPad or mobile phone.
The ebook is very like the printed book, in that it has a cover and table of contents, followed by the text, but it doesn’t always allow for all the design features of a printed book.
So, if your book has a complicated page design with graphics and illustrations, it may have to be simplified for the ebook.
If you have already decided that you want to publish an ebook, make sure you let your designer know at the outset.
Because people like to read ebooks on different kinds of ereader, they can be produced in three versions: PDF, ePub and Kindle.
- PDF-based ebooks retain all the design features of the printed page, so they suit books with complicated layouts, but they can’t be reduced easily for reading on a small screen.
- ePub is the most flexible format and most widely used. It is particularly suitable for books that are mostly text, with only a few illustrations. Ereaders currently on the market include the Sony Touch or the Sony Pocket. The iRiver Touchscreen has the advantage of linking to Waterstone’s via a WiFi connection which means you can download ebooks without attaching to a computer.
- Kindle is the most basic format, and is unique to Amazon and the Kindle reader software. The software can be downloaded to a pc, an iPad and a laptop, as well as to the Kindle reader.
Like printed books, ebooks are sold through retailers and library suppliers all over the world. One way of reaching these outlets is to use a sales agent.
For retail sales, each ebook format needs its own ISBN.
In the UK, VAT is charged on ebooks (unlike printed books) and ebooks are often priced about 25-30% lower than a printed book.
For most titles, ebook sales are much lower than paperback sales, but it is easier to keep the ebook available on the market because it will never go ‘out of print’.
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