To Sum It Up

Posted: January 30, 2011 in Self Publishing

It’s time to delve into the options I might want to use to e-publish.  I’ll start with brief summaries and then dip into them more in depth in individual blogs later.  If anyone wants to suggest something else, let me know in the comments and I’ll check it out.

My three part criteria to help me choose is

  1. the easiest and fastest way,
  2. where and how widely distributed, and
  3. what is my cost and potential profit.

Amazon Kindle

  1. You can upload directly to Kindle Direct Publishing without having to go through a third party “aggregator” which would charge for their services.  (I still haven’t quite understood what an aggregator does, but will research more in depth later.)  You create your own cover and use free formatting software like Mobipocket eBook Creator to turn your Word document into the Kindle format before uploading.
  2. Distribution only includes the Kindle format and library, but since the Amazon eBook store is one of the largest markets for ebooks right now, that is one of the biggest markets for my book.
  3. The author gets a 70% royalty on books sold, although there are rules that I have to explore in depth to find out what exceptions there might be.  There is no charge to format or upload the book.

Barnes & Noble’s Pub-It (Nook)

  1. Pub-it has a similarly direct to eBookstore publishing setup as Amazon, but also includes a free conversion tool that converts a Word, text or html file to an ePub file which is a more generic format and can be read than more devices than just the Nook.  So it does the formatting without having to use other software.
  2. Downloading books from the Barnes and Noble website is easy and almost as popular as Amazon.  Also, since Pub-it creates an ePub file, there may be a way to use that file to publish on other sites/devices or directly from a web page.  Something I need to research in detail.
  3. B&N has a kind of a complicated royalty system.  The author gets a 65% royalty if the book is priced from $2.99 through $9.99, with anything below or above that range only paying 40%.  The lowest you can price your book is .99 and the highest is $199.99.  Once again, there is no charge to format or upload the book.

Apple iBookstore
(Apple seems to be more secretive about their publishing.  Neither a quick intranet search nor scanning through several articles on how to publish iBooks provided a link to paste here.)

  1. The difficulty of finding a link to publishing on Apple’s site seems to indicate it will not be as easy to access as the two above. It does take the ePub format and I would have to use a free software program like Calibre to format my Word document before uploading.  One article said I would have to use something like Smashwords or Lulu to get into their store.  Are they considered aggregates, I wonder?  (More on Smashwords below).  One more caveat–you need a Mac do do this.   Luckily, I have a Macbook, but if I didn’t have one, I certainly wouldn’t go out and get one just to publish my book.
  2. The iBookstore does not seem to be as popular as the Amazon eStore, but with iPads and iPhones all the rage, it will get bigger and possibly better.  On the other hand, you can download Kindle, Nook, and Kobo apps onto your iPad so even if you don’t publish in the Apple iBoostore, people can still buy and read your books on their iPads/iPods.
  3. Smashwords and Lulu have costs associated with using them (see below) so if there is not way to direct publish to the iBookstore that is an added expense.  After that expense, though, you do get a 70% royalty like you do at Amazon.

These are the three biggies, besides Border’s Kobo, but I haven’t seen anything yet that says you can publish direct to Kobo.  I suspect this is what an aggregator does once you have your book in the proper format, allowing you to publish to stores like Kobo, but also taking a portion of your royalty to do so.

Next time Smashwords and Lulu and a couple more obscure options.  Man, this is a lot of work.  I’d rather write another book than to all this research!


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