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Old 06-06-2011, 05:46 AM   #1
silviolorusso
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Best platforms for e-book publishing

Hello,

I'm quite new to ebooks and I would like to publish media theory books on the web and then offer these for free.

So I'd like to ask you which are according to you the best platforms for self-publishing. I'd like to know also which are the most common platforms.

Lastly I ask you if you know any “hybrid” solution, something mixing ebook and print on demand service.

Thank you
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:55 AM   #2
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Here is what friends of mine that self publish books do: They have downloaded and installed Calibre and Open Office (oppenoffice.org). They write the book in MS Word format then use Open Office to translate it to PDF, they then use Calibre to translate the PDF to Amazon's native format as well as several different langueges including: Spanish, German and Chineese. Frequently they will also translate the book to epub format as well. They will then post the results on Homestead.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jbcohen View Post
Here is what friends of mine that self publish books do: They have downloaded and installed Calibre and Open Office (oppenoffice.org). They write the book in MS Word format then use Open Office to translate it to PDF, they then use Calibre to translate the PDF to Amazon's native format as well as several different langueges including: Spanish, German and Chineese. Frequently they will also translate the book to epub format as well. They will then post the results on Homestead.
That seems awkward. Usually, it's preferable for PDF to be a final format (or for printing), not an intermediate format.

I would: write in OpenOffice, export HTML, and use the HTML as the intermediate to the desired formats to be offered. I'd skip Word altogether unless the publishing platform required it.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:35 PM   #4
silviolorusso
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Hello everybody, thank you for your answer.

But I think I didn't express myself very well. For "platforms" I intended websites, aggregators for ebooks.

Examples: Kobo, Google Editions, Kindle, etc.

Any suggestion?

Thanks
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcohen View Post
Here is what friends of mine that self publish books do: They have downloaded and installed Calibre and Open Office (oppenoffice.org). They write the book in MS Word format then use Open Office to translate it to PDF, they then use Calibre to translate the PDF to Amazon's native format as well as several different langueges including: Spanish, German and Chineese. Frequently they will also translate the book to epub format as well. They will then post the results on Homestead.
You should never, EVER convert from PDF format to anything else - the results are horrible. Why on Earth are your friends doing something as strange as that? If they have Open Office, they can save their book as HTML which will convert beautifully to any other format.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:51 PM   #6
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I like http://www.feedbooks.com and http://www.getfreeebooks.com/

As far as I can tell you need to use their own edit/convert on site thing rather than upload a proper ebook, but it doesn't seem to mangle them as much as Smashwords does. Smashwords doesn't generate much traffic for me, don't know why.

For formats you should go for mobi, epub and pdf. Anyone who needs anything else will know how to convert those for themself.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:07 PM   #7
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Smashwords is a growing platform most folks here seem to like. From there you can reach kobo and barnesandnoble and ibooks and sony et al, without registering separately for each. I've heard mixed reviews of smashwords conversion quality though. Kindle is still the big kahuna, but they don't make it easy for indies to list books for free. There's a sticky post here in the writer's corner with additional perspectives and info.

I don't know of any integrated hybrid solution, but in addition to kindle, Amazon also runs a print on demand service.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:03 AM   #8
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I use Smashwords and agree that sales through that venue are minimal, as are sales through any venue except Amazon. I have found that if I prep a Word document following the Smashwords formatting guidelines then I can directly post that to Amazon through their Kindle Direct Publishing program. I also use OpenOffice and prefer that to Word, but I don't believe Amazon allows that format.

Dont' forget that you have to come up with a cover as well. There is an ongoing thread about the relative importance of covers, but any custom cover is better than none. I used a freeware program called Paint.net to design all my covers, except for The Magpie's Secret, which was custom drawn by my son. You can create perfectly acceptable covers with a little practice.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:27 AM   #9
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Dear G J Lau

I'm really curious about the covers you made. Can you send me a link?


Thank you
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:51 AM   #10
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In terms of electronic book stores some of my friends who write typically go to: Amazon and Google Books. I asked them why they do not go to smashwords or some of the other book stores that are typically discussed on this forum and they replied that the average person on the street has heard of Amazon and Google Books and thats it.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:11 AM   #11
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I publish through Amazon (azw) and my own website (mobi, epub & pdf).
Amazon accounts for about 93% of my sales, which seems to be consistent with what other indies report.

Amazon is the biggest player and as such unavoidable.

I don't like the formatting limitations of Smashwords. I might reconsider if ever they allow uploading epub-files.

I could be wrong (I probably am), but for the moment I prefer investing the energy I would have to expend to publish on and follow up several outlets on my own brand. In other words: I'd rather guide readers to either my own site or Amazon than to several others.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:14 AM   #12
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Exactly andrew this is exactly why my writer pals do not go much further then amazon, however they frequently go to Google Books.
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:30 PM   #13
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So far I have stuck with Smashwords and Amazon for ebooks, and then I have print on demand with lulu.com, but so far only family members have ordered a non-ebook.

Smashwords opens up Sony, Kobo, B&N, Apple, and etc. My biggest movers are Amazon, Smashwords, and then B&N in that order. Amazon is on the order of 75% of my sales so far with Smashwords and B&N splitting the rest around 60/40 or there abouts. Sony, Apple, and the others do not even register on a graph....
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silviolorusso View Post
Dear G J Lau

I'm really curious about the covers you made. Can you send me a link?


Thank you
Just click on the Amazon link under my signature. You will see thumbnails that can be epxanded into larger images.
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:20 PM   #15
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they replied that the average person on the street has heard of Amazon and Google Books and thats it.
I think very few people have heard of Google books, and I don't know anyone who's ever downloaded anything through them. Amazon and Barnes & Nobles still have a corner on web book sales. Borders sells quite a bit online too, but most of their business is still brick and mortar I believe. Now that they have their own e-reader though, that will likely change.

POD is a tougher nut to crack. There are places like LuLu that do a pretty good job, but unfortunately, even if you list your own publishing company, when the book comes out, online bookstores will still know (and say) that the book is avaliable as a "print on demand title". That automatically puts a negative spin on it. It would be nice if someone in the POD inductry would wise-up about this and find a way to provide a POD service without anyone knowing your company is a POD publisher, so that the general public would simply think that B&N or Amazon or even a local bookstore would just be out of stock on the title. Having it listed as POD is really the kiss of death in my opinion. Most people will turn their noses up at it.
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