Unfortunately, there is no one standard for eBooks and it may not get easier anytime soon as various hardware companies all want their own version of an eBook.
Make your life easy and keep it simple! Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com is your best friend in the eBook publishing and distribution world! With no cost to upload or host your book, Smashwords offers consumers multi-format ebooks ready for sampling and purchase on many eBook devices. They are as of the writing of this article:
- Sony Reader (LRF)*
- Barnes & Noble Nook
- Apple iPad*
- Kindle (.mobi)
- Palm Doc (PDB
- PDF (Adobe
- Rich Text Format (RFT)
- Plain Text
Note: To be distributed to the above formats, you will need to be accepted into the “Premium Catalogue.” Both the iPad and Sony require that you have an ISBN for your book. Smashwords sells them (at the time of this writing) for $9.95.
Although Smashwords distributes to Amazon, you may want to “opt out” of that distribution channel and DIY directly by uploading your book to the Amazon DTP (Digital Text Platform) http://dtp.amazon.com. Because Kindle users are accustomed to their book arriving directly to their kindle without any effort, many Kindle users do not know that they can email the book to their Kindle, nor do they know that they can download it from their computer to their Kindle via USB. For this reason, I recommend using Amazon DTP, because with this option, users can shop for your book either on their Kindle or their computer and have the book delivered directly to their Kindle. No muss…no fuss. The easier it is for them to access the book the quicker they will click “buy it now.”
Print On Demand (POD)
You should also choose the Print On Demand option for your Paperback or Hardback book. The only two companies I recommend (and for different reasons) are CreateSpace (owned by Amazon) and Lightning Source Inc.
- CreateSpace – Advantage: http://www.createspace.com – They have a user friendly interface and are VERY quick to get you an Amazon page. There is something to be said for this as they are owned by Amazon. Although you can upload your book for free, in the long run it will cost you more so I suggest that you pay the $39.00 for the ProPlan. You will immediately get your money’s worth by the reduced cost of the books. CreateSpace is “forgiving” with its Adobe PDF file type and will accept a cover in RGB color. Disadvantages: (1) Their expanded distribution channel is limited and has restrictions. (2) Cannot POD a hardcover book.
- Lightning Source Inc. (LSI) http://www.lightningsource.com – Owned by Ingram they have the best distribution channel both domestic and international (including Amazon) LSI is used by traditional publishing houses, but what most don’t know is that many of the “vanity” presses today are really subcontracting out your book and having it printed by LSI. Advantage: The quality of their product is consistent and probably the very best your are going to get. Their books are printed in the USA. They print both paperback (a.k.a. Perfect Bound), Hardcover Books with Dust Jackets and Case Laminate. A customer service representative is assigned to you. Disadvantage: (1) The file type that they require is “picky” — an Adobe PDF/ X-1a:2001 (fonts must be embedded) and (2) It costs money to print your title with LSI.
It’s important to point out that LSI is a printer and does not provide author services support (besides, that’s why you have NovelHelp!).
So save yourself a headache and keep it as simple as possible. Smashwords, Amazon DTP, and the POD of your choice.