An interesting webinar staged by Reedsy on the dynamics/underlying principles of the Kindle webstore. With an astonishing 70,000 titles published per month (!) independent authors really need to understand the platforms to which they are uploading their titles. While it may be dispiriting to see one’s book chunked into tiny little categories and subject to algorithmic vagaries, there is also power in exploiting this really quite remarkable flood of sales data.
One of the distinctive aspects of ebook publishing is the willingness of authors and publishers to vary book pricing. Some of this may be an attempt to find the ideal price for a given book, but others are following a more sophisticated playbook, a little like the strategies employed by airlines with ticket sales. Kindle itself has Kindle Countdown Deals, though there are built in limits to the use of this particular tool. PublishDrive makes the following observation:
And WriteHacked has a long post on the topic spelling out all of the options and reasoning behind them
The ebook landscape is dominated by Amazon Kindle, but there is a world of ebook consumption beyond Jeff Bezos’ realm. Smashwords aggregates together a number of ebook selling services as does its newer competitor Draft2Digital. Kindlepreneur has done yeoman’s work in comparing the two services in detail, even going to the trouble of contacting their respective CEOs. Spoiler alert: Draft2Digital wins!
A note regarding the preparation of your book manuscript for ebook conversion, from our preferred ebook converter, Warren Broom:
What can be done in the ePub format:
Firstly, to convert to the epub format, we require a print ready PDF. This must be single page single column. If not, all of the sentences that form each column end up shuffled like a deck of cards. We will also need an ISBN and a description and subject to place into the meta-data that shows up on the retail site. Descriptions should be kept to 2 to 3 paragraphs.
We prefer to take the images from the pdf as many have captions that we include in the image so that they do not get separated from the image. We do all images in colour for those reading devices that support colour but, of course, they will render in greyscale in those that don’t.
We can only do tables that are two cells wide as any more and the words start to get squashed up at higher zoom levels. Tables with more than 2 columns are done as images. Sometimes when table cross “pages, some of the text can separate but this is not usually a problem.
If the text is justified, some words break in two, utilising a hyphen. Once again, this is not really a problem but, if the author wants to avoid them, we can align the text to the left.
Table of contents:
eBook reading devices produce a digital TOC but we usually add hyperlinks to the TOC in the ePub for earlier reading devices that don’t. We can also link sub heading to the TOC but they are not really necessary.
Redundant in ePubs as all reading devises have a search function. However, if the author really wants to include an index, it should only include single word references as multiple words will link to all references in each of each word included within the entry.
We place all of the footnotes at the end of the chapter and can link the reference within the text to its’ corresponding footnote. I can also add a return link back to the text the reference is in. It should be noted that footnotes are very time-consuming and can dramatically increase the price of the ePub.
Fonts can be embedded but, many reading devices have a default font that overrides the embedded fonts. A maximum of 2 fonts can be embedded. It is also possible to add audio and video to an ePub but, this is very complex and dramatically increases the file size and also, the cost. Our recommendation is that that a hyperlink to an external website be employed to view or listen to these forms of content.