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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Why eBooks Matter: Opening Up New Opportunities For Authors and Groups

eBooks are a big focus and there are a ton of positives going on.  eBooks not only provide great advantages for individual readers and authors, they are opening up a variety of new avenues for new business models and new revenue opportunities for groups like non-profit organizations.  Let's take a look at some of the differences in print publishing and ebook publishing and how you can capitalize on the ebook opportunity.

Distribution Made Easy

In the print publishing world there is often several "hands" involved.  The publisher, the distributor, and the bookseller all have a role and each get a percentage of the sale.  Since costs of warehousing, shipping, and returnability agreements can be significant; getting a book on shelves in a store can be difficult for new or one-time authors/groups. This process can be lengthy as well sometimes taking months.

In the ebook world, costs are minimal.  Therefore companies selling ebooks can provide services which allow you to upload your ebook and make it available for readers to download.  The time from upload to being available for purchase is reduced to hours.  The quoted average turn around times is about 72 hours which can be less.  When I recently uploaded my ebook, "The Connected Church: A Tech Guide For Church Leaders and Parishioners", to Barnes and Noble's Pubit the ebook was available within 24 hours.  It was less than 48 hours with Amazon's Kindle Direct.

Reaching More Readers In One Shot

As most authors will tell you, there is always the tough job of bustling around to get their book on shelves within stores and trying to get books sold.  This is often contained to local booksellers.  In the ebook world, readers have access to the book where ever they are.  Once the ebook is uploaded readers using ereaders or ereader apps can easily find and download your ebook to their device of choice (i.e. PC/Mac, iPad/Tablet, iPhone, Android phone, Blackberry, etc.).  Rather than spending large amounts of time getting the book on shelves, you can focus more time on telling people your ebook is available.

With ereaders and ereader apps on mobiles devices, readers are carrying entire book distribution systems and book stores right in their hand.  Readers can easily find books, make a decision to buy, and download direct to the device.  Within minutes they are reading the book.

Self Publishing Without the Costs

Even with more self-publishing print options available today such as print-on-demand through companies like iUniverse or Xlibris, there are still upfront costs and no guarantees that the book will actually hit the shelves in stores.  Due to distribution costs there are often low percentage payouts which requires a large number of sales just to break even.

In the ebook world there is no upfront costs.  Pubit!, Kindle Direct, Smashwords, etc. are free services.  In addition the author sets the price and can provide the book at the price they feel is appropriate.  Payouts percentages within this model average 65% to 70% to the author/publisher which are unheard of rates in the publishing and bookselling worlds.  Let's look at an example as a possibility and do the math:

$2.99 ebook x 65% = $1.94 per sale.  1,000 ebooks sold x $1.94 = $1,940

Opening Up New Opportunities

This is where it takes a little thinking "out of box" to see some amazing new opportunities for not only individuals, but also groups.  Let's take the most common example, the group cookbook.  Churches and other groups such as Flagler County's Friends of the Library have produced cookbooks in print.   They could take that same book and publish it as an ebook offering great new opportunities to reach more buyers without cost and higher payout possibilities.  This same concept can be applied to Churches creating a collection of faith stories from members of their community.  Schools and educators could use this new avenue as an educational and fundraising opportunity by creating a book as a class/school project.  Students can write and publish their own books as a project for class.  The possibilities are real and seemingless endless right now.

Book publishing then . . .

Book publishing now . . .

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