First Choose Your Format: Guidelines for an All-important E-book Decision

October 2004
by Marshall Masters

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Are e-books on the upswing? You bet, and I believe we’re still on the shallow end of an explosive growth curve. When e-book sales achieve critical mass in just a few years, publishers who’ve developed and honed their own e-book publishing strategies will ride the wave to the top.

Used strategically, e-books offer the little wins that can boost marginally unsuccessful print titles into the black. They can be a real help with author relations when sales are skidding toward the vanishing point because it costs next to nothing to keep e-book titles on the virtual shelf. And you can use e-books to stretch your promotion budget by sending electronic galleys out for reviews and distributing free promotional copies of your titles with oodles of hyperlinks back to your Web site.

Regrettably, the prevailing equation for many print-book publishers is: e-books = enigmatic, thanks to incompatible formats. Multiformat e-book publishing can be expensive, because R.R. Bowker requires a unique ISBN for each format or electronic binding (have they got a sweet deal or what?). Therefore the first strategic decision must be which format or formats to use. The strategic tips that follow will help you position yourself for immediate and long-term success using one of the four that are most popular.

Adobe E-book

If you want to publish in only one e-book format, make it Adobe E-book (PDF). Here’s why:

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