Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Ebook distribution options

We've just set up some new ebook distribution channels.

In addition to Ingram, who distribute through many of the major ebook retailers, we have added two large niche providers.

I say large niche, because of the ebook formats that they use.

The first is Amazon, who are advertising their new Kindle ebook reader aggressively on TV and in the press. Priced at £109, the Kindle device is an ebook reader, plain and simple. We've seen ebook readers come and go in the past and the key to success really has to be title availability. Kindle uses a proprietary 'AZW' file format, hence the niche position.

Unlike ebooks that come as ubiquitous PDF files, the Kindle format only works on the Kindle reader. Luckily, a software reader is available for a few other hardware platforms.

The second is the Apple iBookStore. Apple are rather more difficult to trade with because they only accept submissions to their AppStore and iBookStore via their authorized agents. Ingram have just signed up as an agent, and so we have signed up with Ingram. This means that you can get your book onto the Apple iBookStore through a professional and credible publishing imprint rather than one of the horrible imprints of some of the rather amateurish distribution channels that are available.

Apple iBooks use a rather stringent version of the 'epub' file format, so getting books published on the iBookStore is actually more complicated than getting a book into print.

One of the biggest problems is graphics; ebook readers are really designed for text novels, not for books with illustrations, so if your book has diagrams, charts and graphics in, we have to do a fair bit of work on the conversion. Also, if your book contains fancy fonts and formats for chapter headings or callouts, don't expect to see them in the ebook version unless you're talking about gold old fashioned PDF, where the ebook will look just like the printed book.

iBooks are available for iPads, iPods, iPhones, iMacs and probably anything else that begins with an 'i'.

The first title to hit Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks will most likely be The Pitching Bible by Paul Boross.

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