As a self-publishing author it is quite likely that you’ve considered publishing your book as an ebook.

A cost-effective publishing format

Ebooks offer a very low-cost way to publish a book, whether you do it yourself or use a paid/royalty-based ebook conversion service. Self-publishing (whether ebooks, print books or both) is becoming increasingly popular as it means that you can earn higher royalty rates, get your book into more online book stores and, of course, gives you full control over the pricing and other aspects of the publishing process.

Advantages of Ebooks over Printed Books

  • Ebooks are convenient and practical. You can take your bookshelves with you wherever you go. This is particularly advantageous when you are travelling and may have luggage and weight restrictions.
  • You can access ebooks at the touch of a button. Within seconds, you can buy an ebook and download it to a variety of devices, including a tablet or smartphone, a laptop or notebook or a specialised e-reader. You don’t have to visit a book store or wait days or even weeks for your purchased book to arrive in the mail.
  • Ebooks are a cheaper option than printed books. There is no need to store piles of books or pay for packaging and delivery. When books cost less, people tend to buy more.
  • Producing an ebook is kinder to the environment than producing a traditional book as no paper is required.
  • Because of their search function, it is easy to find relevant information in an ebook than a printed book. Just like a search engine, typing in a few words will allow you to find a particular section of a book easily and quickly.
  • Ebooks offer a value-added reading experience as they can incorporate a variety of media such as videos, graphics, audio and animation, to help authors convey their message.
  • Ebooks can be sold and distributed efficiently via online book stores, which means they are available to readers from all over the world. In addition, ebooks are now available from most public libraries.

Different Types of Ebook Formats

Reflowable ebooks

Reflowable ebooks have no fixed pages. Text and graphics reflow to fill the reader’s screen depending on whatever font and type size the reader has selected.
If your book has a simple design that’s mainly text (or it has small images that are embedded between paragraphs), a reflowable ebook format is a good choice because it is versatile and can be viewed on the majority of tablets, smartphones and and e-readers.

Genres that are usually created in reflowable ebook formats include:

  • novels
  • short stories
  • biographies and memoirs
  • non-fiction books with simple page formatting and few graphic elements.
Fixed layout ebooks

A fixed-layout (or fixed-format) ebook has defined pages like a print book or PDF. The elements on the page are formatted and laid out in the same way as for print books or PDFs.

Fixed layout ebooks are visually striking and suit non-fiction books with illustrations or design-heavy page layouts such as children’s books. Fixed layout ebooks can be viewed on all screens except eInk Kindles (original, PaperWhite, Voyage). Consider using a fixed layout ebook format if the text in your book needs to wrap around images; graphics, illustrations or other images need to stay in a specific position within the text; or you would like to set a background colour for your book or create multi-column text pages (like a magazine layout style).

Genres that are best suited to fixed ebook format conversion include:

  • cookbooks
  • illustrated children’s books
  • travel guides
  • photography books
  • health and fitness books
  • art books
  • comic books
  • some types of textbooks and business books.