Thursday, August 4, 2011

ASK PZM - August 2011, ebooks

Q: Should authors be paying attention to all the eBook activity? Are there new opportunities for us?

Absolutely we authors have to pay attention to what is happening in the arena of eBooks. But I admit it is not easy to keep track as things are changing practically at the speed of light.

First, there are the different eBook platforms. Chris O’Byrne wrote a very informative blog post on where throughout the world the different eBook formats may be found.

(Full disclosure: I hired Chris to convert my novels “Mrs. Lieutenant” and “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders” to eBook formats. And I didn’t really understand where these eBooks would be available until I read this blog post.)

One of the sites on which Chris uploads eBooks is – look at the “Mrs. Lieutenant” Smashwords page at to get a feel for the different eBook formats available for your book.

Second, let’s talk about how you can read eBooks if you don’t have an eBook reader (which I don’t yet have).

If you want to read Kindle eBooks, you can download free Kindle software for your computer from the Amazon site. Then you can purchase Kindle eBooks and read these on your computer.

You can also download free software from to read the ePub version of eBooks.

What does this mean for all of us?

First, consider older books of yours put out by publishers. Your contracts probably did not give the publishers your digital rights because, until recently, these weren’t even considered. If so, you may be able to have eBook versions of your books available now even if the publishing rights haven’t yet reverted to you.

Second, if you have books whose rights have reverted to you, definitely get these out as eBooks.

Third, in signing any new publishing contracts, pay careful attention to digital rights.

Fourth, if you are self-published, get your books on eBook formats now.

Gifting your eBooks: If your book is in the Kindle format, from the Amazon page of your eBook you can send a gift of the eBook plus there’s a sampling option.

If your book is in the format for Barnes & Noble’s Nook, you cannot send a gift of the eBook from the Barnes & Noble site but you can get a free sample there.

(I tweeted a suggestion to the Barnes & Noble account on Twitter -- @BNBuzz -- that the company consider adding the gift option since it is available for Kindle eBooks.)

Advantage of eBooks: Immediate delivery and (usually) lower price than a physical book are the two main advantages. But there are several other advantages, including people in countries where your book is not otherwise available now having the ability to easily get their hands on a copy of your book.

Children’s book pictures: As I write this post there are still limited eBook platform options for children’s picture books with color pictures. But I expect this limitation to be resolved soon. Already children’s picture eBooks can be read in color on the iPad and on the color version of the Nook.

As new tablets come on the market to compete with the iPad while eBook readers in general come down in price, more and more people will be buying eBooks. You want your books in eBook formats to be available to these readers.

(Special request: I’m looking for people who might like to read my new eBook-only novel “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders” for a possible Amazon review. I can email review volunteers an ePub version to be read on a computer with the free software from Calibre. But you have to like this kind of story – see )

© 2011 Miller Mosaic, LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic. You can learn about her fiction and nonfiction books at her Amazon author page at

For your pleasure, I'm adding this link to an article Phyllis wrote on Shirley Windward, 92, author of the fantasy novel "The Ednalor Mysteries." 

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Last but not least, Blog Jog Day is upon us. Visit my blog on August 7th for a chance of winning a copy of my new psychological thriller Broken But not Dead. August 7, 2011... here.


  1. Thanks for this great info! I am trying to keep up with all the changes in publishing, so this helps. :) My kids and I bought my husband a Kindle for his birthday recently, but when I have free time he's always using it. Guess I need to get one of my own eventually!

    Have a great weekend,

  2. Interesting post!

    I love the feel of print books, will never tire of them. But,as a reader, I love the convenience and price of ebooks you said...the immediate delivery.

    As a writer, I love the accessibility of ebooks...I like thinking that more readers have access to my books--or any books for that matter--because more people can now afford to read.

    And the industry IS growing quickly, and I'm anxious to see what it holds in store for us.

  3. Thanks for these comments. I do believe that eBooks are going to become more and more advantageous for writers.

    Here's an interesting question I've been thinking about today:

    Right now the international book fairs are only for physical books. When might these fairs include eBooks?

  4. Thanks for the info on ebook format. I know another author who is also present asking for reviews. :) It's cool to know about digital rights. There are so many changes in the publishing sphere that it can be overwhelming. Have a great day!

  5. @Karen, I love my Kobo. I'm sure it's not as fancy as a Kindle, but it does exactly what I want it to. Luckily, no one in my family has discovered that yet. LOL.

    @Carol, I love the feel and smell of my books. It's still a surreal experience. And while I love the convenience of my Kobo, I too could not give up holding a real book. I especially love that I can see how much is left to read or where I am in the book. Those little acts make the whole experience richer.

  6. Phyllis, great question. I can see a huge screen at each individual section with the publisher showcasing their best sellers. But even that's too vague.

    Thanks for such an informative article.

  7. Joylene, I like the image of a big screen showcasing different eBooks. But I'm not sure even that will be necessary.

    Imagine eBook reader devices so inexpensive that each publisher exhibiting at an international book fair gives away eBook reader devices pre-loaded with that publisher's offered eBooks.

  8. That's what is so terrific about blogland. So many bloggers willing to help their fellow writers. Hope your day's going well, Laila.

  9. Great information. I have a few nonfiction ebooks published. Two or three are on Smashwords and two are on Kindle. Working on more!


  10. That's great to hear, Karen. Congrats. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. I have been published for the first time for my paranormal mystery, Sullivan's Secret, and I love the ease of having it sold on the e-book circuit. My stats have proven that e-books sell more than my paperbacks. Although I don't have a Kindle or Nook Book...yet, I think the e-book market is more than a phase :)

    Great post, enjoyed this!

  12. Robin --

    Thanks for leaving this comment.

    Interesting that your own stats support what I've read about Amazon's stats -- ebooks outsell physical books.

    Here's a new post I just wrote about using social media to promote your books or ebooks --

    There's a terrific example of a tweet that promotes an author's book but without "selling."

  13. Thanks for stopping by, Robin. Best of luck on the book giveaway.


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