A handy beginner’s guide to e-book formats, apps and devices

Originally Posted by: Piotr Kowalczyk

Date January 23, 2011

With credit to Piotr Kowalczyk, the first poster of this chart, originally presented by BookBee.net, and to Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn for reposting this essential guide for all eBook authors,.  When you have time, please take a look at Joanna’s soon-to-be-released novel, Pentecost, available on February 7, 2011.  I have read all of her excerpts so far and the book is just Brilliant!

As I started down the journey of writing Views from Sandhausen, I knew in my gut that I wanted it to be released as soon as possible in eBook format.  My depth of knowledge about eBook formats was essentially the same as yours, nil.  Once I started work with my book’s designer, Walt at Five Rainbows Services, I soon started to see that this evolving standard was both complex and much in a state of flux.  Therefore, this chart is a snapshot in time, the status of eBook formats on this date.  Formats will come and go but all authors, and indeed customers that read on their shiny new eReaders, need this information.

The next Big Thing is Enhanced eBooks.  These books will be sold as applications for your Smartphone, or as eBooks that you either download to your computer/phone, or “lease”, as you do in the Kindle model.  I’m not as big fan of ‘leasing’ my books but it is the only way that company’s like Amazon and Kindle can guarantee that, “If you buy it once, you can read it on any of your devices”.  This can be compelling when you read part of the eBook on the bus or train, during your commute.  Then you can pick up your tablet or PC, and be at the exact same place in your book as you were when you closed your Smartphone on the way home.

Enhanced eBooks.  This is a whole topic in itself and will be the subject of a future post.

Lastly, Views from Sandhausen is receiving GREAT reviews and yesterday we saw the greatest audience that we have seen to date.  Thank you kind readers and I will be focusing on additional topics, in addition to my little project.

Stay warm, and Go Steelers!!!!



One response to “A handy beginner’s guide to e-book formats, apps and devices

  1. Good job, Cliff.

    However, I disagree with two points (as I have been doing for some time with many other publishers):

    (1) I don’t think enhanced eBooks as standalone apps will ever make significant inroads in book sales. Why? Think about it. If you buy and read very many books, you would end up with a proliferation of apps, one for each book. And the apps would doubtless have to be customized for each reading platform. Oh, yeah, and they’d have to be priced much higher than more standard eBooks since the development of those apps is much more expensive.

    (2) I’m not even sure that enhanced eBooks, depending on your definition of enhanced (there is no standard for that at the moment), will become real popular for 90% of eBooks. Few eBooks really benefit from adding bells and whistles, which is all most “enhancements” amount to. The few that do should be designed from the very beginning (back in the manuscript concept stage) for enhancements. I know I don’t want to have my reading experience interrupted by inserted “stuff.” I’d much rather have a link to an external website where I can pick and choose which ones I want to see/hear/interact with and when I want to do so. I think most “enhanced” eBooks will be a flash in the pan fad.

    But that’s just one old curmudgeon’s point of view. YMMV.

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