If you’ve written a book and would like to publish it as an eBook, there are a lot of options worth considering. If you’ve already formatted your book in Adobe’s InDesign software, you should take a look at this blog post on Converting your InDesign document into an eBook. If your book is currently formatted as a text document, keep reading!
If you’d like to distribute your eBook yourself, you’ll need to convert the text of your book to an eBook file. Calibre is a free program that gives you a great deal of control over the conversion process. There’s a helpful guide over at OSX Daily that will walk your through the process. Essentially, what you’ll need to do is save your text as an HTML file, download the Calibre software, choose format settings, enter author information, and export your book.
If this process seems a little bit daunting, Apple’s Pages software can make the process a lot easier. While it is not free and it only works on Mac computers, creating an ePub file from Pages is as simple as choosing “Export” from under the Share menu and choosing “ePub” from among the output formats. You’ll have less control over how your final product looks and functions, but it might save you some trouble.
Once you have your ebook file, you’ll be ready to publish it to one or more of the internet’s many online bookstores (and even make some money from your book). There are a several different venues you can pursue:
Apple’s iBooks store can give your book a great deal of exposure, as it immediately makes your book accessible to anyone with an iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Mac computer. Apple’s free iBooks Author software makes it easy not only to publish your book to iBooks, but also add interactive features like pictures and videos. The downside of iBooks is that they’re only compatible with iPads and Apple computers; Kindles and other e-readers won’t be able to open files produced by iBooks Author.
Amazon’s Kindle Store is currently the most popular platform for eBook sales, so it’s a good bet if you’re hoping to reach the widest audience of eBook consumers. They offer a great guide for getting your book formatted for the Kindle Store at the Kindle Direct Publishing website.
Barnes and Noble’s PubIt service also bears a mention. While it’s not as well-established as Amazon’s service, their rates are competitive and they allow users a great deal of control over pricing and formatting. Their format guidelines are available at the PubIt FAQ.
In many cases, it’s easier to skip the self-publishing process entirely. There are several services that will convert your book into a variety of eBook formats and distribute them automatically to a wide variety of online bookstores. Smashwords.com, for example, is a service that will convert and upload your document to the Kindle, iPad, Nook, and several other eBook stores for you. If you’d like to branch out even further, Lulu.com will distribute your ebooks free of charge, but they also specialize in offering a print-on-demand service that allows customers to order an honest-to-goodness hard-copy version of your book.