My book, Goodbye God, We’re Going to Texas, has been available in paperback on Amazon.com since it was published in 2004. It is now available on the Kindle.
If you’re not familiar with that product, it is both a piece of hardware (similar to a tablet computer) that comes in various models and also as software (that can be downloaded to your computer or Smartphone.) The book is not available from Barnes & Noble or on their Nook.
I have posted previously about various e-readers, both as hardware and software. The big three of Kindle, Nook, and Sony have been joined by the new iPad and the iBookstore. I have a software version of an electronic book reader on my Mac laptop called eReaderPro that has its own online only “bookstore” at http://www.ereader.com (that is a Barnes & Noble Company that is unrelated to the Nook.) You can’t order eReaderPro books from Barnes & Noble. Borders is struggling to catch up but really isn’t in the game.
So if you’re not already confused enough, let’s just acknowledge that the process of downloading books directly online from the WWW to your device it still very dependent upon the proprietary hardware and software both of your device and that of the seller. For example, the Kindle software on the Mac will only work with the Leopard and Snow Leopard O/S and not with Tiger. The Nook version for the Mac will only work with Leopard. There is no standard electronic book-publishing format similar to the Adobe Acrobat free software for documents.
It was a relief for me that I didn’t have to reformat the book for Kindle since it is a complicated process. It also will help readers who now can get the book for $7.99 (vs. $17.87 in paperback), and it can be downloaded to your Macintosh or Windows computer, your iPhone, or your Blackberry as well as the Kindle. There are other online publishers that provide direct download services, but I won’t go into all of them here. Incidentally, I don’t get anything from the used bookstore sales from Amazon affiliates since they’re basically selling the sample copies that I gave away.
One of the major disadvantages of self-publishing is the high unit cost of the printed product because of the low volume. It’s cheaper than the minimum run with set-up costs for 5,000 copies of standard books, but it is a marketing disadvantage. In my case, the book was published through the print-on-demand publisher Trafford, which is a Canadian company. They set the price based upon the number of pages, and I have to pay a set price for printed books even to order from them directly. So I don’t do any direct sales since it’s a money-losing proposition.
What has been your experience with self-publishing?