Ingram Blog

Have You Considered E-Books for Your Best-Selling Print Titles?

Technology is here to stay, and most people in the publishing industry are thrilled about it. Analytics and other technologies have made book distribution, along with publishing and marketing, easier than ever. What's more, authors and booksellers can now reach consumers all over the world. Even the cost of publishing a book has drastically improved with the advent of e-books.

Whether you are a first-time author or a seasoned self-publisher with multiple bestsellers under your belt, e-books open up an entirely new realm of possibility, increasing sales and expanding distribution.

Publishing used to be a tricky business. An author looking to have his book published would have to get an advance on the necessary funds or would have to pay for printing and distributing copies himself. Obviously, that often led to a lot of heartbreak and a lot of wasted paper. Now people are publishing their own e-books left and right, and using print-on-demand technology to print copies without breaking the bank. E-books offer a lot of opportunity, not only because of their cost-effectiveness, but also their potential for reaching worldwide distribution.

Why Should I Bother Converting?

When e-readers first started becoming popular in 2010, no one knew whether the trend would click, but it did. A 2014 study found that 50% of Americans own either a tablet or an e-reader, and 32% of Americans own an e-reader. If you're not giving that marketplace access to your book, you're missing out on a lot of potential sales. Why?

  • While print is still the preferred way of reading, 28% of Americans in 2014 claimed they read at least one book on an e-reader that year. That's more than a quarter of the readership you're missing out on, and that's just in the United States.
  • E-books are economical and cost much less than print books, so your financial risk is much lower.
  • You can reach a global audience without the hassle of physically shipping print books. People on the other side of the world can find your book, even if not a single store in their country carries it.
  • If your book is already a bestseller, retailers may have trouble keeping it in stock. That means you may potentially lose a reader every time they can't find your book. E-books allow them instant access.
  • Depending on the subject matter of your book, it might even sell better in a digital version. For example, many people use e-readers or tablets for recipe books and other how-to guides, because they're more convenient.
  • You have better control over marketing, price changes, and other changes. E-booksellers allow you to manage changes and sales reports online.

Is Converting to E-Books Difficult?

As you can see, there is a lot of untapped potential in the e-book marketplace, but perhaps the most convincing argument is that e-books are extraordinarily easy to publish, regardless of whether or not you already have a print version. Typically, the conversion process goes like this:

  • If you don't have a digital version of your book, like a PDF, you will need to get one by using a book scanning service. Chances are, though, you already have a digital version.
  • Then, use an e-book conversion service, which will take your digital file and optimize it for reading on an e-reader or tablet. You can and should check the formatting yourself. E-books are different from print books in that formatting should be kept to a minimum. You don't want a lot of strange fonts or margins because they may display inconsistently across various devices.
  • Make sure any images, including the cover images, are crisp and clear.
  • Once you're satisfied with the quality of your e-book, it can be published and distributed in minutes. Simply input your ISBN, metadata, list price, and bank account information. Upload your e-book and you're done. Many e-book publishers offer integrated distribution services as well.

E-Books Give You More Freedom and Expanded Distribution Potential

Once your e-book is published, you have complete control over it. That means if you want to drop the price and have a flash sale, you can. If you want to offer special incentives for people who buy the digital version, you can. What's more, you can use metadata and other information to make your e-book searchable and search engine-optimized. You might reach readers on the other side of the world who have never even heard about your book, just by using a few keywords and some descriptive meta titles.

Most importantly, e-books are inexpensive and fast, meaning that if your bestseller is out of stock, you can quickly get your book into readers’ hands without them having to wait for more copies to be printed. Normally, a traditional publishing process takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Converting your book to an e-book and publishing it online takes just days. Likewise, print-on-demand services totally negate the need for printing thousands of copies up front. Offering an e-book through a POD service allows distributors and retailers to order books on an as-needed basis. This might be a convincing selling point for smaller retailers who don't have the funds to buy several hundred copies outright.

What Are You Waiting For?

It seems, then, that the question shouldn't be "why should you convert your print book to an e-book," but rather, why shouldn't you? It's fast, easy, inexpensive, and gives you access to a whole new marketplace. What's to lose? In today's digital world, neglecting technology is not only a disservice to you; it's a disservice to your readership. Contact Ingram and let them help you get your book in the hands of millions of readers worldwide by converting your print titles to e-books.

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