eReaders

Why eBook authors can’t convert PDFs to ePubs

No PDFs Allowed!

Creating beautiful eBooks is EASY!

It seems like the easiest way to create an eBook exactly how you want it to look would be to create a stunning PDF, right? WRONG! At this point, in the world of eBook technology, it is impossible to convert a PDF directly into an ePub. A PDF is a print format, so PDF documents are basically less-structured versions of their word-processor originals. While PDF content is made to look really good, it actually includes very little structure. And by that I mean that it doesn’t contain enough clues about the function of text elements (like bold, italics, spacing, line breaks, indentation, paragraph alignment, etc.,) or how they should be displayed in a different context (I.E. YOUR EBOOK). This means that converting a PDF document to ePub first requires conversion to a more structured text format, like Microsoft Word… So now you’re back to the basics.

As an author, you have to remember that an eBook just isn’t a print book. Look at the books on your eReading devices and you’ll start to get a better understanding. Each eReader is different. On my Kobo, I can even change the font type, which would totally disregard whatever the author initially chose. Honestly, I love this option. Years ago (before my love affair with eReaders) I tried reading a paperback copy of Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie three times and could never seem to get into it. Then, while visiting a friend, I picked up her copy and started reading it without any trouble. Upon closer inspection of my own copy, I realized that the font was just too difficult to wrap my eyes around. It was old fashioned and looked slightly smudged on the somewhat yellowed page. My friend’s copy was crisp and clean and so easy to read. As much as I miss the smell of an old book, being able to read The Brothers Karamazov on my eReader, in a lovely modern font type, is a dream come true. The most important thing about reading is actually being able to read. It’s not the smell of the book, the feel of the pages, or even adding another title to your ever-growing bookshelf; it’s about the story, it’s about imagination, and it’s about losing yourself over and over again to the power of a good book.

I’m off track. The point of all of this is that the formatting from a PDF can’t be extracted because it just doesn’t work as an ePub. If you want nice clean formatting in your eBook, all you need is Microsoft Word (for you Mac users out there, you can save your Pages doc as a Word doc). Using the BookRix Self-Publishing service couldn’t be easier with Word, just write your story and make sure each chapter title is formatted as a “Heading” (you can find the Heading option in the same tool bar as bold, italics and alignment – just look to the right, you can’t miss it) and then, when you create an eBook our editor will automatically set all those Headings as chapters. This way, when you download an eBook you’ve got a fully interactive table of contents. Easy-peasy, right? RIGHT!

Self-publishing is about freedom and ease, so take advantage of it and spend more time writing!

Who Reads eBooks and How It Affects YOU

Image from Random House
When you’re thinking about marketing your book, you should know more about your consumer and how many people out there are actually reading eBooks. To determine how publishers and authors are going to adapt to this digitally savvy target group, Random House wrote an article that puts the e-book reader under the microscope. Some very interesting facts were revealed, for example, women are reading 10-20% more than men. For eBooks, 63% of readers are women. Hmm, could that possibly be the reason why Danielle Steel and E. L. James are enjoying long weekends at their vacation homes in the tropics? Kind of makes you want to add a little romance into your novel, doesn’t it? Honestly, that wouldn’t be a bad move. Thinking about real life hormones, does anyone really get through any event in their life without libido getting in the way somehow? So why wouldn’t your zombie novel have at least two characters becoming romantically involved in the midst of the blood and gore of the apocalypse? A little chemistry goes a long way.

What does this mean for authors?
Well, it means that developing your presence and building buzz across a wide range of online platforms where eBook consumers can be reached (including your website, blog, social networks, and reading-focused sites) will become increasingly important as eBook and eReading device adoption continues to grow.  -Random House

Image from Random House
Random House also shared that 60% of eBook readers are under 45 years of age, 66% of eBook readers have a degree, people who read eBooks have a higher income than those that read print books, eBook readers spend less on each book they purchase, and the most popular genre is Mystery & Suspense. Don’t get discouraged if you’re writing a Science Fiction novel about an elderly man who doesn’t have words in his vocabulary that exceed three-syllables. There is still a market out there for you, it just might be a little smaller. And don’t forget – the statistics surrounding most popular genre are constantly in flux due to ever-changing trends. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, the popularity of Erotica went through the roof. And although vampires have always been represented in literature, Twilight brought them back to the front lines of fashion and style – basically they’re hot-hot-hot.

The good news is that over 20% of American adults have read an eBook (and this number just continues to grow), and people who own eReaders are 56% more likely to get their reading recommendations from online bookstores and other related websites. (Great news for the wonderfully online and book related community that is BookRix!) And now, the point of this entire blog: What does this mean for the author? I’m going to leave it up to Random House, because they have the perfect answer: “It means that developing your presence and building buzz across a wide range of online platforms where eBook consumers can be reached (including your website, blog, social networks, and reading-focused sites) will become increasingly important as eBook and eReading device adoption continues to grow.” – Mina Park, Senior Analyst, Consumer Insights (Click HERE to see entire article)

Is Amazon Losing its eBook Domination?

As digital publishing explodes, more and more players are tossing their hats into the ring—including authors, publishers and device manufacturers. How is this affecting the long-time industry leader, Amazon?

ereaders-ebooks-kindle-amazon

Since launching its revolutionary, best-selling Kindle eReader in 2007, Amazon enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the digital book market until recently. In the third quarter of 2010, the Kindle device retained a smaller, yet still impressive 41.5% market share, representing 1.14 million of 2.7 million eReaders sold during that period.

However, the online giant is rapidly losing ground to up-and-coming competitors like Apple’s iPad tablet, Sony, Pandigital, Kobo and the Barnes & Noble Nook, which now claims 25% of the eReader market.

When it comes to eBook sales Amazon still reigns supreme, boasting 950,000 digital titles that represent 60-65% of the market, as announced at BookExpo America last month. This past January, Kindle sales surpassed paperbacks in the Amazon online store and as of one month ago, they are outselling all printed books offered by the company.

If the iPad2 and Nook Color continue gaining in popularity, Amazon will be challenged to maintain its domination of the eReader and eBook markets. They have already responded by offering a lower-priced, ad-supported version of the Kindle, and it will be interesting to see what comes next.

Stay tuned and we’ll be sure to keep you updated at Between the Lines, our BookRix blog!

E-Book Sales More Than Double in 2010

eReaders_digital_books_on_BookRixAccording to the Association of American Publishers, domestic sales of e-books jumped from $166.9 million (3.2% of combined trade sales) in 2009 to $441 million (8.3% of combined trade sales) in 2010. That’s an increase of 164.4% in just one year, and 623% since 2008, when sales were $61.3 million (only 1% of trade sales).

Meanwhile, printed book sales have been steadily decreasing. Kindle content revenues on Amazon.com have overtaken hardcover sales (since July 2010) and paperback sales (as of January 2011). Amazon reports selling 115 Kindle e-books for every 100 paperback books sold since the beginning of the year and up to 180 e-books for every 100 hardcover books.

We believe the e-book market stands to grow dramatically as more and more consumers acquire e-reader devices. A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life project claims that 5% of American adults currently own e-reader devices such as the Kindle, Nook or Sony Reader. These devices appear to be most popular among baby boomers, with 7% between the ages of 47 and 56 and 6% aged 66 to 74 owning them. However, since many people read e-books on their smartphones, tablets and computers, these figures vastly underestimate the total number of people who read e-books.

Speaking of which, here’s a quick tip: Did you know that much of the downloadable free e-book content available here at BookRix in the ePub format can be uploaded to and read on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch using the Stanza e-reading app?

With nearly 15,000 book and short story titles available for free on BookRix, you’re sure to find something you enjoy reading on your smart phone, e-reader or personal computer! And don’t forget to check out the new SocialBook© by BookRix writing feature authors are using to create collaborative digital e-books, with most available for download and written together online by multiple authors!

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