What is an e-book
The content of E-books needs to be sufficiently engaging, appropriate, accessible, and visually appealing for distribution. They can be crafted based on a company’s field, helping to generate relevance in their content and thus providing deeper insights into the business or topics related to the product or service.
Characteristics of an E-book
Firstly, E-books are files that can be read on a digital device – a tablet, a smartphone, a computer, etc. However, considering that other files can also be read on digital devices (like Word documents), E-books have specific features that set them apart.
1. E-books Shouldn’t Be Editable
A distinctive characteristic of an E-book is that the text should not be editable. An E-book should always be converted into a format that ensures it can’t be edited. With thousands of people accessing it on digital devices, someone could potentially alter any content without the author’s permission. Therefore, to qualify as a true E-book, the text should not be changeable in any way, just like a paperback book.
2. E-books are Responsive
Another important feature is that true E-books should be responsive. This means that no matter the screen size you’re viewing the E-book on, it will always adjust to fit the screen; the text will remain properly formatted with line breaks and chapters, and images will resize to match the device you’re reading on.
There’s an exception: PDFs. Since PDFs can’t be edited but aren’t reflowable, they technically don’t qualify as E-books based on the distinguishing features. However, with businesses leveraging the ease of downloading and distributing PDFs, PDFs have become “unofficial E-books” and remain a widely used E-book format.
If you look up E-book formats, you’ll find quite a few options. Dozens, in fact. However, the likelihood that you’ll actually use many of these formats is pretty low. To keep it simple, let’s look at just three formats known for their ease of use and capability to be used in a widely distributed format: EPUB, AZW, and PDF.
1. EPUB (.epub)
An EPUB, or electronic publication, is the most compatible format and can be read on a variety of devices, including computers, smartphones, tablets, and most e-readers (except Kindles). EPUB files are reflowable, making them true E-books and easier to read on smaller devices.
2. AZW (.azw)
AZW files were developed by Amazon for their Kindle e-readers. These files can store complex content like bookmarks, annotations, and highlights. But their use is limited to Kindles or devices with Kindle apps. Also, they can only be accessed from Amazon’s online library.
3. PDF (.pdf)
A PDF, or Portable Document Format, isn’t technically a true E-book by our definition, but it’s the format most people are familiar with. Created by Adobe, PDFs are known for their ease of use and ability to maintain custom layouts. Because they keep their format and aren’t reflowable, they can be challenging to read on a small screen. Despite this, they remain one of the most used E-book formats, especially by marketers.
Devices for Reading E-books
An E-book can be read on a variety of digital devices; essentially, any digital screen. Here are some of the most popular devices on which E-books are viewed:
In recent years, a device called an eReader (electronic reader) has been developed specifically for reading and storing E-books. An eReader is simply a portable device on which E-books can be read. Some of the most popular eReader devices include:
- Amazon’s Kindle
- Rakuten’s Kobo
- Barnes & Noble’s Nook
Some of these devices were manufactured with built-in lighting so readers can continue reading even when they no longer have access to light.
Unfortunately, some models do not have this feature. For added convenience, companies like Amazon and Kobo created apps that allow you to continue reading from any device that has the app downloaded. This means you can start reading on your eReader and, when it gets dark, you can finish on your computer, smartphone, or tablet if necessary.
You might be thinking, “Why buy an eReader when I can easily use my smartphone or tablet?”
Well, there are some advantages that eReaders have over these devices.
- They have a long battery life. In fact, their battery can last weeks depending on usage.
- eReaders can hold thousands of books! I don’t know about you, but my iPhone’s storage fills up pretty fast. There’s no way I can store all the books I want to read and more. This is not a problem if you have an eReader.
- They are easy to read outdoors. Have you ever been sunbathing while trying to read an article on your computer or smartphone, but can’t because the LED is basically unreadable? Yeah, eReaders don’t have that problem.
Benefits of E-books
With the advent of electronic books in the reading world, have you ever wondered what might make them better than traditional paperback books? I have, and here are just a few of the benefits of E-books:
1. E-books Save Space
Some people are fortunate enough to have large libraries to store their books. But for book lovers without that extra room, E-books save a tremendous amount of space by allowing readers to store thousands of books on a single device. No more searching for space to keep your new books.
2. E-books Save Money
I know this one caught your attention because who doesn’t want to save money? With no manufacturing or shipping costs, E-books are cheaper than paperback books. The average price of an E-book is less than $5, while paperback books often exceed $10. It might not seem like much, but it adds up if you’re an avid reader.
3. E-books are Eco-Friendly
Possibly my favorite benefit of E-books. The book printing industry consumes 16 million tons of paper each year; that’s 32 million trees. And don’t get me started on the amount of pollution factories release into the air. We’re talking about a huge carbon footprint.
With E-books accounting for about 30 percent of book sales, they not only save energy and reduce pollution but also save approximately 9.6 million of those 32 million trees annually! A win for everyone.
4. E-books are Portable and Convenient
Anything that makes life easier for people is attractive, and convenience is something everyone likes. E-books are portable and convenient. With a compatible E-book reading device, you can have a library at your fingertips. Carrying your favorite books on your iPad, E-book reader, smartphone, or tablet (all light devices!) sounds much easier than lugging a thousand pocket-sized books if you ask me.
5. They’re Instantly Downloadable
These days, when people want something, they want it now. You can purchase an E-book from virtually anywhere on any E-book-compatible device with just the tap of a button and download it instantly. No need to drive to the store and wander for hours among dozens of shelves or wait for your order to arrive. E-books are easily accessible anytime and anywhere, and you can start reading right away.
6. You Can Change the Font Size of an E-book
Depending on the format (excluding PDF), you can change the font size of an E-book. This is especially appealing to those who have trouble seeing. No more squinting or searching for your glasses. Customizing the font size of an E-book is easy.
While you can’t change the font size of an E-book in PDF format, you can still zoom in on your device. It’s not as convenient, but it’s still something you can’t do with a paperback book.
7. E-books Have a Search Function
Unlike paperback books, E-books are easily searchable. Instead of flipping through pages trying to find a favorite quote or a part of the story, you can go directly to what you’re looking for by searching for keywords to find the section of your book you’re looking for. This is especially useful when you’re reading long books that would take hours to flip through looking for a specific page.
¿Why Create an E-book?
If you’re considering creating an E-book, it’s probably for one of two reasons:
- Self-publishing purposes.
- As part of your marketing strategy.
Whichever the case, let’s look at why you should go ahead and create an E-book.
Whether it’s a research work or simply a book you’ve been working on, self-publishing an E-book is a great idea for anyone who wants to share their ideas with the world. If you’re unsure about how to publish an E-book, don’t let that stop you; it’s quite straightforward and well worth the effort. Since E-books are shareable and easily accessible to readers, new writers can expand their audience by sharing their E-books online.
They are also an excellent way to gain confidence in your specific topic and improve your writing skills. Creating an E-book to educate readers allows you to expand your knowledge on the subject, establish your expertise, and develop your writing and editing skills along the way.
2. Marketing Strategy
E-books are becoming increasingly popular as part of marketing strategies. This is because content is the backbone of inbound marketing, and the quality of that content can make or break an inbound marketing strategy. When it comes to mastering your strategy, understanding what type of content works best at each stage will help you successfully plan your inbound marketing strategy.
E-books are particularly great assets in the attraction stage of the inbound marketing strategy. They create brand awareness and offer value to visitors (potential customers) by giving them something useful. If done well, you can convert those visitors into leads by gathering their contact details and moving them to the conversion stage.
As a marketing professional, writing an E-book is a great opportunity to be the one place readers want to turn to. With informative and valuable content, you’ll attract strangers to your website and provide your business with potential leads. How do those visitors turn into leads? By collecting their contact information, like their email addresses. A great example of how effective E-books can be in your marketing efforts.
How to Create an E-book
Learning how to make an E-book might seem overwhelming, but they’re actually quite easy to create and promote with a bit of guidance.
The process begins by defining your goals and audience. Why are you writing the E-book and for whom? Knowing these things will allow you to choose a topic that not only interests your audience but also aligns with the reason why you’re writing the E-book in the first place.
Once you have chosen a topic, pick a specific title that will draw in your readers. It should also give them a reason to want to read your E-book; a vague title won’t get you very far.
From there, start outlining your E-book by planning an effective introduction, breaking your E-book into chapters, and planning appropriate placement of calls to action throughout the E-book. Creating this outline will save you time once you start writing.
Writing your E-book should be fun. This is your chance to show readers that you are an expert on the topic you are writing about. Include details, be creative, and show them what you’re made of. Make sure to proofread your work once you’re finished!
Next comes the design. From the color to images, branding, and font, the design of your E-book should complement the content it includes. Your title should draw the reader in, but the design should help with that too.
To make your E-book appear reader-friendly, consider the format as well; break up large blocks of text with lists and images.
Finally, you’ll want to convert, publish, and promote your E-book! You’ve put a lot of thought and time into it. Therefore, promoting it is an important step. You want to ensure your E-book is seen and read. Creating a landing page, using social media marketing, and incorporating your E-book into your blog strategy are all simple yet effective ways to start promoting your E-book right away.
Juan Esteban Yepes