A small size e-publishing start-up with a team of 2 members as staff, that is a new entrant in the e-publishing industry hungry to gain recognition and grow in size and market share, would like to ensure that their e-books can reach the widest possible audience. During the development of their promotion strategy and after many writers agreed to publish their creations through them, they identified that the main problem at the moment is that each different e-reading device (such as the Kindle) requires different file formats and configurations.
The publisher would like to be able to roll-out the writers' material in a way that is compatible with all such formats. Moreover, wanting to promote aggressively their books they considered that it would be good if they could use crowd sourcing tools to create a potential customer pool and “harvest” their interests, something that might give them a competitive advantage. They hope for software that will maximise their distribution through enabling the production of content across devices with the minimum of fuss. This would increase their efficiency and profitability, as well as making their business model more desirable to authors.
The technologies they would wish for in order to realize their vision would be: innovative developments with respect to the interoperability of publishing software that grapple with the various formats being used in today’s publishing market.
This scenario accords with the existing direction of the mainstream ePublishing market and the development of software standards interoperable with multiple hardware eReader devices.
There aren't very many different file formats. The US solution to this dilemma is:
-- When the final draft of the ms is approved, strip out all of the author and editor's formatting, using what we call the "nuclear option." (See the instructions on KDP or Smashwords for more details)
-- Mark up the clean version of the ms with XML tags.
-- Generate the epub and mobi, and use the xml tags to speed up generation of the pdf for print (POD or offset, as necessary). NB: doing an ebook without a print version cuts sales of your ebook, as well as abandoning all the sales of the print version.
-- Enact the marketing plan.
It's as critical as it ever was to have a full, complete, and well-thought out marketing plan BEFORE you start the final draft of the ms. This should include an specific, concrete listing of the benefits that your readers will get from the features of your book, a specific description of your target reader(s), a listing of the places you can find large groups of those readers, and of the types of messages that are reaching those readers, and a list of ideas for using those types of communication in those groups to promote the book.
The software to do the conversions is already widely available (InDesign, Calibre, KDP, Smashwords' MeatGrinder, LaTex, etc).
The distribution of the book once the conversion is done is trivial. Take the converted file, upload it to your publishing account at all the major retailers used by your target reader (there are rarely more than 4) and move on.
Tracking royalties is a tad more difficult, but still easy. Use any industry-specific accounting program on top of any major small business accounting package. Example: Publishers' Assistant as a front end for QuickBooks. Batch results between them on a monthly basis.
The short version of the above: An ebook publishing company is a book publishing company. The ebook is just one more format.
The cost of publishing in e-formats is only about 60% of the cost of publishing in print, but the admin and ops issues are almost exactly the same.
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