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How to ePublish Your eBook for eReaders: Kindle, Sony, Nook and Others

Updated on February 9, 2012

Self-Publishing Your eBook

They have only been around a few years: Amazon's Kindle, Sony's Sony Reader, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Apple iPad, and already they have seriously changed how eBooks are ePublished. In case you have been in a cave technology-wise, all of the above are eReaders (e is for electronic) that are purchased and the books you want are eBooks that are downloaded for a fraction of what a standard book sells for. That is why they are so popular. A book that normally sells for $25 may only be $5. The eReaders also have the benefit of carrying hundreds of books in digital files, so no need for book shelves and books.

All of the standard book method about publishing have gone out the window when it comes to eBooks. This is why ePublishing the book yourself may make you serious money. Many hardbound books are now also eBook versions. There is no real difference between the two, content-wise.

An eBook is an XML doc. Converting a Word .doc or PDF type file is generally what happens and one must know certain guidelines while you are in either type file before conversion, because an eReader is different. The biggest sellers of eBooks are Sony Reader and Apple iPad, Amazon's Kindle is the third largest. A printed book version with an ISBN number is NOT the same ISBN used when the same book is converted to eBook, in fact, the ISBN is not needed by some sellers (both Sony and Apple do require it). Even if you had a publisher of your hardbound book, you, as the author, can sell the ebook version at 70% royalty. The publisher of the hardcopy is only in control of that version.

You can upload your .doc\PDF directly in Amazon's Kindle, setup an account, set the price and royalty. If the upload is approved, it goes online and is sold in the USA, in UK, in Germany. It is easy. Amazon also will send the book to other eBook sellers like iPad, Barnes and Noble etc. Unlike B&N, there is no limit as to the size in MB of the file. It's competitor, the Nook, is a Barnes and Noble product. You can do the same with it on their site once you sign up, setup etc. They only take files no larger than 20 MB. They sell mainly in the US. They do not accept PDF files.

Both Sony and Apple use a service called Smashword, their site is You use the same methods as the others, their acceptance is stiffer for eBooks because Apple and Sony read the XML files differently. You file could be rejected for a variety of formatting issues that you must find and fix. Once approved, the ebook may go to all of the eBook publishers named and many more. The critical factor for seeing your eBook on iPad or Sony reader is it must have the ISBN number for the eBook, which is not the same as the hardcopy book. So, you will have to get it.You are also limited to a 5 MB upload file, which means your book cannot have a lot of images. If you do not care, just post on Amazon and B&N, which do not require the numbers. Smashwords indicates that 35% of the readers prefer PDF, yet, oddly, they do not accept it, 15% of the readers prefer Kindle. Another 22% preferred Epub, which is Smashwords product.

Formatting Tips

Since all eReaders display things differently, the following are tips:

  • Keep font size to 18 pt or less (12 pt is best)
  • Create a copyright page
  • Images should be less than 2 MB and be at least 600 pixels wide x up to 2000 long (just be within those specs)
  • Use single returns after paragraphs
  • Use either Times Roman, Arial, or Courier New fonts only
  • If using caps in all letters of a word, use Capslock button
  • Try to avoid using double columns on a single page
  • Do not use super or sub scripts
  • For paragraphs, either indent by using the Tab on the first sentence OR use block paragraphs with a 6 pt. font space afterwards.
  • Never use more than 5 consecutive paragraph returns as it creates blank pages in an eBook
  • Never indents with space bar spaces or tabs
  • Do not use tables or graphs unless saved as an image

There are many more. I have found Amazon's ePublishing method the best and easiest. It allows larger files in more formats, they sell to millions here and in Europe. Second, is B&N. My advice is to publish your ebook on them all to earn the most income.

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