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Important: This article is for historical reference only. InfoHesive and InfoHesiveEP are no longer available or supported. Some of the links may be broken or no longer valid.
Amazon's wireless international Kindle, a hardware eBook reader, has hit the virtual shelves.
We take a look at the pros and cons of publishing to Kindle, and show how InfoHesiveEP, the ePublishing software from 2BrightSparks, allows you to take best advantage of the Kindle eBook platform, and at the same time provides ways to distribute your work to alternative channels so you can publish to the broadest possible audience.
Usage of hardware eReaders has finally taken off. Amazon have launched an international version of the Kindle, the Sony eReader is being promoted heavily in national bookstores, and a plethora of new devices are about to be launched, including a line of eBook readers from Asus.
The good news for writers and publishers doesn't stop there. Along with the new hardware, a range of publishing services have been launched. Amazon have their Digital Text Platform, and Sony have launched a range of their own. Add to this managed services like Pressmart and AuthorHouse and it's clear ePublishing is one of the biggest Internet growth industries around - even in times of recession.
This article will focus on the Kindle and Amazon's Digital Text Platform service.
A Short History
The Amazon Kindle was launched in November 2007. The Kindle is a software, hardware, and eCommerce platform developed by Amazon.com for reading e-books and other digital media. The integration of software, hardware, and eCommerce is important as all three work together to deliver the user experience that Amazon hopes will transform the way we buy and read.
A Kindle iPhone App is also available, however as of writing this is restricted to the US giving it limited exposure.
In October 2009 the wireless Amazon International Kindle was launched with the potential for global exposure on the Kindle platform for authors and publishers.
Reaction to the Kindle
Although the initial take up of the Kindle was disappointing, Amazon have persisted in improving the device which is now in its fourth iteration. I personally don't like the flicker that occurs with every page turn that "E Ink" delivers, and there are a number of other criticisms of the Kindle, including the relatively high price of the device and the DRM (Digital Rights Management) that is deployed on Kindle publications. That said, the Kindle is easy to use, stores hundreds of eBooks, newspapers, magazines, and blogs that can be easily downloaded via the Kindle Store, and features a range of useful tools like an on-board dictionary and wireless access to Wikipedia.
Before you dive in
So how can you publish to Amazon's Kindle? Firstly, you need something to publish. That may seem an obvious thing to say, but many aspiring writers think an idea or first draft is one and the same as a publishable work - it isn't. Your work needs to be complete before you consider publication - including a cover page, publication description, and short excerpt.
After you complete your work ask your family, friends, and colleagues to read through it before publication, as once you publish, your work is out there for all to see, and reputations and sales are easily undermined by copy errors and correctable mistakes. Publishing is not the same as sharing an email or updating a profile on Facebook. People will be buying your work, and as such it needs to be professional in its presentation and content. Draft, draft, and draft again...
Publish to Amazon
So, you have completed the final draft and you're ready to publish. If you have a US bank account, then you're in luck as the Amazon Digital Text Platform allows you to create an account and get started right away. If however you're like me and live outside of the US, you'll need to wait as the DTP service plays catchup with the Kindle device which is now available internationally.
The Amazon Digital Text Platform (DTP) is an online service that allows the creation of content for the Kindle, & presents these works for sale in the Amazon Kindle Store. I advise you take a good look at the Help, Frequently Asked Questions, and Forum before you sign up so you are clear about what you will be agreeing to.
Amazon's Digital Text Platform (DTP) is a "free" online service that allows the creation of content for the Kindle, and presents your uploaded works for sale in the Amazon Kindle Store. The DTP is presented by Amazon as an easy way to get your work published, but remember that Amazon will be making a tidy profit from each sale. The DTP system is set to fully integrate into their general store, and it's clear Amazon are viewing the DTP as a significant driver of business. Each time a visitor comes to Amazon's Kindle Store to buy your book, they'll likely buy another product at the same time. Amazon gets 65%, you get 35%. That might sound like a lot going to Amazon, but it's a good royalty payment rate compared with traditional publishing. Remember that Amazon will be providing the distribution channel which is crucial to getting your work sold.
Note that it is not possible to use the DTP to create Kindle editions of your work that are restricted or only intended for personal use as all DTP content is automatically published and made available for sale at Amazon. For private and personal conversion consider using InfoHesiveEP which exports to .Mobi which the Kindle can read via USB.
When you use the DTP you will grant Amazon sole right to sell, distribute and promote the Kindle edition of your work in whatever manner they see fit. You agree to let them share free digital excerpts and images of your work taken from the Kindle edition as well as to discount, bundle or cross-sell your Kindle edition as they wish. If you're happy to do so given the exposure and Amazon integration the DTP channel provides, carefully read the current terms and conditions of using Amazon's DTP before proceeding.
Publishing to the Kindle platform is one direction you may choose to explore, however the Kindle together with the DTP, for all its advantages, doesn't give you the flexibility and distribution coverage you need as a publisher.
InfoHesiveEP allows you to not only develop your publications in a familiar word processor-like environment, it exports to a wide range of formats including HTML (required by DTP), PDF, CHM (help files), .Mobi, ePub and more. This means your work can be read across platforms and operating systems (PC, Mac, iPhone, Kindle, the Sony eReader etc.).
If you have existing content you even can import that into InfoHesiveEP. Make sure the layout and content is approrpriately edited for your intended publishing format, then export to the file type you wish.
InfoHesiveEP is not only a software tool that allows you to take advantage of the Kindle platform, it provides a rich feature-set that gives you the choice of publishing to the format that best suits your goals and readership.
Download InfoHesiveEP for a test drive today...