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Make money on the e-book gravy train

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BY KEVIN RHOADES
If you’re an author with published books lying around on the bookshelf collecting dust, consider re-publishing your hardbacks and paperbacks as e-books.
Why?
Well, “Why not,” I might counter, with this addendum: “Why not grab gravy sales from previously published works while garnering the reward of having geeks out there in cyberspace download and read your books? And you receive dollars to boot!”
According to e-book sales figures published by the Association of American Publishers, sales in 2009 increased 4 percent over the previous year and in 2010 sales increased 169 percent over 2009. With the explosion of electronic gadgetry to read e-books, those keeping an eagle eye on the book-publishing industry predict the number of customers purchasing and reading e-books will continue to climb. Now is the time to take advantage of this trend.
If you wish to convert a print book to an e-book, first investigate whether you have the right to re-publish your manuscript as an electronic book. If you self-published your print book, then likely no worries. However, if your book was brought to the marketplace through a publisher then you must obtain permission.
Compared to traditional publishing, once rights are secured to recast your print book as an e-book, it’s typically a speedy process to bring your e-book to the marketplace. While it can take months, even years, for mainstream publishers to bring print books to the masses, converting a print book to an e-book should take only a few weeks.
The cost? Typically a small fraction of what it takes to produce a print book. A decade ago, a self-publisher would outlay $8,000-$12,000 to produce, print and publish a print book. With the arrival of print-on-demand books, the cost to produce a print book decreased by much as 75 percent, while the price to produce a lightly illustrated e-book from a previously created print book is typically $200-$300.
What about royalties? Assuming the writing, editing and image-gathering phases of your book are complete, the content must be reflowed according to the specifications of the large, online retailers, mostly Barnes & Noble, Apple’s iBookstore and the Goliath book-retailer Amazon.com. If your print book is converted to an e-book for sale on Amazon, for example, as long the book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, the author receives a 70-percent royalty. How many book authors receive 70-percent royalties from mainstream publishers?
Besides the swiftness and affordability of bringing your e-book to the marketplace, not to mention royalties, e-books have other advantages, too, including zero inventory to pile up in your garage. And no fulfillment duties, either — no packaging, labeling or waiting in line at the post office to mail boxes of books. Another e-book benefit: There is no waste; and no publisher will call to beg you to either buy “remaindered” copies of your print books for a dollar or two each— or she’ll turn your print books into toilet paper!
After deciding to convert your print books to their electronic cousins, educate yourself to the various e-book file formats so your works can be read by the assortment of book-reading devices including the Kindle, Nook and personal digital readers.
In subsequent pieces I’ll cover the various e-book formats and how to build a presence on Amazon so you can achieve success selling books in this burgeoning electronic marketplace. ♦
—Kevin Rhoades, www.KevinRhoades.com, specializes in book layout, newsletter design and websites for outdoor communicators. His first book e-book, Stalker of the Wild – Days in the Life of Wildlife Filmmaker Bob Landis, won a first place award in the biography category of Dan Poynter’s 2011 Global eBook Awards
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