Several of my readers have asked over the past few months why I do not publish ebook versions of my work for Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, and iBooks. So here is my “official” answer. While I’m sure it won’t satisfy those of you who have one of those devices and crave native content, I hope it will give you a better appreciation for some of the complexities us indie authors deal with when publishing.
When I published my first novel CRADLE, I dutifully followed the advice of my indie author mentors and created versions of my novel for all the major ebook platforms. While this is a good strategy, the inherent complexity of publishing and then maintaining titles on multiple platforms quickly becomes challenging.
There are four major outlets or places where you publish your work to ensure it has maximum visibility: Amazon.com; Barnes & Noble; the Apple iBook Store; and SmashWords. Amazon and Apple have proprietary ebook file formats, while B&N, Sony, Kobo, and dozens of other lesser-known brand e-readers use the open source EPUB file format. So at a minimum an indie author must produce ebook files in three distinct formats (plus a format for print), each with its own bizarre and seemingly incomprehensible quirks that make formatting your manuscript almost as challenging as writing it.
This would all be fine if the platforms that compete with Amazon.com actually delivered customers and sales. They don’t. To illustrate this for you, my aggregate sales of CRADLE from all platforms other than Amazon.com account for less than 2% of my total sales. Two freakin’ percent!
Now, since I’m a nice guy and above all I just want people to read and enjoy my books, I do create special files for a few of my fans that have the Nook. But frankly the trend in the industry is moving away from dedicated e-reader devices and toward Android and iOS tablets. If you have an Android tablet or iPad, you can download the Kindle Reader app and enjoy the same excellent ebook experience as someone with a Kindle.
Having my books on one platform yields other benefits that are very important to an indie author like me. Perhaps the most important is having one central location for all my reviews. While I appreciate any feedback I get, having a smattering of reviews scattered across multiple bookstore sites does not help me sell more books. But having a big pile of reviews in one place encourages shoppers to buy. I like that.
Also, having my books for sale on multiple platforms means I have to manage pricing, promotions, and blurbs on each site. This is not a big deal when you have one book, but as you publish more, the complexity grows geometrically.
The ebook war is over and Amazon.com has won. So like many other indie authors, I now publish exclusively on Amazon.com. This allows me to focus less on managing my publishing efforts across multiple platforms, and focus more on writing fun stories for you, the reader.