E-Books/Canadian Copywriter
Definition of E-Books Go To the C.C. Book Shop
E-Books Hardware and Software
The Major E-Book Publishers
Online Bookstores
PDF Files Explained

Two different phenomena are taking place in the publishing and writing industry. One is the development of E-zines/books, the other: Print on Demand Publishing. POD Publishing is detailed elsewhere on this site, so let's look at E-zines/books.
E-zines/books are books which are stored electronically on websites throughout the Internet.
Palm Reader Pro

From these websites (such as Fatbrain.com and Mightywords.com) you can download PDF files either to your computer or a hand-held palm pilot.

At the time of publication, three palm readers were on the market: the RCA REB 1200 (which weighs 33 ounces, has an 8 inch screen and the capability of 128 MB of memory), the REB 1100 (which weighs 17 ounces, has a greenish screen and the capability of 128 MB of memory (details available at Gemstar.com) and the E-Bookman. When the files are downloaded to these devices using software such as Microsoft Reader, Glassbook Reader or the Palm Reader Pro**, the text may be read in the same way a book is read. * As a writer, you may ask yourself "what does all this mean to me?" Well, slap your hand to your forehead and ask yourself: "What isn't in this for me?" An electronically downloadable book means you can cut out the big publishing houses or editors or proofreaders, etc. You can take your work straight to the public!! While it may be better in the long run to have editors, proofreaders, etc., chances are
E-Bookman your work may be brilliant enough in its rough form to be worthy of the public's (stoney) eye. (Remember Jack Kerouac). So why not go with E-books? When the idea was conceived, very few people wanted to take the leap, scoffing at E-books as not yet commercially viable. But hey! Stephen King offered his book on his own website for $1.00 per instalment -- and it was downloaded over 40,000 times in a few days! Okay, so maybe you're not Stephen King and maybe your book won't be downloaded 40,000 times -- but even if you got, say, 20% of those numbers, you'd still be doing a land-office business.

Earlier we mentioned the websites which will store your book and make it downloadable for a fee. In the United States, the biggest such websites are FatBrain and Mighty Words with companies such as Diskus and Sansip Publishing running a close second and third. These companies are similar to POD publishers, however they acquire only the electronic rights to your book. But that's a good thing (it's not a bad thing). This leaves you free to work with a POD or traditional publisher to acquire a hard copy. How much do they charge? Not much. In fact, most only charge a nominal fee (like $1 per month) to store your work. Of course, they don't pay advances and they don't pay until your book sells (God, you realy are alone, aren't you?). But if your book does sell, you get 50% of the retail price, which isn't bad since you've invested practically nothing anyway (except, of course, your time and talent). As is usually the case, these companies won't help you do any marketing either* ( but don't even expect the big-time publishing companies to do that. That's usually up to the author) And don't expect them to do any editing or proofreading either. That's up to you too. What these companies will do, however, is register your book for an ISBN (which is necessary for every published book. It's the number that's needed to identify ownership, inventory tracking, etc). They will also transfer your plain text copy into the required PDF format.

;All these services will provide the necessary requirements even if you're printing a hard copy of your book elsewhere -- so, what the hell, you might as well use them.

If you're working with an E-Publisher or a POD publisher, you'll also be working with online book stores. Here are the major ones on the Net:
Amazon.com Bookstore.com Booksamillion.com Common Reader.com AtlasBooks.com
Text Books.com A1 Books.com Textbooks.com BookZone.com

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a trademark process invented by Adobe and available through the company's Acrobat Writer program or several word processing programs. Most e-books are in this form and most of the websites which upload your material require this format. To convert your book to the PDF format, you'll need the Adobe Acrobat program (which retails for about $250 U.S.) If you're hard up for cash, you might try Adobe's PDF service. Simply log onto the site and upload one of your files as a free test. Adobe lets you convert five files at no charge. If you like the results, you can sign up for the conversion service (which is a nominal monthly cost). If you do own the program, it's a snap to convert your regular word processor files into the PDF format. Run the program, pull up the required text, then set the program up for "Print", but instead of "Printing", invoke the "Distill" command. The Acrobat program will convert your text into the PDF format. A real breeze!

Remember, if you have a novel, a play or anything at all that might be worth reading, you might as well convert it as quickly as possible to PDF (and use Adobe's free service -- since I suspect it won't last forever). PDF files are the wave of the future!

* Although palm readers are a great idea, today's typical consumers are still a hard sell. Let's just say that it's engrained in our nature -- that we still crave the tactile feel of paper under our fingers rather than blink at tiny computer screens. Students and businessmen, however, are taking to the idea. Businessmen are already familiar with the Blackberry and palm readers are equally as convenient. They're light, compact and efficient -- and for students, palm readers are a lot easier than lugging around pounds of textbooks. Convenient too: virtually anything can be downloaded in PDF files from the internet from any location for instant information.

**The Palm Reader Pro is available in a version for Windows, MacIntosh and OS. Included are the Webster's New World TM Vest Pocket Dictionary and a toggle switch that allows you to create and swap background themes with other Palm Reader Pros. You can also highlight sections of the text and attach notes. Some new features include the ability to control the line spacing of your books and select the pen color for highlighting. Also included are improved note editing capabilities, new Find options and a new two page viewing option.