While the business of formatting text for ebook publishing is intense and time consuming, I am amazed how user friendly the process can be once you have your file prepped. I created my own cover by using Picasa then uploaded cover and file to Smashwords so that their "Meatgrinder" (real name) could take over.
I had the option so I decided to obtain a free ISBN from Smashwords despite the fact that I'm not 'in print'. (See below).
While having a published book is supposedly de rigueur for writers, in my way of thinking, what ebookery does is make reading so much more accessible especially in the epub format. Online reading and scrolling past 1000 words sucks. With an ebook -- and Smashwords offers the reading file in many optional formats (see my example) -- you get to read what was written in many different ways.
And the edition is shared quickly and seamlessly over the web distributed as widely as you can foster your niche market.
This is indeed a revolution. Reading is easier, cheaper (often free), more accessible and more deferential of the writer. And for good or ill, you who write the book are in control.
I'm no stranger to online media, but ebookery in a sense is print's fight back without paper. All you need to do is get your head around it; and if you aren't exposing yourself to ebookery that's going to be difficult to comprehend. But the shift is underway big time as more ebooks are being distributed online than hard copy orders.
For example, a recently released book may cost your over $AUD20 in hard copy. As an ebook -- despite the penchant for price fixing by Apple et al -- you may (should!) get it for under $AUD10. A portable ereader device will cost you over a $AUD100 -- my Kobo Touch cost me $AUD129 as an import -- so it doesn't take long to do your accounting sums.
I now walk around -- commute, lounge, etc -- with 145 ebooks on my ereader -- and I only received it a few weeks ago. I've collected all these titles from various sites across the web -- and my library was 90% free to collect.
And among the mix, I've added my own ebook.
The folk at Smashwords sponsor an open publishing process free of DRM constraints and with the author setting their preferred selling price ( or free or buyer sets the price). The platform also encourages you to consider reading (and supporting) the work of Indie authors.
I'm currently formatting and pulling together my next book, skilling up as I go.This will be another freebie...but after that who knows?
Congratulations. This email confirms your book, Girt By Sea, has been assigned the ISBN 978-1-4659-4281-4. ..An ISBN is a unique digital identifer. It's a number attached to your book that aids in the discoverability and merchandizing of your book as it is sold through retailers.
Smashwords distributes books to multiple online ebook retailers, including Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo and others. All of these retailers appreciate receiving books that have ISBNs, because their retail ecommerce systems are built to support them. The Apple iBookstore and the Sony ebook store require an ISBN if they are to carry your ebook.
Attached to your unique ISBN number is metadata associated with your book, such as your author name, the data of publication, the price, and much more. As you update your metadata, Smashwords will automatically report these updates to the International ISBN agency so the information associated with your book can stay up to date.
The US ISBN Agency is run by R.R. Bowker, which also compiles Books in Print, the world’s most comprehensive database of books published in the U.S. and abroad. Bowker licenses Books in Print to thousands of retailers (chain and independent bookstores) including Barnes and Noble, Borders, thousands of libraries, the top three search engines, and many mobile clients. If your book has an ISBN, it gets listed in Books in Print.
Your free listing in Books in Print makes your book even more discoverable online. If your book does not have an ISBN, it does not automatically appear in searches. Books in Print also has a bibliographic database that's available on the open Web at http://seo.bowker.com. This is regularly crawled and indexed by Google. Books without ISBNs are not in that database and therefore lack the benefit you now enjoy with this ISBN.
Please expect a lag time of several weeks before your information or future updates are disseminated through the online catalogs.
The International ISBN agency recommends that a different ISBN be assigned to each ebook format that you plan to distribute to retailers. This recommendation has been the source of much debate in the publishing industry. On one side, you have a small handful of large publishers who refuse to issue multiple ISBNs to their different ebook formats - they use one ISBN to cover all formats. The majority of large publishers assign unique ISBNs to each format they distribute.
Smashwords currently only distributes EPUB files to retailers, so we will assign your ISBN to your EPUB. Whether you choose to apply ISBNs to the other formats we will distribute in the future (such as MOBI) is up to you. At Smashwords, it has always been core to our mission that we give you, the author/publisher, as much control over your publishing decisions as possible, so the decision to apply multiple ISBNs to a single title is up to you.
Our current recommendation is that we think the EPUB-only ISBN is sufficient for most Smashwords authors and publishers. However, in the future, as the ebook supply chain becomes ever-more complex, we do agree with Bowker that there may be benefit to having different ISBNs associated with your different formats. As of this writing (March 2010), we don't yet support the ability for you to assign additional ISBNs to the other formats, though we do plan to support that soon.
To learn more about the benefits of ISBNs, see this article:
Publisher's Weekly - "Hooray for the ISBN" - http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/453723-Hooray_for_The_ISBN.php
The Smashwords Team