Ebooks: Your key to profits and recognition

Nobody outside of Amazon knows how many Kindles have been sold, but the number is in the double-digit millions. Add to that the number of Kindle apps, free for iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, and Android; the number of Barnes and Noble Nooks; the number of other electronic book readers; and without even getting to the number of people who can read/print a pdf–basically, every person with access to a computer–you have a market for ebooks that defies quantification.

And here’s the deal: Your cost to produce an ebook version of your manuscript, once you’ve written it, is at most $150–and that includes getting into the Kindle market on Amazon, as well as into other ebook markets, like the iBookstore. With NO marginal cost per copy.

So if you want books to be part of your marketing plan, you would be foolish not to include ebooks.

Are there lots of people who still want hard copy? Yes, there are. Meet their needs and desires through print-on-demand services. But you can optimize your ebook’s price based on what the market will bear, without having to take any production or fulfillment costs into consideration. Your marketing plan, and those who read it, will love that.

Sell your ebook for $.99 for volume. Sell it for $19.99 based on value. Design your marketing plan such that you can experiment, testing different prices. The different ebook formats may sell at different rates for you. Try different things.

There are several ebook formats, but for $150 or less, you can have your manuscript in all of them–and available in their associated bookstores.

You could even offer your ebook through the Clickbank Marketplace, a site for affiliate marketers, where it can find active affiliate marketers who are seeking great products to promote to their lists. You can turn it into a free bonus, a giveaway to get people onto YOUR list, so that you can sell them other products and services. Again, that can be an asset to your marketing plan.

What should your ebook’s topic be? Use tools like Wordtracker.com to discover keywords that have 500 or more searches per day–and not much competition. Then write your ebook to match what your chosen market wants.

iPad, take 2 (or 3; they’re small…)

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27:  (EDITORS NOTE: Re...
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Actually, it’s the headlines that are most entertaining–at least here in Silicon Valley. First there was the Steve Jobs performance at the announcement–speculations about his health; comments on his presentation style; and ultimately, admission by Valley and industry insiders of their own iPad lust.

Act 2: Between the announcement and the delivery, all the comments on what’s missing from the device–multitasking; built-in camera; Flash…

Act 3: Press and commentators love the iPad, gushing over it. But yesterday’s San Jose Mercury-News: “Not clear if consumers will like it.” Oh, yeah? Just let them at it, and we’ll see…

I think it’s a milestone. Yeah, it is a bigger iPhone, without a 2-year contract. But it’s more than that: It’s a gorgeous, light, sexy, powerful thingy that does video and audio, has a decent typing solution, and just makes you want to touch it. It is the Kindle you fantasized about (and the Kindle app is one of the first on the device).

What does it mean to the world of books? It adds acceleration to the ebook phenomenon. It opens up the market for multimedia books, with movies, sound, and links built-in. Personally, that excites me; much as I love print books, and love to write them, being able to include sound, movies, and links in my creations really gets my creative juices flowing.

So, yeah, it’s expensive, and the early adopters will be the gadget-lovers. But if it really can bring the sensuous iPhone experience to more-efficient typing and browsing than you can do on the small iPhone screen, and it sure looks like it can, I think it will quickly capture many hearts and minds and credit cards. Amazon has sold over 1.5 million Kindles at $300-$400, with no color and much less functionality. I don’t think the current exuberant estimate of 6 million iPads by the end of 2010 is unbelievable. (Actually, I just checked–Morgan Stanley is projecting over 10 million!)

And yes, I want one.

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