Amazon.com announced that the sale of electronic books for the Kindle reader surpassed the sale of printed books in April 2011. There are many reasons for the shift from print to electronic media, including the fact that thousands of books are available in electronic form. Books in Kindle format can be read on Amazon’s Kindle and also in other devices such as the iPad, iPhone, Android phone, and personal computers. The Kindle reader can store more than one thousand books and can download those books via Wi-Fi wherever you are. Kindle readers also have a built-in web browser and text-to-speech so that you can listen to your books. Paper books can’t do that!
Publishing an electronic book for the Kindle is as easy as formatting a Microsoft Word document or developing an HTML web page, but there are additional requirements for HTML. You can prepare your text and images using Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer and save the text as HTML in a new folder. The text can also be prepared using HTML editors such as Microsoft FrontPage or SeaMonkey Composer. Once your source material is ready, you need to format the file for the Kindle, and prepare a book cover and table of contents. These are some of the steps you need to take:
– Read the Kindle publishing guidelines. https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help
– Create an account for Kindle Direct Publishing. https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin
– Create a book cover JPG image (600 by 800 pixels) using Irfanview, Gimp, Photoshop, etc.
– Write a short description about the book, similar to what would be in a book jacket.
– Download the free software from Amazon to build and preview Kindle books:
KindleGen is a command line tool used to build eBooks. KindleGen will accept as input an HTML file or an .opf file which is an XML file that has the title of the book, the author, the location of the cover, the location of the table of contents, and the sequence in which the HTML files should be organized. The table of contents is an .ncx file also in XML format. KindleGen has a sample book with .opf and .ncx files that can be used as a guide. The KindleGen application integrates all the HTML files, the images and the table of contents to create a Kindle book file with a .mobi extension.
The Kindle Previewer can read a .mobi file and emulate how the book will display on Kindle devices. This is a useful tool to check the appearance of the book on the Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, and iPad.
Amazon also provides a free Kindle for PC application that allows you to read Kindle books on your PC or laptop.
You will need to decide whether you want to assign an ISBN number to your book before you submit it to Kindle Direct Publishing. The ISBN is not required by Amazon, but you may want to get one if you plan to promote your book actively. The ISBN is used by libraries and book sellers as an identification for published items. An electronic book has to have a different ISBN from a printed book with the same contents. You can get an ISBN for $125 Dollars or a set of 10 ISBNs for $250 Dollars from https://www.myidentifiers.com/ The ISBN is contained in the .opf file, so you have to obtain it before you can produce the final version of your kindle book.
If you do all the book development and formatting yourself, the cost of the ISBN is your only expense. Once you have built your book and tested it, you are ready to publish it. For Kindle books that sell between $2.99 and $9.99, Amazon will pay 70% of the revenue to the publisher. When the eBook has been accepted, it will be listed in the Amazon.com web site and will also be available in ads such as this: