E-Books As An Add-on Sale
One of the easiest add-on sales a book printer can make today is creating an e-book file for a customer. In my business, we specialized in Adobe Acrobat e-book formats. We charged the customer an additional $125-$150 per e-book. The costs to produce an e-book were negligible.
Most books’ text pages are created digitally—being delivered to the printer in a word-processing or a page layout format. The cover art is also created digitally. Our graphic artists took the digital text pages, distilled them using Adobe Acrobat’s Distiller program. They did the same for the cover art and then combined the two into a digital PDF file that could be sold as an e-book.
The benefit to the publisher is providing an e-book as a second product they can sell on-line through their own web page, one of the many e-book sites or Amazon. For very little money, the publisher gets another stream of income from the book.
There is debate whether or not e-books will succeed as a form of book. On the one hand, e-books are portable, lightweight and can be read on a computer or a dedicated, hand-held device. An ideal application for e-books is student textbooks. With school systems cutting back on lockers for students’ books, each child is forced to carry every book he/she owns in a backpack. One e-book reader could hold all the student’s textbooks and eliminate the need for lockers or backpacks. It is perhaps more important for college students whose books can cost more than $100 per class. E-books may be a way to lower the overall cost of college books and make them more accessible to all.
On the other hand, most people are not comfortable reading a book on a computer or a hand-held device. Eye fatigue plays a big part in limiting e-books’ adoption. Until screen technology on digital devices improves, the acceptance of e-books will be slow.
There are many forms of e-books that add to the dilemma. Adobe Acrobat PDF format is the dominant format, but Microsoft has a competing format, .lit files. There are also HTML-based formats for e-books. A clever printer might learn how to produce all forms of e-books, but would the time invested be worthwhile? Microsoft file based e-books are the second best selling form of e-book, but if you look on Amazon you will see that Adobe Acrobat format outsells Microsoft almost three-to-one. HTML-based format books are even farther behind Microsoft e-books. Most printers are familiar with Acrobat PDF files because they work with them daily. To maximize profit and reduce the learning curve required to master creating e-books, therefore, it is best to stick to Adobe Acrobat format.
Producing e-books in the Adobe Acrobat format is a win-win situation for the book printer and the publisher. Each gains an additional product to sell. The profit margin high for both the printer and the publisher, thus making e-books one of the easiest add-on sales a book printer has available.