One of the downsides to publishing an e-book is the simple fact that while anyone can walk into a book store and pick up a copy of a book and start reading, e-book buyers are limited to the owners of e-readers or those who don’t mind sitting in front of a computer when they read a novel. (I suspect only writers do the latter willingly, as well as out of necessity.)
Even with a laptop, it’s hard to imagine snuggling down comfortably on the sofa to lose oneself in a novel. Fortunately, reports suggest e-readers were one of the biggest selling items over the Thanksgiving weekend which means my potential audience has increased significantly and, hopefully, by Christmas, will be even larger -– providing I can find a way to tap in to it.
But the limitations soon became clear when I sent out an initial mailing to all my contacts. I published on Amazon. Several of the first responses were, “Can I read it on my Nook?” Sadly, the answer to that question was no. While Amazon offers free apps allowing buyers to readKindle books on PCs, Macs, iPads, etc., they don’t extend to competing e-readers -- understandable from a business point of view, but frustrating for the author.
Interestingly, even though there are other e-readers out there, no-one asked about any other brand. But given it seemed apparent that I was going to lose possible sales, especially when I extended my promotional activities beyond my immediate circle, I decided last week to try and publish for the Nook as well.
Knowing that many publishers have different formats, I was prepared for it to take some time. So imagine my surprise when after a few minor changes to my original HTML file to suit Barnes and Noble’s PubIt requirements, I was reviewing my book prior to publication within a couple of hours.
There was one glitch. The site warns you that the previewer might not show page breaks and images in the way they would appear on the actual Nook and sure enough in my case, it didn’t. Given the amount of time I had already spent on the contents of the file, my main concern by this point was the layout. I was reluctant to publish based on what I was seeing, so I emailed the help line.
A couple of days passed without a response. Then, just as I was wondering whether to take a risk and publish anyhow, I got an email saying they had tested my file on all the Nook devices and found no errors. Once again, I was ready to publish. And three days later, I’m finally able to say yes to disappointed Nook owners.
If only it were as easy to satisfy a friend from England who emailed to ask when the book's hard copy would be available!