What’s the Best Ebook Format?

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Here is an excerpt from an email I received:

I just finished my first ebook about travel and safety . I own Adobe Acrobat Pro and can create PDFs with no problems. I see there are “compilers” that have very strong security to prevent any form of “sharing” our hard work.

What do you think is the best way to go?


There are two different ways to read ebooks now – from your own personal computer, or from a specific e-reading device.

With e-reading devices, the customer already owns the device and the software for the device is already installed.

However, most people still buy ebooks using their personal computer and they then either read the ebook on their computer, or they print it for reading offline, or they load the file onto their e-reader (when possible).

For the majority of ebook buyers who are downloading ebooks to their personal computers, I don’t recommend offering those ebooks in a format that requires customers to download a specific program just to read a specific ebook. Many people are hesitant to download new programs to their personal computers, not only for security reasons, but because some new programs can cause problems with their existing programs. I’m know I’m not the only one who’s downloaded a program that caused my MSWord and printer driver to go kahooey.

Almost every Windows computer now comes with Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free program) pre-installed in it while Macintosh computers have a built-in PDF viewer called Preview. There are also several other programs that can read PDF files now, too. All BookLocker.com’s ebooks are in PDF (some are in ePub format and PDF) so customers are comfortable with them and don’t have security fears or compatibility issues. In addition, they can read our PDF files on their computer (they don’t have to buy an expensive gadget or any software to do so), or on their iphone, or their iPad, or any device that reads PDF files.

Less than 1/2 of 1 percent of our ebook customers contact us requesting assistance with opening/reading/printing their ebooks.

If you are concerned about security, you need to know that no program is hack-proof. As soon as somebody brags about creating something that is “safe”, hackers find ways to prove them wrong. Jumping through hoops to try to make a file secure is only going to make it that much more difficult for customers to download, open and read. Imposing security on PDF files can create havoc for some honest, legitimate buyers, but doesn’t really prevent dishonest people from doing what they want with your file. The vast majority of people are honest and those are the people you want to keep happy. And, again, there’s a hack for just about everything now so jumping through hoops to secure a file can be futile.

If we’d stopped selling ebooks for fear of the very rare occurrence of theft, we’d have gone out of business years ago. More than half the books we sell are ebooks. Our ebooks are less expensive, require no confusing software or hardware, are available for instant download, and are incredibly user-friendly. Those, my friends, are the simple secrets for keeping ebook buyers coming back for more.

Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: “As close to perfection as you’re going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I’ve ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can’t go wrong here. Plus, they’re selective and won’t publish any manuscript just because it’s accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors’ books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know.”