ebooks and making a living

You have this book that you want to get out there to as big a readership as possible and hopefully make some money. What should you do?

I don't really know the answer here, but I do know enough to understand that simple answers aren't enough.

Dismissing paper is not a good idea yet -- there is still life in the old beast yet. If you can get your book published via conventional means then it could be a good idea. You might still hitch a ride on it, even become famous, make a fortune... who knows?

Dismissing locked ebooks completely might not be fully justified either. There are a few companies that make some trade in locked ebooks -- I don't think they are making large amounts of dough, but they do seem to be getting by. If the locks become more rational and more friendly then even I might consider them again... but I doubt it.

Dismissing open (unlocked) ebooks is, I believe, a big mistake. I think this is where most of the future activity for literature will be.

So how can I use open ebooks to reach as big a readership as possible and preferably make a living along the way?

With no impediments for readers, open ebooks have the potential to spread more quickly than the other two choices. There are two clear problems:

But it is early days in an exciting new era, so leaping into the void and expecting big things from this promising new form might not turn out quite like you expect.

I, personally, think the move to unlocked ebooks is a certainty. The only questions are when and how. I'm sure I'll be surprised at some developments that will aid or impede this transition, but in the long term I think it is irresistible.

I also think open ebooks are a great force for good... more on that another time.

Miriam English   2006