Writing an ebook and selling it has become a popular way for bloggers to monetize their site. Here at SEAM Publishing, we obviously think that’s a good idea! The only problem is that most bloggers believe that releasing their ebook as a pdf is enough.
If you are only selling pdf ebooks, you are missing out on an additional market for your words.
While an ebook reader will often do a passable job of displaying a pdf, it’s not what they were designed for. They were designed to display epub or mobi (in the case of the Kindle) files. These files are essentially webpages that have been optimized for small screens, like having a mobile version of your website. PDF is, at it’s root, an image format. The result of displaying a pdf on an e-reader is sub-optimal. Because manufacturers know this, they don’t spend a lot of time advertising the fact that the reader can display it. And the book sellers certainly don’t sell pdf’s.
At the end of the day, authors that are only offering pdf ebooks are missing out on two distinct groups of ebook buyers who own e-readers.
The first group includes people who own an e-reader but don’t know that they can open a pdf on it. These are the mainstream, the less tech savvy readers, who probably make up an overwhelming majority of e-reader owners (or computer owners, or car owners. This isn’t an indictment against the owners, just a realization that these products have become mainstream enough that the majority of users will be unaware of advanced features).
The second group knows how to get a pdf on their reader, but also knows that the quality of the display will be somewhere between horrible and mediocre, and where in that spectrum the file will lie depends on a lot of factors that the buyer has no knowledge of. In essence, quality is a crapshoot. And they don’t want to spend their money on something that is nearly unreadable.