About eBooks

©2003 by W. E. Lopez


Authors write to communicate ideas to others.  Often, the reason is to inform the reader, amuse the reader, frighten the reader, build upon the reputation of the writer, or—more often—make money when the book or story is published.  No matter your reason, you cannot achieve your goal unless others have access to your deathless prose (or poetry).


Aspiring writers have always found breaking into the world of print to be a challenging, if not daunting, task.  With the advent of the Internet, you have the ability to share your work with friends or discussion groups at little or no cost.  Sharing can provide you with feedback by which you can clarify your writing, correct typos or punctuation, and most important, improve upon your style of writing.


The members of the Oasis Writers’ Guild share your goals, which is why we joined the guild in the first place.  To put our writing in front of readers, we use our printed quarterly magazine and our on-line website.  Because we do not add advertising to our print issue, each run is hardly more than a break-even proposition.  Our on-line edition provides us with statistics which show our work is being read by dozens, even hundreds of readers in the US and abroad.


How then can you get your work to a reader?  More importantly, how can you get $$$$ for your efforts?


eBooks provide the means!  eBooks are generally smaller than the Word document used to create them.  Only a text file is smaller if compressed using a zip utility.  An eBook is a computer file compiled from your written work, whether your work is in HTML, text, word, or other format.  At the Oasis Writers’ Guild, we have tested and used eBooks in many formats, and while we generally agree MS Reader is our favorite, we will discuss several others here and allow you to decide for yourself.  There are several programs for compiling electronic books, but we will use the generic term ‘eBook’ when referring to electronic books.


·        PDB – eBooks in PDB format are intended for hand-held readers, making them ideal for commuters or persons who realize they must spend time waiting for an appointment.  They are generally very small in file size, meaning they can be rapidly downloaded over the Internet and a single PDA can hold dozens of complete novels for entertainment and relaxation.  The software needed to compile a book for PDB format is inexpensive, and a free reader to open the file is available for PDA or Desktop.  http://www.palmdigitalmedia.com/product/reader/browse/pro

·        PDF – Adobe Acrobat is a popular format for sharing text, whether it is on a website, Desktop, or hand held device.  To create a document in PDF format requires Acrobat Writer, which is not free.  http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/main.html#Readers

·        eBook – The software to create a file in eBook format is free for the standard version, but an upgrade is needed for additional features.  The file extension for an eBook is .EXE, meaning it is executable on any PC. Because every eBook file contains a reader program (adding significantly to the file size), the audience does not need a reader application on their Desktop.  eBooks are not suitable for hand held devices.  http://www.ebookcompiler.com/

·        MS Reader – the software to create a file for MS Reader is free, and the file size is only 10-20% larger than the same file in PDA format (the smallest we have found).  MS Reader books (which have a .LIT file extension) can be read with a free desktop reader downloaded from Microsoft.  http://www.microsoft.com/reader/default.asp


At the Oasis Writers’ Guild, we have experimented with all the above formats.  PDB, EXE, and LIT formats will save your place if you quit in the middle of a chapter and open the story again.  We think this is a plus compared to Adobe.


eBooks for MS Reader are very simple to compile, the file size is relatively small permitting them to be easily transmitted over the Internet, and are acceptable to many on-line publishers.  You will find many novels by famous authors available from a large number of on-line booksellers. 





MS Reader is not compatible with the MAC OS, so your audience will be reduced by the 7% of computer users’ world wide with Macintosh computers.


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