MobiPocket - Amazon's Ebook Sales

This is a historical document - Mobipocket has now been folded into Amazon's standard Kindle offerings.

Amazon offers a way for ebook writers to sell their ebooks to a large audience. This is the MobiPocket system. It is FREE to sign up and load ebooks into their system. You set the initial price, load in the ebook itself plus cover art, and then sit back. All of the member retail shops (including Amazon) will then start to sell your ebook.

The ebook is in a proprietary MobiPocket format. They provide you the software and tools for free to convert your existing ebooks into this format. They take care of all security issues for you, distributing the ebook, and so on. The software is very use, you just point and click. You will want to "build" it once with no security at all, so you can look at the end product and make sure it looks the way you wish it to.

PDF Issues
If you had special layouts in a PDF file, you'll probably find that the page breaks and such are no longer set up properly. They convert it from a PDF file to a HTML file as part of the process. You'll have to tweak that HTML file - using their provided editor - to get the pages to look proper in the new software. Note that the code to create a pagebreak is <mbp:pagebreak/> If you had page numbers hard coded into a table of contents, it's probably best to remove the page numbers. The table of contents entries can link directly to the page they refer to, so there's no need to show an actual page #, especially when the page # might change based on the type of reader being used.

Then, when you're ready, rebuild it - but this time with the security in place. You won't be able to read the secure one, of course, unless you buy it from their website :)

Once you load your ebook into their system, they take care of the rest.

Note that you set the END USER SALE PRICE - but you do not set the WHOLESALE PRICE. No retailer is going to sell your book for free :) They want a cut of the fee. That fee is currently 50% of the total price. You might feel that is high - but talk to most bookstores and you'll find out this is rather standard.

You can take the point of view that it's not worth it to give up a portion of your ebook sale price to a retailer, if you can sell it yourself. But on the other hand, if your book is in Amazon and sells hundreds of copies a day - when only 1 or 2 people a day were finding it at your personal website - it might be worth it to pay Amazon a healthy chunk of the sale price in return for that flood of income.

UPDATE
As of 2012 there's no real reason to use MobiPocket any more. Amazon uses a Kindle Direct system right on their website to easily load ebooks up for sale in their Kindle system. The interface is fully integrated with Amazon's site. So I recommend rather than going the MobiPocket route that you work on the Kindle system directly.

MobiPocket Website

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