Tools for Transparency: ePub and the Kindle Store


ePub logoAfter 7,000 uploads and 585,000 reads on our Scribd account, it appeared that a cross section of the Sunlight audience was interested in pieces longer than the short blog posts and the social media updates we’re accustomed to writing.  In terms of accessibility, cost and distribution, the next logical step to engage that audience would be mobile.

Month on month, we were seeing mobile access to Sunlight content growing exponentially and anecdotally I knew that ereaders like the Kindle and the Nook were popular with a demographic in ways blog posts weren’t.

We published four reformatted long form posts to the Kindle store, in hopes of reaching that audience.  I realize that these aren’t the length of full books and should probably live in the Kindle Store Singles section. Hopefully I can iron that out in the new year.

The process for publishing, which I’ll save for another post, is straight forward.  If you already have an Amazon account, you can log into the Kindle publisher platform and poke around. Here are the posts –

Only recently did I realize uploading our content in .doc or .pdf files to the Kindle Store was the least optimal publishing format.  ePub, an open ebook standard, is the suggested format if you want to publish to all the ebook platforms, from the Kindle Store to iBook to the Nook. With that being said, I’m in the process of updating our four pieces to the ePub format for republishing.

Calibre, which works across platforms, is a great piece of software for formatting, converting and storing your content in the ePub standard. For the Mac, I use Sigil for further editing and formatting and then test the results on the Kindle Previewer app before publishing.

Clearly there’s a learning curve here and I hope to add more pieces to our library as well as publish to new platforms aside from Amazon Kindle. It’s clear to me that mobile access will only continue to grow as the costs of devices decline, which means we’ll continue to create mobile apps and search for new ways to interact with our audience.