A lot of aspiring writers and Internet marketers are faced with a dilemma: they want to create ebooks and special reports that they can sell or use as marketing tools, but they have virtually no budget for such things. Fortunately, there are ways to get up and running at no cost, aside from the equipment you already have.
In ancient times (a decade ago) if one wished to create an ebook, they needed to invest in special software. Much of the software ran only on the Windows platform, and it created ebooks that could only be opened on Windows.
The holy grail was to create PDF files that could be opened on virtually any platform or device, but that required the full version of Adobe Acrobat, which was costly. So there was a proliferation of different ebook formats out there, most of them incompatible with one another.
With the arrival of Mac OS X, however, the PDF platform became even more of a standard than it already was. Even better was the fact that every native Mac application could save files in easy-to-read and open PDF format.
To save a document in PDF, once you have formatted it to your liking, you can simply choose the Print command, click the PDF button in the Print dialog box, and choose Save As PDF from the resulting pop-up.
Recently, Apple has released its iBooks Author software for media-rich ebooks, which is free to download and use. Any Mac user can generate an ebook that is optimized specifically for the iPad. Apple’s iBooks Author has an easy-to-use interface that will be familiar to users of Apple software.
Before using iBooks Author, however there are a few things you should know. One is that, unless your offer your ebook free of charge, you will need to register for an ISBN number, which costs around $100. This is in addition to the fact, however, that your ebook will be readable only on the iPad. In addition, apple takes a 30% share of the sales (but also provides access to customers and takes care of payment processing).
There are few misconceptions floating around about iBooks Author, however. One is that Apple will own your content. This is not true! Although iBooks Author is proprietary software, you can distribute your content in other formats, such as PDF. iBooks Author will also create PDF files.
Don’t forget the fact that distributing free ebooks you make through iBooks Author can be a great marketing and promotional tool. Even though you’re offering your ebook for free, you can place any links you desire in the document.
Whether you choose to save your work as PDF, an iBooks Author document, or another format, these days you have plenty of options available to you and they needn’t cost you a dime.