The Lowdown

What are E-books?

E-books are electronic or digital books that can be self-published and marketed. With the proliferation of the internet, electronic self-publishing has become a strong alternative for content creators. It's a cheap alternative to traditional publishing but can be just as effective. E-books are sold in the millions now and represent a large portion of the publishing market.

Traditional Publishing

Traditionally, to write and publish a book you had to go through a publishing house. This process is a bit more involved than self-publishing. You would first need to convince them on your book and if accepted, they would buy the rights to publish your book and pay you a small royalty (Typically 10-15%) for each retail price book sale. The publishing company would handle the majority of the work putting your book together besides creating the content. They would print it, publish, carry inventory, and handle distribution.

Self-published E-books

With e-books and self-publishing, you own the rights to your book and you keep all the profits. There is very little overhead and expenses compared to traditional routes. However, you are in charge of creating your content, reviewing it for grammatical accuracy, putting your book together, and marketing it.

Since e-books are digital, they can be bought online and read or downloaded to your reading device (Smartphone, computer, Kindle) immediately. There is no printing, storage, inventory, packaging, and shipping costs. This greatly reduces your expenses and risk which means you can test and iterate different projects quickly.

There are many uses for creating e-books. It doesn't have to be a book destined for the New York Times bestsellers list but rather useful longer form content like how-to guides, niche topics, self-help, travel guides, etc. You can without a doubt create epic novels of grand proportion but with the ease of creating and distributing e-books, you aren't limited to just your greatest literary works. 

How Does it Work?


How Do You Make Money?

Self-publishing a book can be lucrative. The main expense you'll incur is from the sites that you make your e-book available on. Most charge a small percentage for each sale. Amazon's Kindle direct publishing charges 30% for each book sold but they also provide the most amount of exposure for your book.

You can also make your book available on your own website. There is simple payment software that you can integrate on your website to allow purchases directly from your site. In this case, you keep all the profit on the sale of your book but it also means you'll have to create your own traffic. If you already have a large existing readership, this might be a great option for you since it's the lowest in cost.

E-books can be used for many reasons and ways to create revenue. Some authors create e-books to establish authority in their niche giving away their books for free as a lead generation tool. It provides authority to the author, which can lead to a larger sale down the line of another product or service.

Another way to create revenue through an e-book is through affiliate links. You can give away your e-e-book for free, but within the content of the book, insert relevant affiliate links to products or services that are related to your book topic. Let's say you create a book about gardening. In that gardening book, you can reference a lawnmower that you really like and stick an affiliate link referencing where to buy it. If a reader clicks your link and buys the product, you'll get an affiliate commission for it.

What Are The Pros & Cons?

  • Inexpensive to create
  • Many channels to get book exposure
  • High margin
  • No inventory
  • No shipping
  • Complete ownership of the product
  • Residual income
  • Doesn't have the prestige of a publishing company
  • Lacks the appeal of a physical book
  • Requires a lot of initial work to create the book

Estimated Startup Cost

There are very few costs associated with creating your own e-book. Most of the tools necessary to create one are free and comes with most computers. However, if you want to create a professional-looking cover, which is one of the biggest factors in a purchase, you'll spend a little to have a freelancer design on for you.

Book Design

One time

Total Cost


Key Activities for e-Books

When you're creating an e-book, most of your time will be spent on writing. No big surprise there. However, once you create the material you rarely have to go back to it unless you do revisions. You're creating a residual product because the product lives indefinitely. Once you publish your books on different hosting locations or on your own site, they'll be live and available to anyone to buy whether you're sleeping or not. The rest of your time is spent marketing and getting your book added exposure.


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Blog By Jonathan Chan

The great thing about ebooks is that they’re very easy to produce, they pack a ton of great content, and they’re a fantastic tool to help you generate even more sales, leads, and conversions.

Not only do ebooks help give your brand some much-deserved credibility and establish you as an expert among your competition. ebooks are also incredibly effective in helping you promote your brand and leave a solid first impression on any potential customer.

For these reasons, anyone running an online business ought to learn how to make an ebook. Fortunately, we’ve compiled here Foundr’s entire process, from tools to marketing, for creating a great ebook. Follow these steps, and anyone can create a killer ebook on any budget.

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