Q: Hi Tim, I have an idea for an ebook that I think would sell very well. The problem is that I do not know how to electronically deliver an ebook. In other words, I want to give the purchaser instant access once the purchase is complete. Can you tell me a place to start? Submitted by Garry D.
A: Garry, the best way to deliver an ebook is to convert the master ebook file to portable document format (PDF) so your customers can download the file from a web server and read it on PC and Mac computers.
You can email the PDF, but with the prevalence of email filters your delivery will probably be sent to a spam folder, leading the customer to believe that they never received their purchase, leading them to come back and scream at you (been there, done that, got the tshirt).
Here's the process I personally use:
* Write the book in a text editor. I use Microsoft Word because I like to make the ebook look just like a nicely formatted print book. Word lets me format the titles, automatically create a table of contents, include a header and footer with the book name and page numbers, etc. You can do this with other editors, including Open Office, which has a PDF export feature built in. Word just works best for me.
* Before you convert your master file make sure you proofread and spell check it thoroughly. Nothing screams UNPROFESSIONAL like an ebook full of grammatical and spelling errors, which by the way will cause people to ask for a refund faster than anything.
* Once the ebook is complete I use Adobe Acrobat to convert the Word file to a PDF file. If you don't have Acrobat you can find free PDF converters at http://www.download.com.
* Once the book is converted to PDF format I upload the file to a web server. If you have a website you can upload the PDF file to the same place where you store your website files.
* If you don't have a website you can find lots of place that will let you host web files for free. Just do a Google search for "free web hosting." You also probably have web server space through your ISP, so check that out, as well.
* Uploading the file to a web server will automatically create a download link. For example if I have an ebook called "timsbook.pdf" and I upload it to the web server where I host AskTimKnox.com the direct link to that PDF file becomes: "http://www.asktimknox.com/timsbook.pdf."
* I can now send this link to my customers via email and they can download the ebook by clicking the link.
If you want to include multiple ebooks included in the order, you should compress or "zip" those files into a single downloadable file using WinZip or another compression software. Again, check out download.com for a program to do this for you.
When the customer downloads the self-extracting zip file they will have the ability to extract the files and save them to their computer.
For example if I sell my ebook, but also offer two other ebooks as bonuses, I will use WinZip to create a single "zip" file that contains all three ebooks.
That file might be called "timsbooks.zip" and you would upload it to the web server just as you would the PDF file and use that URL for download.
For example, "http://www.asktimknox.com/timsbooks.zip" which, by the way, is not a real link :o)
Here's to your success!
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