At Exciting Press, we like to use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select program, because it gives us the chance to offer our books for free on a regular basis as well as let you borrow them through the Kindle Lending Library. That means we publish almost exclusively through Kindle, but we do so without DRM, which means that, even if you prefer Barnes & Noble and own a Nook, or you read on a device made by Sony or Kobo, you can still read our books. Because we publish without DRM, you can convert our ebooks you buy from Amazon into any format you want (ePub? Doc? PDF? Sure!).
Download the book file to your PC. Remember the folder your computer saves it into.
Next, vist this site and download the Calibre ebook management software. Calibre’s pretty excellent even if the only reason you use it is to convert one ebook file into another format. Also, it’s available for both PC and Mac.
Open Calibre. Click “Add Book,” and find the Amazon file in the folder you saved it to. It will appear in the main pane of the program. Now keep that file highlighted and click “Convert Book.” On the next screen, in the upper right-hand corner, change the format to ePub. Click OK.
The program will output a brand new ePub to your Calibre library folder. And you can do with that file anything you like. Read it on your Nook or iPad. And sure, send it to a friend. We won’t mind. We’ll appreciate you’re spreading the word.
A note on why we publish using Kindle, rather than using a more open-platform approach:
In 2007, Amazon introduced its first Kindle and revolutionized publishing. A year or so before, Amazon had bought a company called Mobipocket, whose software powered many of the most popular digital reading devices on the market, including Palm software (remember Palm Pilots?). At the time of that purchase, several formats existed (just as, not many years before, there had been digital music formats like mp3s and ATRACs and AACs and WMAs), and not long after that, many people in the publishing industry, including the major corporate publishers, decided it was in their best interest to adopt and formalize a “standard” format for digital publishing.
The standard they chose was ePub. After Amazon had already bought Mobipocket and made the .mobi format easy to use and create. Can you imagine how embarrassed they were about that? It’s almost like when Sony threw their weight behind the VHS format and the rest of the industry decided Betamax should be the standard, because it was higher quality–
That’s a joke, of course. That never happened. What happened was that despite the fact that people associated with corporate publishers want to support the ePub format and call it the “standard” because it’s open source (that means anyone can develop for it), Amazon gained a majority of the share of the digital reading market, and like it or not, that means .mobi, .prc, and .azw formats (they’re pretty much the same) are the standards.
This isn’t actually a bad thing. Provided you have access to Windows, it’s really easy to make a .mobi file (generated by using Mobipocket Creator to build from an HTML file). .Mobi is easy to create, and far more so than ePub. Also, because Amazon bought .mobi and they want people to be happy with their Kindles, you can rest assured that their support of the .mobi format is top-notch, whereas ePub is open-source, and likely if you need help creating it you have to go to some forum or other where everyone runs Linux and expects you to execute shell commands to be able to debug software.
Finally, the big difference is that, when it comes to digital reading, there’s basically Barnes & Noble and Amazon. There are other companies for sure (Apple, Kobo, Sony, pretty much in that order), but Kindle and Nook are the Verizon and AT&T of the digital reading market. The three most major digital reading devices? The Amazon Kindle, B&N’s Nook, and Apple’s iPad (the latter of which includes both the former contenders as apps).
Now, we at Exciting Press are interested in reaching as many readers as we can. One might think that would include the condition of making our work available in every format across every platform, but we noticed something; the platform with the most discoverability is Amazon. Better than Smashwords, better than Barnes & Noble, better than offering the files direct here on this very site. More readers find more of our books using Amazon and Kindle, and even more readers do so when we use the Kindle Select program, which is the tricky part; while it makes our books exclusive to Kindle (not so good), it also allows us to offer you all our stories free during special promotions, and let you borrow them, as well (we think this is awesome. If there’s anything better than free books, we’re not sure what it could be). We can go months without selling anything on Barnes & Noble while at the same time selling hundreds of copies on Kindle.
In short, all our experiences indicate that our books find more new readers through Amazon, and the promotions the Kindle Select program enable complement that. We don’t love that we don’t publish in an open format, and we know a lot of readers prefer ePub solely because they’re scared of something Amazon might do, but we think that publishing without DRM is a fair compromise, for the most part.
If you need any help with the above instructions, don’t hesitate to use this site’s contact form. We can help. Even if you’re not asking about one of our books.