With the advent of ebooks, books are no longer limited to the physical space of a bookcase or library — they can now be accessed from anywhere in the world, at any time, by anyone with the right device.
There are tradeoffs, of course, to this democratization of books. Some people miss the physical objects. Some might argue that the quality has declined. But, for freelancers, ebooks serve two purposes: They’re an affordable way to access a huge range of information and, you can write your own ebooks to help with content marketing your freelance business.
What is an ebook?
An ebook (or electronic book) is a digital version of a book that can be read on a personal computer or handheld electronic device, such as a phone, tablet, or e-reader.(An e-reader is a specific reading device for ebooks that usually has built-in lighting.) Ebooks can be purchased from online retailers or downloaded for free from websites, like Project Gutenberg.
Ebooks can be delivered in a few different formats. The two most common ebook formats are PDF and EPUB. PDF files are best suited for reading on computers, while EPUB files are best suited for reading on mobile devices, like phones and tablets. Other less common ebook formats include MOBI and AZW3.
How do ebooks work?
When you purchase or download an ebook, you are actually buying or downloading a file that contains the text of the book, along with images and other formatting information. This file is then read by an electronic reading device, i.e. a personal computer, phone, tablet, or e-reader.
The most common way to access ebooks is to purchase or download them from an online retailer like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. If you’re using an ebook reader, you can usually purchase books directly from the device and read them there.
But if you’re not using an e-reader, you need to install reader software on your device that will allow you to read it. This software is usually free and easy to install. Most devices have software that allows you to read the file in much the same way you would read a traditional book. Some devices also allow you to highlight passages, make notes, and bookmark pages for later reference.
You can also access ebooks online through websites like Project Gutenberg or Google Books. These websites allow you to browse and read a large selection of ebooks for free without having to download them first.
Finally, many public libraries now offer ebooks for loan through their websites or apps. Just like printed books, ebooks can only be borrowed for a certain amount of time and cannot be reserved indefinitely.
Difference between book and ebooks
There are a few key differences between ebooks and books. The first, and most obvious, is that ebooks are in a digital format and books are physical. This means that ebooks can be read on devices like phones, tablets, ebook readers, and laptops, while books are tangible objects.
- Physicality. Books also tend to be heavier and take up more space than ebooks. But, on the flip side, you can hold books in your hands, flip through the pages, and dog-ear the corners. Additionally, books provide a physical space for readers to highlight and take notes in the margins, which can be helpful when studying. However, ebooks can be searched for specific keywords, highlights can be shared with others easily, and they often have additional features, like built-in lighting and audio narration..
- Access. Another pro for books is that they can be used as a reference source long after you read them the first time. In contrast, ebooks can only be accessed if the device is powered on and the internet is available.
- Price. Buying a book also typically costs more than downloading an ebook. Although there are many free ebooks available, some people find that they prefer to own a physical copy of a book because they prefer the tactile experience of reading a book, or feel that it's easier to focus on one task with a book than with an ebook.
- Publishing. For freelancers who are writing their own books, the biggest difference between ebooks and books is that, while the traditional publishing industry has many gatekeepers and is difficult to break into, publishing an ebook on your own is totally doable. In fact, many freelancers create topic-specific ebooks as part of a top of funnel content marketing strategy.
What is the purpose of ebooks?
For freelancers, the primary purpose of ebooks is as part of a content marketing strategy to generate more leads. They can be used to drive traffic to a website, to increase email subscribers, or to sell products and services. Ebooks can also be used to promote a brand or to create a connection with potential customers.
By providing valuable content to potential customers, you’re illustrating that you’re an expert in this field. They can be used to teach people about a product or service, introduce them to a new idea, or as a way to build trust and credibility. They can also help you track the interests of potential customers and follow up with them later.
How to make an ebook
Creating a book might seem daunting, but making an ebook is easier than you’d think. Here are six steps to help you become a self-published author.
1. Identify a topic
What are you passionate about? What services do you provide? What problems do your potential customers have? Those are all great starting points for a freelancer looking to write an ebook as part of a content marketing strategy.
2. Outline and write your ebook
When outlining your book, make sure you have broad heading that are then broken down into actionable chunks. You can use your outline as your table of contents, writing one section at a time until your ebook is complete.
3. Proofread and edit your ebook
Read your ebook with a sharp eye for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. If you’re not confident in your proofreading and editing skills, you can use proofreading software or outsource the job to a friend, colleague, or loved one.
4. Design your ebook
If book design isn’t yet in your skillset, you’re in good company. Luckily, there is easy to use software to help you lay out your ebook, like Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign. You can also hire someone to do it for you, but it will cost you a bit more than doing it on your own.
5. Publish your ebook
In order to get your ebook published, you’ll need to choose a platform, create an account, upload your ebook in the correct format, and hit publish. That’s it! You’re now a published author.
6. Market your ebook
Ebook marketing can take many forms, but lots of freelancers choose to create a landing page for their new book, promote it on social media, do a book reading, and utilize online advertising. The idea is to get it in front of as many potential customers as possible, so go where they are already.
Future of ebooks
Ebooks continue to grow in popularity, accounting for an estimated 11 to 28% of all books sold in 2021. The exact number of ebook sales is a bit hard to nail down, mainly because it’s so easy to self publish an ebook. But there’s no evidence that ebooks will be declining any time soon, especially as the technology for creating, accessing, and reading them continues to improve.
For a freelancer, jumping on that bandwagon is a great way to get in front of new customers, provide useful content, and grow your business. It’s an excellent low-cost, high-time investment in your business’ future.