Obooko and ebook conversion

Posted by Paul Samael on Friday, September 27, 2013 Under: Self-publishing

Just published a copy of my novel on Obooko, which is a free ebooks platform based in the UK.  The upload process itself was pretty straightforward - and you get a nice email back from a human being (yes, a real person !).  The download page is here.  I will post an update once the novel has been on there a bit longer.  Judging from how other people's work is doing, I am not expecting vast numbers of downloads.  

That said, the figures for some of the books which have been there for some time are reasonably impressive.  For example, "The Judas Tree", which I reviewed on this blog last year, has had close to 5000 downloads in total (over 3000 in PDF, which surprised me a bit, as I thought e-reader versions would be more popular).  Note that you have to be prepared to offer your book for free - there is no option to require payment from readers.

UPDATE 20.10.2013:  After about 4 weeks, I have 57 downloads in total - which is roughly in line with what I'd expected, looking at how other recent additions to the site have performed.  I think it's not too bad a performance, especially given that the book has limited visibility, appearing as it does on page 6 of "General & Literary Fiction" (which seems to present books in the order that they were uploaded - looks like oldest first).  Maybe Obooko ought to do something about that e.g. have some sort of "what's new" or "latest releases" page.  PDF downloads far exceed anything else. I'm a bit surprised about the popularity of PDFs on Obooko, given that on Feedbooks, downloads in Epub format are way ahead of anything else.  But so long as at least some people are reading it, who cares what format they download it in?

UPDATE 29.3.2014:  I gather that a site revamp is in the works for Obooko (expected later this year), so if you have held off until now, it may be worth taking another look at the site when that happens.  Downloads of my novel now stand at 102 i.e. it's doubled in about 6 months, which is slow but steady progress, I suppose. I recently added a short story collection, "The Hardest Word and other stories."  On the face of it, this seems to be doing a bit better - 53 downloads in the space of a week.  Again, that suggests that you shouldn't write Obooko off as a waste of time - just don't expect it to produce vast numbers of downloads.  

The main problem I had was meeting Obooko's requirement to provide my own .epub file (plus a .mobi file if you want), which I didn't have (except for the files generated by Smashwords or Feedbooks - but I didn't feel I could use them).  So I have had to become acquainted with the delights of ebook conversion software.  

At first, I tried an online ebook converter but it made such a mess of the formatting that it was hopeless (I'm not sure what I really expected !).  So then I downloaded Calibre, which is a piece of free ebook conversion software.  

Although it claims to be able to convert from Word files (.doc and .docx), I had some problems when I used .doc to generate a .mobi file (suitable for the Kindle); the formatting seemed to go awry and some lines of text seemed to disappear in the viewer.  But when I saved my .doc file to as a web page (.htm), that converted fine.  The other problem I had was with the epub version because I had failed to tick the box in the options telling it to preserve the "aspect ratio" of the cover image - the result was that my cover image got either stretched or squashed, which made it look a bit weird.

But these little niggles aside, I found Calibre to be fairly straightforward to use (and so the whole ebook conversion process was relatively painless in the end  - it was certainly much less daunting than I had initially feared).  If you want to apply DRM protection (or convert books which are DRM protected), however, Calibre won't help you - it only works with DRM-free material.

In : Self-publishing 

Tags: obooko  calibre  "ebook conversion software" 
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About Me

Paul Samael Welcome to my blog, "Publishing Waste" which will either (a) chronicle my heroic efforts to self-publish my own fiction; or (b) demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of (a). And along the way, I will also be doing some reviews of other people's books and occasionally blogging about other stuff.
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