Archive for February 2011

02 Feb, 2011 | Posted by: psnotes

The Ebook


By Lee Foster

Turning our attention from apps to ebooks, there are several revolutions in publishing occurring simultaneously around us. All these revolutions affect the photographer who dreams of collecting his or her work in “books” of various kinds.

A first question is: do you want your “book” to be an ebook, an ebook and a print book, or a print book? Ten years ago this question would not have been asked.

Today, an argument can be made that an ebook may be sufficient. As the number of iPads and various readers/tablets proliferates, to say nothing of smart phones that are used by some as ebook readers, the ebook becomes more desirable.

Your print book will probably never sell outside North America, but your ebook can sell worldwide. The same is true of apps, as I have mentioned earlier. My book The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco sells only in North America. It is a physical object, sold for a modest price, and can’t be shipped economically around the world. My app San Francisco Travel Photo Guide, on the same subject, has sold in 46 foreign countries.

For some, however, holding a physical book in the hand is a critical aspect of the book concept. A physical book has a special tactile solidity than can assist a consumer to feel the project is substantial. For that desire, the rapid advance of quality print-on-demand at an economical price, making one book at a time, is a major revolution.

However, for color-photo books, print-on-demand is generally not yet economical. You still have to print your independent color-photo book in quantity on an offset printing press. I printed 3,000 copies in China of my color-photo/text literary book Travels in an American Imagination at a cost of $2.21 per book. That book is now an ebook in the Apple iTunes App Store.

When thinking of ebooks, you will want to see that your book is available in all the viable formats.

You will want to sell your ebook in the Amazon Kindle Store to be read on Kindle and other devices. One aspect of this is that Kindle devices will only read black and white, not color. However, accept that limitation and flow with it.

Kindle books are not just for the Kindle reading devices. The free Kindle for iPad software, for example, will allow books bought in the Kindle store to be viewed in full color on the iPad. Beyond the world of Amazon, the non-Kindle format called epub will be one further format for you to consider. Google will become a major distributor of ebooks as we look ahead.

There is a lot to study and ponder. One question will be: do you want to handle a lot of the details yourself, or can you get a provider to manage many of the details for you? Some providers to peruse (after Googling them) are Lightning Source, CreateSpace, and Smashwords. These three entities will have answers for many potential photo book publishers.

In the coming months we’ll look more specifically at some of the many issues surrounding ebooks.

Lee Foster
Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at
Two new photo travel guidebooks at
Latest thoughts on travel at
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at