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By Lee Foster

I recently discovered that using the simple PDF form of my newest travel ebook was a good way to distribute it under license to a client.

The ebook in question is my SF Travel & Photo Guide: The Top 100 Travel Experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

The book exists as an ebook on Amazon and as an app in Apple and Google. I knew I could generate a PDF of the ebook from the Word template used to create the book/ebook.

Then I was asked to give a paid luncheon talk in San Francisco to a financial group. About 50 people would attend. They wanted me to entertain them with a slideshow and commentary on “The Top Travel Experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

This was a congenial assignment.

The meeting planner wanted to follow up with their group after the talk. And the planner wanted to give away one of my printed books or ebooks.

I had several printed books selling for $14.95 (see my Amazon Author Page, below) that could be bought in bulk at $7.50. I have ebooks for $3.99, but it was complicated to work with Amazon or Apple, and which format would the meeting attendee want if I provided the ebook form directly? My new book was also out as an “app” in Apple and Google, but the audience had different kinds of devices and varying levels of expertise.

The meeting planner’s conclusion: “Just give us a simple PDF of your new SF Travel & Photo Guide that can be read on all devices. We’ll email that as a Thank You follow-up to all who attend the meeting.”

This was a good solution from my perspective. I charged them $150 to give a half-hour talk and another $1 per email of the PDF, or 50x$1, or $50. My total charge was $200, and hopefully there was also some “publicity value” in the exercise.

A PDF has both virtues and limitations. The PDF can be read on all devices. If I get a PDF via email on my iPhone, for example, I can send it to my iBooks folder and read it there with iBooks. Almost everyone has a way of reading PDFs on their computers or in their email systems. I read PDFs every day that come into my Dell laptop Download folder through my Gmail as attachments. One especially good thing about PDFs is that the links in them are clickable.

However, a PDF is not fancy, and lacks the functionality of maps, for example, which make my app on this subject appealing. The PDF can also be shared without a proper license, so theft is a reality that an author must accept. My PDFs carry in them the viral information that a version is available in a more advanced ebook or app form.

“Forms” can be an interesting subject to authors who want to function successfully in the modern world. My books may be available as printed books or as ebooks. One is now an app. One of my books is now an audiobook. Two of my books are translated into Chinese, and have had steady sales in China now for two years, so that is another “form.”  In another month or so, I will be asking a new question: Could we develop a new book form that might be called a “website book”? Stay tuned.

Some references:

Lee Foster’s latest ebook/app is SF Travel & Photo Guide: The Top 100 Travel Experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area, available as an ebook on Amazon http://amzn.to/2qS9QtG and as an app on Apple https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id1222708398  and Google http://bit.ly/2o9sWKJ.

All of Lee Foster’s books/ebooks, including the two ebooks in Chinese, can be seen on his Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/1jl9Lnz

See Lee’s four Northern California books/ebooks on his Amazon Author Page.
See Lee’s books/ebooks
on his Amazon Author Page and in Independent Bookstores

 

Aside from this ebook/app, I publish other books/ebooks about San Francisco and Northern California. One is titled The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco. My main book/ebook on Northern California is Northern California Travel: The Best Options. Those volumes, including some more on California, can be seen on my Amazon Author Page. My further books on Northern California are Back Roads California and Northern California History Weekends. One of my California books, Northern California Travel: The Best Options, is now available as an ebook in Chinese.

California, San Francisco: The Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands
California, San Francisco: The Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands

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