Now available: Design for Impact by Erin Weigel

Retiring an ebook format

06/06/2012

When we published our first book back in 2008, we sold it in two and only two formats: paperback and a screen-optimized PDF. Both had been extensively researched, carefully conceived, and user tested. And we thought we were hot stuff for bundling print and digital from the very start.

Since then, the reading experience has changed dramatically. (To understate things dramatically.) In response, we rolled out printer-optimized PDF versions of our books, so customers could print them out more effectively. Then our books came out in iPad-friendly ePub format. Then, MOBI for the Kindle.

After the mad shifting of sands underfoot, things seemed to stabilize over the past year or two. A large portion of our sales are now digital only, and of them, ePub and MOBI files are the clear formats of choice for reading on mobile devices.

The odd man out? Our old-fashioned (four year-old!) screen-optimized PDF. And that makes sense—why use PDF, a format conceived for print, when there are newer formats designed to be used on your favorite mobile device? Additionally, publishing is a low-margin business, and producing a specially-designed screen-optimized PDF almost doubled our layout costs.

So, goodbye, screen-optimized PDF, and thank you. We’ll continue providing printer-optimized PDFs, as well as ePub and MOBI ebooks. When the ebook sands shift further, we’ll keep up. And our ebooks will remain DRM-free.

Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.

And as a reward for getting this far, you get to be one of the first to learn of our newest book, which just soft-launched a couple hours ago. Apropos of this discussion, it’s Rachel Hinman’s The Mobile Frontier. And here’s a 25%-off discount code to use when purchasing it: EASTEREGG (good for the first 25 people to redeem it).