For a change, my article headline
doesn’t have some sarcastic undertone or alternative
meaning! I haven’t utilized some delicious pun to
demonstrate a point, this time. This article is actually
about what you might look for to determine a worthwhile
ebook from the tons of absolute crud that abound online.
In the first place, of course, the headline says it plain
and simple. Don’t judge an ebook by its
cover…literally. There is some really wonderful ‘cover
creation’ software that can be got for very little.
It’s good news for the ebook publisher but it also means
that the most useless and least valuable piece of rubbish
can look like a million dollars in the promo’.
Generally speaking, when it comes to ebooks on the
Internet, most people, especially those who would be
exposed to this article, are going to be presented more
often than not with non-fiction, that is, guides,
tutorials and instructionals about marketing and home
business or ‘how to…’ type titles.
There are many such titles available and some are quite
worthwhile and of value, especially to people just
beginning on their ‘online business adventure’. I am
referring to these sorts of ebooks, rather than novels,
which are a completely different animal and are purchased
for entirely different reasons.
The ebook ‘litmus test’ is two-fold as far as I am
concerned. If an author or publisher is truly confident
that an ebook is worth what they ask, they will feature
two important things:
The first is a ‘glimpse’ of some sort, whether it is a
sample of the ebook for download, or a few screenshots of
pages, so that prospective buyers can see, prior to
buying, the type of information being imparted, the look
and style of the ebook and features with which it is sold.
This can be a bit of a dilemma for some, as there is often
the question of how much to ‘give away’, but anyone
serious about their ebook and what it offers, will find a
medium. Even when it’s not much, it’s something - that
is, they’re happy for you to see something BEFORE you
The second is a ‘money back’ guarantee. The Internet
has given us instant access to information in many forms,
including the ebook. This instant access has made it
necessary for people to pay ‘up front’ for information
that bears a charge. The mechanisms for this access, the
likes of [b]Clickbank[/b], have such transactions down to
a fine art. They also have a built-in safety net in the
form of their ’90 day money back guarantee’.
If you buy an ebook (or software) through Clickbank and
simply change your mind, your credit card WILL be credited
without question. Some authors and publishers sell
directly, rather than use the services of such a facility.
Some offer a similar guarantee however, some people have
discovered to their chagrin, that a guarantee from just
anyone is not much good.
This would suggest that purchasing directly from the
author or publisher is a risky business, but I’m not
going to go that far. I will go so far as to say that I
would only be confident if a click on the ‘Buy Me’
button led to a Clickbank (or similar) secure purchase
facility with an ‘enforceable’ guarantee of
As I’ve said, there are all kinds of ebooks about all
kinds of topics. Some are nothing more than a promotional
catalogue for a given product or website. Others are
simply a means to get others to sign up for the myriad of
lists and/or facilities, which are available. Some
affiliates attempt to extend their downlines by supplying
free ebooks with links to their many programs. Needless to
say, these types of ebooks shouldn’t be charged for at
Apart from actually reviewing an ebook, there is no way to
ascertain whether the actual content is of value or worth
what is being asked. In fact, as we all have different
needs and different expectations, opinions would vary
somewhat anyway. But of course, the ‘money back’
guarantee would seem to negate this particular concern -
if you’re not satisfied, get your money back.
There is one final consideration, which I think is
important in determining the value and quality of an ebook
and also the seriousness of the author (or publisher). The
way in which the ebook is presented and the program used
to enable it to be viewed by those who access it. A number
of ‘ebook compilers’ are nothing more than ‘offline
browsers’. They are simply a series of web pages linked
together and packaged as an ebook. Some can’t even be
viewed without a browser like Internet Explorer«.
My feeling is that an author who ‘loves’ his/her book
(and every author should consider their creation as a
child) should only be satisfied with presenting it in the
best possible way. ‘3D Page Turning’ technology has
been available for a few years but has come into it’s
own in the last twelve months. The programs needed to
publish in this format are more expensive than your
‘offline browsers’ but the finished product is in
every respect a ‘virtual book’.
You open the book at the cover and you turn pages (and see
them turning) as in a real book. The pages and the text
look every bit like a real book. In every sense (other
than reality itself) you get a ‘virtual’ or ‘e’
book’. It is just my opinion and it doesn’t have any
‘real’ bearing on the quality of the content but to
me, it represents an attempt to give the reader the look
and feel of a real book-reading experience.
These things, to me, represent the difference between a
worthwhile ebook and a means to an end, which
unfortunately, some are.