E-books: What are you waiting for?

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By John Bond


Associations have evolved to meet their member’s needs in so many ways. Some have made the big move to digital and started to offer a wider variety of content formats than in the past. Associations have surely mastered magazines, journals, and newsletters. Perhaps it is time to dive into e-books — assuming you are not already there.


Joe Vallina, director of product management for the American Nurses Association, spoke at the Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting in June 2019 in Washington, D.C., about the opportunity e-books offer for new revenue.


Associations can approach an e-book program in one of two ways. Of course, they can convert any existing paper book titles into e-book format. Larger organizations have likely done this.


Another way to establish a program and create new revenue is to offer existing content in this format. Content can be found by looking at popular blog posts, guidelines, white papers, or other material not traditionally thought of as books. Website traffic statistics may reveal ideas of which content is hot and which is not. These collections can cover a very specific topic or broader trends.


Once the content is ready, it needs a little formatting. Properly formatting the e-book will make the content available on all devices and in all formats, most notably on smartphones. While very important, it doesn’t have to be daunting. Moving from the existing format to e-book format is relatively easy, and many third-party vendors can assist budget-conscious organizations.


Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program (KDP) is a great place to start distributing. Love ‘em or hate ‘em (and there is good reason to do either), KDP offers a vibrant service that will make the content available to many markets and many individuals outside your association — and that means new revenue.


The question of e-book pricing always arises. Vallina advocates market-based pricing to ensure the products are competitive.


If you have an active e-book program, what has been your experience? If not, why not start now? There is no time like the present.


John Bond is a publishing consultant at Contact him at