Download. Read. Love.
Download. Read. Love.

Everyone is talking about ebooks right now, and almost everyone is reading them. has always been a bit quiet about things like official sales numbers, but between the Kindles they have sold, the apps they have given away free and the people using a different format like Sony or Nook, it is safe to say there are like a bajillion people reading ebooks right now. I like nice round numbers like bajillion, especially when I have a book for sale. But what is an ebook exactly and who is making them?

For our purposes, an ebook is a book that is available for sale in an electronic format. According to “E-publishing is an alternate form of publication especially attractive to new writers.”

Digging through the New York Times best sellers list and comparing it to the list of best selling books for the Kindle finds 6 out of ten duplicate titles. Those duplicates are established authors like Mike Connelly and the novels with big movies out like Water for Elephants. Epublising may be attractive to new authors but it seems to be just as attractive to publishing houses.

On the other hand, the number 4 best selling book at Kindle, as I write, is Vegas Man by John Locke, an independently published author. According to his author’s page at every 7 seconds, 24 hours a day someone is downloading a John Locke novel.

When you buy a John Locke novel you might not know you are getting something independently published. And that is the point. Most authors choosing to publish independently are professionals with a team of editors and designers producing a high quality book. But there are a few ways you can tell who is who, if you are inclined to snoop out the info.

  • Author’s page: If the author has set up an information page, their publishing history will be easy to track. You can also easily find the other books they have written and buy them, which I know they will appreciate.
  • Publisher’s name: The major ebook retailers list the book’s publication information on the page. If the publisher is blank, if it is the same name as the author, or if it is particularly cutesy, the book has been independently published. If the name sound familiar but you just can’t tell you can get very sneaky and Google the publisher.
  • Formatting style: If you aren’t in the mood to Google (this could be possible for somebody someday) you can download a sample. The simpler the formatting, the more likely the book is independently published.

But here’s a curve ball, many authors hold the rights to their out of print books. These folks have begun to independently republish their out of print titles as ebooks. You may find an original publication date and a title that you already know as traditionally published that is this time, in effect, an indy book.

And another twist, just to keep things fun: many people are epublishing books that are in the public domain. This can be fantastic for people looking for hard to find titles. But like all forms of independent publishing, these publishers will establish themselves over time with their quality of work.

Like Wisegeek said, epublishing is very attractive to new writers right now. But I’d go farther. With the number and variety of titles available, epublishing is most attractive to avid readers.


 Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of the independently published Mitzy Neuahus Mystery series. In addition to writing mysteries, Traci is a die hard childrens ministry worker. Story telling is her favorite job in the ministry but she also rocks balloon animals and wild games. Traci has written grant proposals, blogs , essays on etymology , Bible studies, Sunday School curriculum, novels, short stories, history essays, and plays. She hopes to do many more of the above, God willing and the creek don’t rise. The Mitzy Neuhaus series is available at and in paperback and ebook. More of Traci’s work can be found at

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