Recycling Website Content to become a Successful eBook Publisher

Executive Summary

  • Becoming an eBook Publisher May Be Easier Than You Think
  • Many eBook Publishers are Simply Recycling Website Content
  • An eBook Publisher Has No Inventory Eating Cash Flow

A writer and online publisher I know was making a good living with his simple, advertising-driven website. His topic is hot and his content is rich in keywords. His site includes about 3,000 pages of content and through a combination of Google AdSense ads and a few select affiliate deals, he’ll do about $1.2M in revenue for this year.

Opportunity: A writer at heart, he wondered if he could make a few extra dollars selling ebooks from his well-trafficked site. His first task as an ebook publisher was the creation of one title that was primarily a collection of articles from his website. Much to his surprise, the simple ebook sold very well. He decided to make a few more ebooks and by the middle of 2005, he had 43 ebooks available from links on his site, with plans to make even more.

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Results: Our newly successful ebook publisher topped $50,000 in sales for June and $65,000 for July. Based on some pretty complex website analytics, he figures he can do about $400 per year for every page of his site that has a featured ebook on the same topic as the page. His current 43 titles give him ebooks for about 2,000 of his 3,000 pages. Oddly, it looks like he can do about the same revenue per page from advertising and ebook publishing, which should double next year’s revenues (or even a bit more).

Issues: Although he created the first few ebooks himself, he quickly decided his time was best spent being an ebook publisher and not an ebook editor. So he made the decision to hire out new ebook production. He correctly concluded that the best use of his time was creating new articles for the site and practicing the fine art of search engine optimization.

Our ebook publisher found a talented freelance editor who knew his subject area using eLance. His new editor can crank out three to four ebooks a month that average 65 to 125 pages by taking content from his site and giving it a mild rewrite and a little packaging. He pays his editor between $400 and $800 per book depending on the length, and the amount of rewrite that is required. They agree on the topic and she sifts through the site to find the right mix of articles for each ebook.

He now uses 1ShoppingCart to handle ebook order processing and fulfillment. He has also hired a full-time customer service manager to take over the growing customer support calls and emails associated with his increasing ebook sales volume. He’s also thinking about upgrading to a more sophisticated Internet publishing system next year.

Lesson: One really profitable revenue stream is a good thing. Two really great revenue streams is an amazing thing. Just last week, our now very successful website and ebook publisher told me he was going back to reread the Mequoda Daily reports on Generating Website Revenue and Building Website Networks.

“There are seven successful models,” he told me. “I’m only using two.”


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