Why a Shoddy Ebook is Bad for Your Brand

An isle with messy rows of different kinds of books

Remember web video a few years back?

In the early years of online video, we were perfectly content to spend five minutes of our lives watching a video that was filmed with a laptop camera — while that laptop was on a lap. We forgave the jiggly end result, the hard-to-understand audio, and the slow pacing.

After all, we were watching video! On our computers! So cool!

Now, though, we’re not as patient with sub-par video. Because of the high video standards of people like Marie Forleo and Michael Hyatt, our collective standard for web video has risen.

The same thing has happened to ebooks

In the early days of PDF ebooks, you could simply save your text document as a PDF, and call it an ebook.

Your ebook could look like a well-formatted book report.

But PDFs can’t look like text documents anymore. Thanks to the efforts of people like Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, and — truth be told — me, the standards for ebook design are rising, too.

PDF ebooks need to be beautiful

If you’re going to take the time to create a PDF ebook, you should spend time making sure your page has ample white space, a strong color palette, and custom fonts that are beautiful and easy-to-read.

Adding images is a good idea, too.

Ereader ebooks should be carefully formatted

If you own a tablet, do you remember the first time you read a book on it? The idea that the contents of a book could fit on a device that was so light and portable that you could take it (and read it) almost anywhere was mind-blowing at first.

Oh sure, the formatting was hard to follow in places. In some books, the paragraphs ran together. Others had no bold or italics applied, and the chapter headings ran into the text … but hey! We were reading books! On tablets!

Not anymore. When an ereader-style ebook is badly formatted and hard to follow, we hold it against the author. Our perception is that they don’t care enough to make their information presentable.

Ebooks are an introduction to your business

High standards for ebooks are a sign that the market for this kind of book is maturing. They’re no longer a novelty. They’re a legitimate source of information and entertainment for millions of people.

And for those of us who use ebooks in our business, whether they’re:

  • Free ebooks that we give away
  • Opt-in ebooks that we share in exchange for an email address
  • Paid ebooks we sell for profit

… our ebooks are direct reflections of our business and our brand. In many cases, they might be a prospect’s very first experience of your business — the first tangible “thing” they get from you.

That’s why ebook quality is more important now than ever. And the first perception of quality comes from your cover.

Boring titles are ignored

Your title is a crucial component to the success of your ebook. Ebook titles that are “clever” or obscure end up confusing your prospective reader.

To create a successful ebook title, you should clearly state what the ebook is about, and create curiosity that makes people want to click through to find out more.

For the best ebook title, promise results, create curiosity, and don’t try to be clever.

Bad covers don’t get clicks

Remember how our mothers taught us to “not judge a book by its cover?”

We all ignored them, didn’t we? We most definitely judge the quality of a book by the appearance of its cover, especially when the cover may be all we see of the ebook.

Bad covers — like the made-up ones on the graphic at the top of this post — get ignored.

Your cover is like the front door to your ebook. If it looks inviting, people will want to go inside to your pages.

If it’s hard to read, unattractive, or look like it was done by an amateur, people won’t want to interact with your ebook.

Need more inspiration to get your ebook written? Take a look at this SlideShare presentation:

For more information on creating great ebooks, watch my free Brown Bag Webinar on the topic.

To watch this — and all the other Brown Bag Webinars — click the button below.


Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson coaches people to build profitable online businesses. She's an online educator, author, and keynote speaker. Read reviews of the tools used to run this site and business. Have you taken the free Focus Finder quiz yet?

Explore my Ultimate Guide for How to Build Your Business Online ➡️