Should your firm write an ebook?
Let’s start with the basics! What is an ebook anyway?
An ebook is just an "electronic book."
These books are viewed on a computer, mobile device or ebook reader. Ebooks have multiple digital "pages" that people can navigate through. They’re often packaged as a PDF document so they can easily be sent from one user to another and downloadable from most websites.
Where can you read ebooks?
You can read an ebook on different digital devices, like: iPhone, Android smartphones, a Macbook, PC, etc.
How do you create an ebook?
We’re going to keep it real, making an ebook can be overwhelming. An ebook is different than a white paper or other text-heavy PDF. You need visuals, basic design elements, charts, graphs and a stellar cover. We suggest contracting out a pro - someone like Checkmark ✔️
But we also understand budgets and if you want to dive in DIY-style, here’s Anum Hussain's blog post on how to create an ebook and then start with this checklist:
Choose a topic that you have a high knowledge of and matches your audience’s needs.
Outline each chapter of your ebook to establish your flow of information.
Research, research and then source!
Break down each chapter as you write it all out.
Create a small branding kit with a color scheme and font choice.
Decide on what visuals you would like to incorporate? Graphs, royalty-free images or other design elements.
Highlight quotes or statistics as an additional design element.
Place appropriate calls-to-action within your ebook, including: your contact information, an about page that highlights your focus areas, accolades and any additional items that make you a valuable author.
Convert it to a PDF and make sure to check your hyperlinks and proof for spelling and grammar. Read it at least one more time before “publishing.”
Create a dedicated landing page for your ebook on your website.
Promote your ebook and track its progress on social media, email marketing and throughout your website.
If legal ebooks are so great why do some lawyers avoid using them?
Interacting with books in real life is much different than an ebook, we get it. However, when conducting in-depth research or taking lots of notes, less might actually mean more.
What ebooks offer more than traditional books is flexibility. When you’re traveling would you rather carry five books or one digital device? Even if you’ll never swap paper for the digital world, research suggests you can reach a wider audience. And universities are turn greener as they migrate toward digital resource materials.
A few additional things to keep in mind for your ebook
There is use of certain language that is prohibited in attorney website marketing. Subjective terms like “expert,” “specialist,” or “specialized” in a specific area of law when they are not qualified to do so, must be avoided. This also applies to ebooks you author. False or misleading statements on attorney websites are forbidden. Impermissible self-laudatory statements on attorney websites usually include words like “best,” “better” or “cheapest.” Statements like these that compare an attorney’s services to another are not allowed--unless they can be factually backed up by verifiable data.
To check out more of these guidelines, head over to Internet Lava before you hit publish on your law firm’s ebook.
Like when you’re a first year and you’re conducting research that requires a deeper database search using a tool like Thomson Reuters Westlaw™ and you want to click back and forth between your book content and related online material? Traditional books don’t allow you to do that. You get the point!
Getting your ebook into the eWorld
A professional eReader allows attorneys to interact with their ebook content in a manner similar to the way they would when reading and researching the law using a traditional book. This allows you to take notes in the text, color-coding highlighted text, printing sections of content, and accessing ebooks when the internet isn’t accessible.
Thomson Reuters ProView is an eReader application that was built with legal professional research and workflow needs in mind, check it out!
Now, if we created your ebooks, where would they be accessed by the public?
Here are a few places to find free ebooks:
Project Gutenberg: the oldest digital library in the world. Once you’ve found the ebook you’re looking for, you can download it in different formats, including plain text, HTML, PDF, MOBI, EPUB, and Plucker. The best part is, you don’t need to register to start reading!
ManyBooks: offers books from the Project Gutenberg archive. New titles are added regularly and their library already has more than 33,000 free ebooks!
Open Library: is part of the internet archive and they aim to have all the world’s digital media in one place.
You can also find legal ebooks and legal research through legal websites!
Lexis Advcance® is a great place to start for anything and everything legal. There are filters you can change to find exactly what you’re looking for.
CasemakerX allows free access for those with bar membership!
Fastcase is another database that offers free access for bar members. Plus, they have a free mobile app that allows you to use their resources even when you’re not in front of a computer.
We know this is a lot of info to take in, but if you are ready to dive into all things, we can help with that ✔️