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January 21, 2020

Tips on Utilizing and Publishing E-books in a DevRel Context

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"Have you ever published an e-book? With the advent of e-book platforms like Amazon Kindle Store and Rakuten Kobo, it has become possible for individuals to publish books easily. Such e-books can actually be utilized in DevRel (Developer Relations) activities as well.

Publishing e-books for developers is one way e-books can be used in DevRel.

By publishing on e-book platforms, which virtually cost nothing in terms of money and time (compared to paper), you can increase exposure (awareness).

In summary, it may be possible to increase awareness without spending much money. For instance, if your company offers products for developers, you could publish introductory books for beginners or practice books for intermediate users as e-books. If you print these e-books as booklets, you can distribute them at exhibitions, events, or other offline occasions.

The Rough Process of Publishing an E-Book

  1. Prepare Various E-Book Publishing Accounts
  1. Prepare EPUB Data (Manuscript) and Cover Image
  • For the Kindle Store, formats other than EPUB are supported, but Rakuten Kobo only supports EPUB. If you register on both platforms, it is recommended to create the manuscript in EPUB.
  1. Register the E-Book and Undergo Review
  • This can take a little time. In the Kindle Store, it's usually within 24 hours, and Rakuten Kobo takes up to about three days.
  1. Once Approved, Your E-Book Will Be Published

Points and Tips for Creation

Manuscript Creation and Management with Gitbook

If you are a developer, I recommend creating your manuscript with Gitbook. Gitbook is a Node.js tool that allows you to create documents in Markdown format and manage them with git.

You can export to HTML, PDF, EPUB, making it useful not only for developer documentation but also for e-book manuscripts.

How to Sell for 0 Yen on the Kindle Store

The Kindle Store usually requires a minimum price of 99 yen to sell. However, you might want to publish e-books for free (0 yen), just like making web content free.

In such cases, you can sell for 0 yen by applying a price match. Publish the same book for 0 yen on another e-book platform, and then apply for a price match through the Kindle Store's inquiry.

Be Aware, Rakuten Kobo's Review is Extremely Strict!

Rakuten Kobo allows publishing from 0 yen by default and account creation is easy, so it's sometimes used for Kindle Store's price matching. However, Rakuten Kobo's review is thorough and can take up to three days. Their checks are very strict compared to the Kindle Store. As per their terms and conditions, they do not allow hyperlinks or even mentioning URLs in text. This can be a bit painful when writing technical books where URLs are important.


This was a discussion on how publishing e-books can be a tool for DevRel activities. Why not try writing one yourself? Have a great e-book life!"

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