Not "green," but "long green ..."
No inventory. No shipping cost. No spoilage if the warehouse floods. Very little overhead, almost instant delivery.
I'll always be a treeware guy at heart, I like the feel of an old book in hand, and the batteries never run out, but I'm a dinosaur and I can hear the nasty little egg-sucking mammals skritching around down there in the underbrush ...
At the risk of repeating what I've offered up here before, some things:
An ebook version of a short novel that sells for $6.99 makes the writer about four bucks a copy each one that sells.
The major publisher's paperback version of that same book makes him seventy cents. A hardback? Maybe two or three dollars, per, depending on the cost and royalty, but that's with a $25 cover price.
There are between three and five million Kindles, more or less, floating around. Ten times that many iPhones and iPods, and probably this year alone, four or five million iPads reach consumers. Not to mention Sony readers and laptop computers.
At Smashwords, you can have your book translated into HTML, Java, RTF, Text, PDF, ePub, mobi, palm doc and LRF, and if you qualify, have an ISBN # your book can be sent to all the major ebook houses to be put into their catalogs.
Doesn't cost you anything. No advance, and you won't hit the bestseller lists until you are already on them, but even so, you can sell a handful and still make some money.
For the fun of it, I checked with Lulu.com to see what a POD paperback would run.
You are gonna love this: $21, plus shipping. That could come down a little, but you can't list anything that size for under almost twenty bucks -- they won't let it out of the house for general sales, and my cost if I want to buy them? Fifteen dollars apiece. On Lulu, I make nine bucks per copy. If it sells on Amazon.com, how much of that $21 do I get?
Wonder how many of those I'd sell? Probably about as many as sold of the other title I put up there, which is to say hardly any.
People talk about how they love paper books, but they vote with their pocketbooks more often than not.