Recently I had a visit from my brother-in-law, Christian Vandendorpe, who is very involved in electronic publishing. This spring he is giving a workshop at the University of Sherbrooke in Montreal on electronic publishing but unfortunately it is in French. I interviewed him about the subject.
I asked him about copyright and for most things academics publish it is a non-issue. However he pointed me to a presentation given by Paulo Coelho, a very successful Brazilian author, who has sold about 40 million copies of his books worldwide. In the presentation he says copyright is a lost battle. He then talked about selling his book in Russia. He was selling about one thousand copies a year because Russia is a large country and distribution was an issue. He then made it available for download on the net and the next year he sold 10,000 copies and that got distribution solved and he sold 100,000 of his books. He said the download give people a taste of the book and if they like it they buy the book because it is more accessible in book form. Interesting experience. You will find the video of Paulo Coelho at the DLD Conference 08. It was held in Munich this last January, 2007.
He then told me you need to decide on format. If you want it to be able to be printed PDF is best. However if you use HTML, it is more accessible. You can scan and surf with HTML. He also a format engine called CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) which is the norm for formating. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascading_Style_Sheets
If you want plan to sell it on the net you can put it on Amazon, lulu, or Google books. They can be search-able and restricted so that is the person wants to buy it they can go to Amazon.
The problem with electronic publishing is that reading on the back lite screen is difficult. It is OK for short pieces but for novel there is a problem. Apparently with electronic paper the back-lighted screen is not a problem. Two products exist now, Sony and Kindle. Kindle is available on Amazon. See http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Amazons-Wireless-Reading-Device/dp/B000FI73MA Christian is part of research team that is evaluating electronic books.
The valuable thing of having material on the net in HTML is that one can scan and surf for research with ease. This would be especially valuable with non-fiction where you want to find material using key words. You can Google it, if that is a verb.