E-books for Christmas

I'm writing a Christmas story, that I am going to give out to friends for Christmas gifts. I am not a published author yet. I've thought about possibly putting it as an online e-book, but don't know if it costs money to do. That way, if they enjoyed it, they could show it to other friends and family. I guess my question is what is your opinion of e-books? I plan on going the regular route of publishing companies when I finish my novel. But for short stories to share with others, what would be the best way to share - besides giving them a file or printout of the story?
I wouldn't make an e-book out of something you planned to publish in the future without the permission, guidance, help of your publisher/agent. But an e-book is a great way to distribute a story you'd like to share with family and friends.

You need to create the file—which is often a pdf file (my preference because you can make it look pretty) or some type of generic text file (easier for you; but ugly). You also need a delivery method—which could be as simple as sending it through e-mail.

If you want a fancy delivery service where you can post the file and let people come download it at their convenience, you'll need some type of website and server capabilities to do that. You could create a Yahoo group and post it in the Files section. That is free.

Or if you want something more complex, you'll need to get that info from somewhere else. I'm not involved in that part of our company. (We do very few e-books.) For a really spectacular example of doing this, see what Marnie Pehrson has done. I have no idea how she did it so I can't really help you with the specifics.

Anyone with experience on this want to chime in?

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