I have been producing ebooks since 2005 but until leading manufacturers, like Apple and Sony, settled on the .epub format and produced ebook readers, there was no standard format that could be recommended. The major manufacturers and publishers, other than Amazon, have now settled on the .epub format.
.epub is a free and open standard that makes it easy for publishers to create ebooks and to convert existing text into ebooks. Sony and Google have already converted more than 500,000 public domain books (written before 1923), Project Gutenberg has converted most of its 28,000 book catalogue and Munseys has more than 18,000 .epub books. All of these are available free.
I have started making my ebooks available in .epub and .pdf formats at www.lulu.com/spotlight/PeterThorogood
If you have a book written using Microsoft Word (or just about any other word processor), and would like some help making it into an .epub book and getting it on the web, let me know.