Caliban’s End Is POD Available

December 22, 2008

Following up on an earlier post, after Lulu sorted out all the problems they caused him, Paul F. Stewart reports he has a satisfying POD copy of his novel, What Lies Beneath, in his hands at last.

It looks like this:

Happy ending?

No, not near.

When you use a service such as Lulu, you are at its mercy.

If Stewart wonders why he’s not getting any sales, it could be due to the fact Lulu apparently hasn’t found time to actually list it.

Look at this pathetic search result:


Click = big

Despite searching both by title and “creator” (WTF?) name, what came up was not his book. Not even close. (I’ve redacted the result because the guy in it is not the subject of this post and can damn well get his own post pimpage somewhere else!)

This is not good for any writer.

Does Lulu care? Ya think?

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How Many Of THESE eBooks Will Apple Ban?

December 22, 2008

App Developer Strikes E-Book Deals With Major Publishers

ScrollMotion, a New York mobile app developer, has concluded deals with a number of major publishing houses, and is in talks with several others, to produce newly released and best-selling e-books as applications for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Publishers now on board include Houghton Mifflin, Simon & Schuster, Random House, Hachette and Penguin Group USA.

Having these big names is a big step forward for iTunes itself in becoming an e-book shop and the iPhone in becoming a legitimate e-book reader and competitor to products like the Kindle and the Sony E-Reader.

Emphasis added by me.

Cue maniacal laughter of Doom.

The first official books will begin to roll out Monday and include titles such as Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight,” Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass” and a number of others by Christopher Paolini, Brad Meltzer and Scott Westerfeld.

There are already several e-book readers in the app store, as well as a number of out-of-copyright e-books, but ScrollMotion’s product is unique in that these are stand-alone and newer in-copyright titles and best-selling novels.

Each book is a separate application using Scroll Motion’s new reader technology called Iceberg and is wrapped only in the FairPlay iTunes DRM, putting Apple directly into the e-book business by allowing them to pick up a certain percentage of each sale.

Emphasis added by me.

What? FairPlay DRM on eBooks?

FAIL!

Unlike other e-book applications, each title keeps the same pagination as the print book, while still allowing the reader to zoom in and scroll down as well as skipping ahead with a feature called “Book Skim.” Current functionality also includes note taking, text search and the ability to purchase additional books using a recommendation service over a Wi-Fi connection.

Emphasis added by me.

That’s some coding voodoo there.

On any other day, this news would be exciting.

Given Apple’s propensity for being censorious, book-banning eejits, it’s not.

They plan to eventually roll out the apps on both the Android and Blackberry platforms as well.

And so the eBook ball will be taken away from Apple.

Deservedly so!


2009: Dawn Of The eBook

December 22, 2008

Opinion: Will 2009 be the year of the eBook?

Will 2009 see mass market adoption of electronic book readers such as the wonder that is the Sony Reader?

For those of us on TechRadar that have had the pleasure of living with a Sony Reader in 2008, we can only hope that the coming years will see these wonderful gadgets find their ways into the hands of the millions of avid readers worldwide.

Robert McCrum, respected literary editor of The Observer, is also a huge fan of the e-book, posing the basic (but fundamentally vital) question this week: “will people carry on buying books?”

“Framed like that, it’s a no-brainer,” writes McCrum.

And:

While TechRadar largely agrees with McCrum’s assertion that e-readers are currently “the kind of gizmos the trade will use to lighten its load (literally)” and that “the reading public has yet to make the switch” he is surely bang on the money when he claims that “the iPod moment” for books, while it has not yet occurred, is on the near future horizon.

Emphasis added by me.

Ironically, that “iPod moment” is now very unlikely to have anything to do with book-banning Apple!

The upcoming wireless Sony Reader will be a move towards that.

But I’m also keeping my eye on Palm too.

And who knows what Asus will do, if anything? Let’s not forget the impetus for the original EeePC was to empower kids with an inexpensive computer. Could Asus do a US$99 eInk (or Pixel Qi) ePub-capable eBook reader? (And at $US99, would lack of wireless matter?)

Things aren’t settled hardware-wise yet.

But bring on those ePub eBooks anyway!


Apple Bans ANOTHER Book From App Store!

December 22, 2008

And this time it’s an eBook with nothing but words!

E-Book Banned from App Store for Obscene Content

David Carnoy’s book, entitled Knife Music, was rejected twice by Apple. Yesterday, Apple deemed some of its content objectionable, saying the book does not follow the company’s guidelines in its software-development kit, according to Carnoy (who is also the writer behind CNET’s Fully Equipped electronics column).

One line in particular, where a teenage girl uses expletives during a romantic encounter, is at the core of Apple’s objections.

“The app was resubmitted last week, and the only reason cited for the rejection was because of the obscene content,” Carnoy said.

Emphasis added by me.

Why is he surprised?

“And furthermore, there’s ‘explicit’ content all over iTunes, with lots of rap music (they have the ‘explicit’ bug on those items). And obviously, Apple does serve up some R-rated movies,” Carnoy added. “Beyond that, Apple sells audiobooks through iTunes that feature profanities. It has plenty of best sellers that are in the same genre as my book (Michael Connelly’s Brass Verdict, for instance). So, obviously, the whole thing is hypocritical and unfair. My book is R-rated at best. It’s not porn.”

Welcome to the Apple App Store of Hypocrisy, Carnoy!

Previously here:

Direct Publishing Via POD: A Primer (David Carnoy article)
WHY Freedom Of Speech MATTERS, Dammit! Part Three
Sony eBook Store: Publishers Portal
2010: Back In Your Box, Bitch
WHY Freedom Of Speech MATTERS, Dammit! Part Two
WHY Freedom Of Speech MATTERS, Dammit!
Takiji Kobayashi: Writer’s Revenge
Murderdrome: Eleven Years Old!
Print: Dying. And The Net: No Future?
Apple And A Tale Of Two Bannings
Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!


eBook Winners: RH And S&S

December 22, 2008

Random House recently announced it will increase its eBook offerings thanks to exploding sales.

The publisher already has more than 8,000 books in the electronic format and will have a digital library of nearly 15,000. The new round of e-books is expected to be completed within months; excerpts can be viewed online through the publisher’s Insight browsing service.

And now Simon & Schuster announces it’s been a big eBook winner too.

Simon & Schuster expects to have nearly quadrupled e-book sales by the end of 2008, according to its c.e.o. Carolyn Reidy. In her end-of-year letter to staff, Reidy said that in response to the growing demand the publisher was making an additional 5,000 titles available.

This is good news, but still not the best news.

Thousands of titles sounds great, but there have already been that available and I’ve noted significant gaps in writer collections and entire authors not yet available in eBook format here at The eBook Test blog.

I don’t think these moves will make a significant dent in that deficit.

I think for every current title one of these publishers releases as an eBook, anywhere between five to ten of the mid- and back- list should be released too. Stop allowing Google to steal from writers!

One thing I have to comment about is Random House’s earlier announcement that it’s changing the formula to calculate royalties to writers.

I’ve stayed more or less mum about this but now I think it’s time for me to take a stand: It’s a good thing.

Yes, I know it will cause immediate pain to writers, but the Right Now isn’t my concern. I take the Long View.

Random House is recognizing that eBooks cannot continue to be sold at price parity with printed versions. The majority of book buyers will not stand for that. I don’t stand for that.

So lower prices are the future.

But with these lowered prices will come many more sales. I’m convinced of that.

Take the pain today, writers, for tomorrow’s better profits.


Will Mac OS X Have THE ePub Program For Writers?

December 22, 2008

One of the big frustrations for writers who wish to direct publish eBooks using the industry-standard ePub file format is the complexity of that format and the current expense of the tools. Basically, unless you’re a real techie, you need to be a professional typesetter because what the on-shelf choices currently boil down to is the pricey Adobe InDesign.

Last week I learned of a new desktop publishing package for Mac OS X called iStudio Publisher.

I immediately read the description of it and emailed the publisher to ask them to consider adding ePub file output support. This led to the revelation by that publisher that another program is under development, called iStudio Bookbuilder — which will be specifically for building eBooks and which will also feature ePub file creation!

Without divulging any information about the state of its development, let me quote some of an email I received today:

[I]t will be very similar to iStudio Publisher, which is focussed on drawing / layouts, and turning the focus more to writing. There will be lots of features for writers, such as allowing the writer to make notes and save URLs against certain parts of the text, auto indexing, advanced stylesheets, outputting to ePub and many more features.

We aim to sell Bookbuilder at $149 — however, we will give a discount to early adopters of iStudio Publisher — and the two file types will be compatible with each other.

That sounds wonderful!

The price is affordable and it sounds as if they’re thinking beyond static book-like files, with the ability to tap on URLs to reach out to the Internet. That would be especially helpful for non-fiction eBooks that are tied into timely information.