Showing posts with label digital publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label digital publishing. Show all posts

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Lost and found

 Many readers know that works from 1925 have recently entered the public domain. That means
you can read them for free -- if you can find them. So far I've only seen "The Great Gatsby" available as a free download. I didn't find a stand-alone version of that title, but I found something better, F. Scott Fitzgerald's collected works.

Works by George Orwell and Sinclair Lewis have also entered the public domain in the United States, but I haven't been able to find any freebies so far in my country. But literary works in the public domain here might also be so in other countries. And they are. Although Project Gutenberg hasn't released certain books on its American website, it has done so on its Australian website.

When a publisher releases a physical book, it must recoup the costs of paper and printing. Those costs remain even if the work is in the public domain. However because bandwidth is cheap, I believe many public domain eBooks are overpriced. To avoid being gouged, sometimes a little extra effort is needed. After downloading eBooks to my computer, I transfer them to the extra drive I installed on my Kindle Fire. In order to read those books, I use a file explorer application to open them. One of my new eBooks appeared in my Kindle's list of titles. The others didn't. I've no idea why. Regardless, I can always open eBooks with the file explorer. Thrifty folk sometimes have to use workarounds. I don't mind.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Bullseye, but not the target I expected

The Power of Free on Amazon Kindle
Glen Chapman
Nonfiction 22 pages
Amazon Digital Services. 2013

I've read a number of books on self-publishing eBooks. Some were free; others I paid for. Just about every one of these eBooks offers clever marketing tricks. Some tricks seem to work. Others seem impractical or unethical. This book isn’t packed with tips. Its chief virtue is its discussion of how downloadable MP3s changed the music industry and how eBooks will change the publishing industry.

In previous years if you wanted to record and sell your music, or write and sell your book, you had to hook up with a record company or book publisher. These acted as gatekeepers and ensured that only those titles with presumed commercial potential were available to consumers.

That has changed. Musicians and authors are now able to self-publish their work with a minimum of equipment and cost. Enter the long tail. When publishing involved high production costs and inventories, it made sense to promote the most popular titles—those with sales represented by the peak of a statistical curve. But, when traditional costs no longer count, sales at the tail of the curve increase. The tail becomes longer as more sales occur in fringe, rather than, mainstream, segments of the market.

This is great news for online vendors. With minimal inventory cost they can profit as much from the sale of fringe products as from mainstream ones. But can the self-publishers profit as well? Chapman wonders what the future will bring for self-publishers. If you buy this eBook, do so for its discussion of traditions, recent trends, and the long tail, not for marketing tips.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Understand digital prepress

Real World Print Production with Adobe Creative Suite Applications
Claudia McCue
Nonfiction 352 pages
Peachpit Press. 2009

When there’s a lot at stake and it’s got to be right, a little know-how goes a long way. I wrote “Graphics Essentials for Small Offices” to help beginners learn the basics of design. Claudia McCue takes the process much further. The digital revolution has simplified designers’ prepress tasks in many ways, but there are still numerous gotchas that they need to be aware of. Too many books treat the graphics applications they discuss as if their solutions can be poured, like breakfast cereal, straight from the box. McCue knows better. She knows the pre-digital history of graphics, the challenges designers used to face preparing work for print, and the challenges that remain. This book provides the knowledge that designers need to guide their work process toward problem free print outcomes. This book covers a lot, but it really excels in providing the kind of knowledge designers get on the job rather than in art school.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

An eSolution for Book Sellers

I recently attended a writer’s summit where several authors predicted that physical bookstores would soon face extinction. Some also predicted that eBooks would soon replace printed books. I am more doubtful about the second prediction than I am about the first, however eBooks are gaining momentum, and unless brick and mortar book stores have an easy way to sell them, their business will surely suffer.

Why should it matter? If eBooks are quickly and cheaply obtainable online, then who cares if book stores go the way of the dinosaurs? Well, some people do care. People are already complaining about having to read some of their books on a Kindle and others on a Nook. Additionally, if several large vendors dominate the market, consumers will have less influence on prices, and possibly fewer choices of reading matter.

Book stores serve social purposes. They provide places for authors to meet their readers and autograph their books (eAutographs?). They also provide meeting places for book clubs, and their well-read personnel help readers make informed purchasing decisions.

But there is a simple solution. If eBook publishers agreed to adopt a standard file format, and if an eBook licensing clearinghouse were created, then readers would be able to buy eBooks published by Amazon for their Nooks. Independent book sellers would be able to provide eBooks for every variety of eReader. Libraries and individuals could easily lend their books, and free markets would thrive.

The alternative future, in which a few large corporations control access to books, is not an option. Taken to extremes, a literary dark age would result. An impartial clearinghouse would assure that information remain broadly accessible, and a standard eBook format, like feet and meters, miles and kilometers, would assure a level playing field.