Archive for the ‘Books – Other’ category

Apex Book Company Needs Some Sales!

December 28, 2008

apexlogo

Brother, can you spare $15.95?

The economy has taken a huge bite out of Apex Publications. Starting with Bear Stearns dying, you can see an immediate drop in our revenue (September/October/November/December). December has been the worst with a drop of 75% in revenue compared to the August numbers.

The recession hit at the worst time possible. I literally have spent every penny in the coffers doing things like: reimbursing old lifetime subscribers (and yes, there are a couple of you still waiting on money), paying back the Apex Digest printer $12,000 (done, huzzah!), reprinting and reshipping stolen copies of I REMEMBER THE FUTURE (goodbye $600), replacing almost 90 USPS damaged ORGY OF SOULS hardcovers to Horror-Mall (goodbye $2000). I’m not asking for pity. This stuff happens to good people and bad. But stuff happening with the downturn in the economy has the Apex bank account crying for mercy.

What this means is that Apex Publications needs an influx of revenue. Quick.

What this means is that if you’ve ever thought of buying an Apex book, now would be a damn good time to do so.

The most effective, easiest and most fun way to pump some blood into Apex is to buy a book directly from our store. You get damn fine literature (and free media shipping if your order is $25 or more (applies to US orders only)).

If you’re strapped of cash, then blog about our books or authors and try to coerce people into giving us a try.

I figure we need about $2500 in revenue over the next two weeks.

Remember:
We’re taking pre-orders on The Convent of the Pure by Sara M. Harvey, Open Your Eyes by Paul Jessup, and The Monster Within Idea by R. Thomas Riley.

Catacombs and Photographs by Brandy Schwan is now available and all pre-orders have been shipped.

All back issues of Apex Digest are half-priced.

Emphasis added by me.

Apex is a small publisher. The kind of publisher we’ll all count on in the eBook future, so give them some sales love.

Apex Book Company store
Apex Book company eBooks at Fictionwise (which look to be mostly DRM free as well as being in lots of formats — including Sony Reader!)

Reference: Public Libraries And eBooks

December 27, 2008

The fine folks over at MobileRead have put together a wiki for public libraries that offer eBooks.

I live in New York City, so I don’t have to pay the $100/year fee to get an NYPL card.

Suck it up, baby!

Besides, for that $100 fee, you are competing against my domestic borrowing rights!

I hate you for doing that. You know that, don’t you?

The Zero-Gravity Toilet Of Adobe DRMed ePub

December 27, 2008

There’s a classic shot in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey when the main character has to first consult instructions on how to use a zero-gravity toilet:

0g-toilet

Imagine having to go through all that!

And yet — there is something actually worse than that.

It’s the instructions on how to go about using Adobe DRMed ePub eBooks!

Here are the Zero-Gravity toilet instructions:

zerogtoilet2

Now contrast the amount of text there to instructions for using Adobe DRMed ePub:

adobedrmepub01
adobedrmepub02

Can you imagine the poor technically unsophisticated schmo having to deal with all that?

“For God’s sake, all I want to do is read eBooks!!!”

Really, it turns out it’s easier to take a shit in space than to deal with Adobe DRMed ePub eBooks!

eBooks And Pricing: No Argument Now!

December 27, 2008

I was going through my LifeDrive memos and came across a Stephen Levy column from Newsweek that nails the argument for lower-than-print pricing of eBooks.

This column is from 2004 — four years ago!

FORECAST: SONG COSTS MAY FALL LIKE RAIN
MEMO TO MUSIC LABELS: LOWERING PRICES WILL GET YOU MORE SALES

This is the key point:

This summer [2004] provided a clue to further harnessing the force of digital nature. For three weeks, Real Networks tried to lure new customers by slashing prices to 49 cents a song and $4.99 per album. Since Real paid the full royalty load to the labels (almost 70 cents a tune), the company lost money on every transaction. CEO Rob Glaser says that the company did get new customers, but here’s the real news: Real sold six times as much music and took in three times as much money.

This reflected the experience of Audible, which sells audiobooks on the iTunes Store. Working in conjunction with publishers and Apple, Audible offered some online titles at a fraction of the normal price. One of those buyers was me — I had been thinking of getting a David Sedaris audiobook to entertain my family on a summer drive, but balked at paying $11 for something I might play just once. After I got an e-mail informing me I could get it for $2, I snapped it up. Audible CEO Don Katz says the featured books on that single e-mail were downloaded at 60 times the previous rate.

Emphasis added by me.

Let me hammer down the point.

Audible was selling an audio-eBook. It sold at sixty times the previous sales rate once the price was slashed.

Let me run some math, and I’ll use simple numbers because math usually gets me in trouble!

An eBook at $10.00 with a 10% royalty, one copy sold = $1.00

OK, that’s the “normal” rate of sale.

Now let’s do the Audible price cut numbers.

An eBook at $2.00 with a 10% royalty, sixty copies sold = $12.00

Which would a writer rather have? A guarantee of $1.00 per copy with an increased risk of piracy?

Or sixty copies sold at a piracy-prevention price that makes him twelve times as much money than expected sales?

I will keep hammering this point home again and again, dammit.

I want to walk into a printed bookstore and witness this conversation:

Shopper 1: “Oh, this book I want to buy!”
Shopper 2: “Me too. But it’s cheaper as an eBook for my Sony Reader!”

That is the Marketing Point for eBooks, the one that will drive hardware sales and then increase eBook sales exponentially:

If you buy it as an eBook, it’s cheaper.

Remember: eBooks are not like music. People will listen repeatedly to a song. But people don’t read an eBook over and over again. Once it’s been read, people want to buy something else.

And the resistance to eBooks is not as strong as anyone believes. See Vox Populi: eBooks.

Vox Populi: eBooks

December 27, 2008

Found via TwitteRel (which I recommend):

ebooktweet

ECTACO jetBook Ups ePub Stakes

December 24, 2008

This news caught my eye a while back.

ECTACO jetBook Now Includes Fodor’s Travel Guide

With The International Digital Publishing Forum newly released EPUB specification format based on XML, this is the new standard for eBook production and leading eBook device manufacturers.

Ectaco announced that the jetBook eBook reader will support both – most popular in US MobiPocket format and open EPUB format in Q1,2009.

No one ever did a follow-up and it nagged at me. I’d forgotten about the MobiPocket support (and frankly, that doesn’t interest me, being a legacy file format), and only inquired about the addition of the ePub capability.

I wondered if current jetBook owners would have to buy a new unit for ePub. This is what I got in reply via email moments ago:

The latest version of firmware is expected for release in the first quarter of 2009.

You will not have to exchange Your hardware at this point. You will need to obtain the link from ECTACO Technical Support Department and the link would be provided free of charge.

So it seems the current jetBook is go for that!

However … I’m skeptical after having gotten excited over past tech developments that turned out crap.

I’ll remain this way on this development until I can try it for myself.

What needs to successfully happen:

1) It can do Adobe-DRMed ePub (Adobe Digital Editions)

2) It can do eBook borrows from public libraries

This is what the jetBook looks like:

More pictures at the last link below.

The hardware feels solid. The screen can, in certain light, be mistaken for eInk. And it’s already damned better than that upcoming eejitastic eSlick reader.

I just wish ECTACO could drop the price by $100. It’s being sold for $199 at newegg (see below). If that price could be made permanent, they’d make some serious sales — especially with both MobiPocket and ePub!

Previously here:

ECTACO jetBook At Blowout Price!
More About That ECTACO jetBook eBook Reader
Micro Fondle: ECTACO jetBook eBook Reader

Dying Dinosaurs Of Print: Red Alert!

December 24, 2008

Americans prefer news from Web to newspapers: survey

The Internet has surpassed newspapers as the main source for national and international news for Americans, according to a new survey.

Television, however, remains the preferred medium for Americans, according to the survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Seventy percent of the 1,489 people surveyed by Pew said television is their primary source for national and international news.

Forty percent said they get most of their news from the Internet, up from 24 percent in September 2007, and more than the 35 percent who cited newspapers as their main news source.

Emphasis added by me.

Hey, the Newspaper Fetishists used to whiiiine, “Oh, I can’t think of a Sunday without curling up with The New York Times.”

So, question: Did they all drop dead — or get electronic religion?

And, no, book publishers, the moral here is not “books on TV.”

Get real. Make with the flood of eBooks in 2009!

This Is The Future Of Book Tours

December 23, 2008

I need to do this again because people weren’t listening the first time — and, frankly, many still had jobs in the dying printed books industry and so were too smug to pay attention.

This is what the book tour of the future — the future being 2009! — will look like:

probloggervid01
Click = big

That’s Darren Rowse of ProBlogger doing a special “Christmas party” live streaming videocast via UStream.

What was his big outlay to do it? His existing MacBook Pro! And the connection was via WiFi too!

He was in Australia. There were people all over the world tuning in. One person was from Brazil!

The dying dinosaurs of print have asked: “Well, how can we do an author tour for an eBook? There’s no … um, book for people to bring to a store!”

That’s how. The author doesn’t go to any store. He goes to where the eBook store is — the entire Internet.

People can type questions. See and hear the writer respond. No one has to deal with bad weather or bad schedules. And the videos can be archived for people to see again later.

What about autographs? I did that earlier too.

Instead of sending a writer out on bad plane (or train or bus) trips to bad hotels and the mercy of weather, everyone can stay where they are — the writer at home, the readers at home (or likely stealing bandwidth from work!). It’s all win.

The writer can even, if so inclined, show the missus and child:

mrsproblogger
(Happy holidays, Mrs Rowse!)

Previously here:

Reference: Internet Video Chat
How Our Future Does Things
I Am Internationally Persecuted!
Live jkk & Chippy!

Dying Dinosaurs Of Print Slow Suicide

December 23, 2008

Read it and weep
The economic news couldn’t be worse for the book industry. Now insiders are asking how literature will survive.

The end of days is here for the publishing industry — or it sure seems like it. On Dec. 3, now known as “Black Wednesday,” several major American publishers were dramatically downsized, leaving many celebrated editors and their colleagues jobless. The bad news stretches from the unemployment line to bookstores to literature itself.

“It’s going to be very hard for the next few years across the board in literary fiction,” says veteran agent Ira Silverberg. “A lot of good writers will be losing their editors, and loyalty is very important in this field.”

Who was it that said, “If you want loyalty, get a dog”?

Yes, writers who are treated well are loyal. Stupid us. The rest of the world runs on money.

This is key:

Finally, experts suggest that publishers missed crucial opportunities to cope with digital books, Internet innovations and economic pressures. “The big houses proved incapable of looking at the future. I’ve always been struck at how relatively un-nimble the big houses are,” says Tom Engelhardt, a consulting editor at Metropolitan books and the author of the prophetic novel “The Last Days of Publishing.” He recently wrote an essay about the crisis at his Web site, TomDispatch.com, and says he predicted the crash for years — but no one would listen.

Emphasis added by me.

He’s right. Just ask the newspapers.

Here comes the future:

Neelan Choksi, Lexcycle’s chief operating officer, agrees that the midlist will suffer in coming years. “There’s going to be less support for smaller writers in the traditional publishing model, in the big buildings in Manhattan,” he explained. “But self-publishing and digital books haven’t been considered. This upheaval will cause many authors to look at the alternatives more seriously.” The Stanza reader, for instance, stocks thousands of e-books at varying prices, from free public domain books to self-published titles to 40,000 titles from Fictionwise, one of the leading digital book vendors. That list includes a variety of bestsellers like David Wroblewski’s “Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series and the nonfiction hit “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.”

Emphasis added by me.

Lexcycle will wind up with a store of its own at some point. I hope they do it right, unlike Apple. (Stanza, by the way, just got a glowing PC Magazine review.)

What’s needed is a WordPress-type thing, where authors can set up a site to flog their books. Basically, a blog with transactional capability. It has to all be blogging-easy, too. Writers don’t want to be techies and web designers. In fact, I’m surprised WordPress itself hasn’t added this yet.

This bit was a surprise to me. Writer Iain Levison (who still lacks a new website) alerted me to it via email this morning:

Rumors of publishing’s demise are probably overstated, but the future of publishing may depend on what those laid-off editors, publicists and industry leaders do next. The morning after Black Wednesday, a publishing blogger and e-book aficionado named Mike Cane stirred up his readers with a bite-size manifesto on Twitter: “If the FIRED NY pubstaff are such hot fucking shit, let them coalesce and form an EBOOK-ONLY IMPRINT to crush their fmr employers.” However callous this Twitter-versy seemed at the time, it posed an interesting challenge: Can the publishing world channel all of this collective anger, bewilderment and fear into industry-altering strategies?

Emphasis of me by me.

But really, that guy is a pain in the ass! I should know.

Still, that challenge holds. I’d like to see those book people get back into books — as eBooks. Apple isn’t doing writers any favors and we need book people.

We just don’t need Big Corporate Dying Dinosaurs of Print book people.

And neither do the Big Corporations, either.

The POPE Endorses eBooks!

December 23, 2008

Sacred texts: Vatican embraces iTunes prayer book

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican is endorsing new technology that brings the book of daily prayers used by priests straight onto iPhones.

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications is embracing the iBreviary, an iTunes application created by a technologically savvy Italian priest, the Rev. Paolo Padrini, and an Italian Web designer.

The application includes the Breviary prayer book – in Italian, English, Spanish, French and Latin and, in the near future, Portuguese and German. Another section includes the prayers of the daily Mass, and a third contains various other prayers.

After a free trial period in which the iBreviary was downloaded approximately 10,000 times in Italy, an official version was released earlier this month, Padrini said.

Don’t be fooled. The Pope has the Final Say over there.

And dig it:

Pope Benedict XVI, a classical music lover who was reportedly given an iPod in 2006, has sought to reach out to young people through new media. During last summer’s World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, he sent out mobile phone text messages citing scripture to thousands of registered pilgrims – signed with the tagline “BXVI.”

Emphasis added by me.

Who knew?