Tag Archives: ebooks

I’ve been published!!!

Like, by somebody else. (Inorite?)

So Freya’s Bower (one of the veteran epublishers in the landscape) has this annual anthology called Dreams and Desires, where the proceeds from it go to a charity. This year’s charity is A Window Between Worlds, a non-profit organization that provides art supplies and training for art as a healing tool free of charge to battered women’s shelters across the United States.

Marci Baun, Freya’s Bower’s Perpetrator In Chief, asked me to contribute a story to the anthology, and because it’s a) for a good cause and b) for the #1 cause on my personal list of good causes, I said SURE! The result? Short story “Twenty-Dollar Rag.”

For fans of the Dunham series, the hero in this one is the weird kid from Stay (who wears kilts and sleeps in trees), Vachel Whittaker, all grown up and possibly more normal than the rest of the Dunham men. Lo, there is no religion or politics in it.

Here’s the blurb for Dreams and Desires:

True love, freedom, self-worth, security… Dreams and desires of the ordinary woman, or man. From a thirty-something, single woman who wants a baby to a jeweler who finds love with the least expected man to a widow who wants to finish her degree and find love to a young, futuristic woman who’s still searching for herself to an 18th century saloon girl whose lost hope but still dreams of love to a man who has escaped his abusive lover but has lost himself. This collection of nine stories celebrates the attainment of all one can dream or desire. Which one do you secretly yearn for?

And here’s the blurb for “Twenty-Dollar Rag”:

One night. One man. One dress.

Regina Westlake sees nothing wrong with her clubbing lifestyle until the gorgeous guy cleaning her pool refuses to play her games. When he’s hired to be her arm candy for a formal event, he makes his disdain for her clear by re-dressing her in something far more appropriate than what she had worn to the party.

Shattered, she takes his contempt, his dress, the memory of his kiss—and rebuilds her life from the ground up. She never expects to see him again, but when she does…

Buy the collection, have a few hours of entertainment and help somebody out at the same time. Win-win!

Dreams and Desires ($5.99)

Twenty-Dollar Rag” (12,000 words) ($2.99)


This is handselling now.

This morning I butted into a Twitter conversation between @jackiebarbosa, @elyssapapa, and @growlycub about Romance heros/heroines who are struggling financially at the end of the book, but they shall live on love:

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/MoriahJovan/status/13276067800293377"]

Which led back around to the title of the book which started the conversation I butted in on:

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/jackiebarbosa/status/13279970579185664"]

and

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/victoriajanssen/status/13286262161018880"]

Which led to:

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/MoriahJovan/status/13280763256508417"]

and:

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/PortiaDaCosta/status/13281803079000064"]

This entire conversation happened in the course of an hour in casual conversation on Twitter, and money was spent. (More money would’ve been spent if the publisher had the sense to allow people out of the US to buy it, but that’s a conversation for another day.) (Also, it was $5.99 on the Kindle, which is my cutoff point for ebook prices, so there was another advantage.) As far as I know, I’m the only one who bothered to tweet that she bought it, but that’s not to say nobody else bought it.

The “need” was created.

The “need” was satisfied.

Immediately. Easy and with no friction.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this. Insert your favorite lesson here.

I like real books

I like them on my wall

I like them in my hand

(I like them in the bathroom)

I like them on my H: drive

I like them in the car

I like them in a queue

I like them on my laptop

I like them on a shelf

I like them on my keychain

I like them in a library

I like them in English

I like them in bed

I like them on my netbook

I’d like them on a slate, but they’re too heavy.

 

 

What is a “real” book, anyway?

“Real” book. As if reading words and being entertained and/or instructed isn’t the point of the damn thing.

 

An ebook is not a book.

Print print digital printCan we find a word other than “book” as a descriptive for the digital version of glue-and-paper? The word “book” is way too loaded for those who profess a love of “that new book smell” and their reactionary hatred of digital delivery.

Print books and digital book are two completely different species. They don’t have to compete. They shouldn’t try to compete. Yes, the content is the same. Yes, the delivery system makes all the difference in the reading experience.

Consider the reading evolution:

Handhewn tablet → papyrus scroll → parchment leaves → illuminated manuscripts → Gutenberg Bible → mass market paperback → computer.

None of those are the same epistemologically or anatomically, so why is the progression to reading digitized text on a handheld device difficult to accept?

Just as a tablet is not a scroll, and a scroll is not an illuminated bundle of leaves, and an illuminated bundle of leaves is not a ream of paper saddlestitched and bound in leather. It is an electronic method of getting to text.

An ebook is not supposed to be like a printed book. Expecting it to be invites frustration on everybody’s part, and completely misses the point

Asus re-redux

I haven’t read any more on the Asus since my last post about it. However, it recently paid for itself when I had a computer emergency. For three days that little thing was an absolute workhorse. It was a little slow and klunky, but it did the job and it kept me earning money. I NEVER expected to need it for that.

So for around $250, I have an emergency work computer, an e-book reader on which I can read ANY DAMN FORMAT I WANT, listen to music, surf the net, keep my data, and write.

And I should buy a Kindle/Sony/Nook/JetBook . . . why?

More on the Asus

I haven’t used my eBookWise in a while. I’ve been reading *gasp* paper and on my Asus EeePC in my recliner. So last night I went back to my eBookWise.

It’s cold here (well, for early October, it is). It was toasty warm in my bed. I ducked under the covers and read my eBookWise, holding it in one hand (and the ergonomics on this are prescient).

I could not do that with the Asus.

Just sayin’.

The handy-dandy all-purpose digital reader

Some time back ago, I said I wanted an Asus EeePC to read digital books because it was kind of an all-purpose device. As time went on, I decided maybe I’d rather have an iPhone or a BlackBerry, but then I found out about their mandatory data plans and I’m a cheap bitch, so no thanks. I wanted something reasonably portable that I could 1) read digital books on in any format I wanted; 2) listen to music; 3) keep my personal data on (now that I have this awesome personal information management standalone app); and 4) to basically be able to haul my brain around with me. I don’t like talking on the phone, so I would rather not have one at all, but must. I want to keep the phone separate from my other tasks.

Anyhoo, money’s been a little too tight for frills, but then our old (you don’t want to know HOW old) desktops (all three) started nickel’n’diming us to death, so we bit the bullet. I have been given an assignment to return and report the specs and my digital reading experience.

The assignment:

On the Asus, install:

1) Adobe Reader
2) Adobe AIR
3) Adobe Digital Editions (requires AIR, hence 2)
4) Microsoft Reader
5) MobiPocket Desktop
6) Sony eBook Library
7) FBReader

Then BLOG wtf it’s like to use them on that Atom CPU. (You DO have ATOM, right, not Celeron?)

ADDITIONAL: Try a GOOGLE BOOKS PDF!!

Here are the specs:

Asus EeePC 901 (black, if you care)
Intel Atom
CPU N270
1.6 GHz
1.99 GB RAM
Windows XP Home
2-1/2 pounds (about the weight of Atlas Shrugged, I believe)
~5 hours battery life (>2 hours better than my Dell laptop)

Here’s a gallery with examples of Adobe Reader, ADE, Microsoft Reader, MobiPocket, and FBReader. I have no reason to care about Sony Reader, but will do later, and I haven’t done a Google Books PDF yet.

So, for the reading part. Thus far, I’ve just been on MobiPocket, reading Soul Identity by Dennis Batchelder, in my recliner. For regular reading, it’s a bit heavy, but if you find your “sweet spot” where you can press the arrow with your thumb and still be comfortable holding it, you get used to it. Naturally, the back light is sweet in the dark.

The only real annoyance I have (besides the weight) so far is how long it takes to turn it on and off. It’s not like my eBookWise, where it’s one button and on, it turns itself off after 15 minutes (or whatever you set). The Asus acts like a computer because, well, it is.

More later after I’ve had a little more time with it.

LDS publishers, again, eBooks. Please!

I went over to Cedar Fort’s blog to look at stuff. Right off the bat, there are two books I wanted to read (okay, so maybe Shannon Hale didn’t traumatize me as much as I thought).

Altared Plans by Rebecca Cornish Talley

and

Deadly Treasure by Jillayne Clements (look at that gorgeous cover!)

Not in digital formats? (Not even Kindle.)

No sale.

Sorry.

Question: Do you LDS publishers realize how many members read their scriptures on their PDAs, SmartPhones, and iPhones? No? The Church gets it. Why don’t you? Maybe you need to venture forth east of the safety of the Rocky Mountains and attend a few wards to find out.

You have no idea how many sales you’re missing out on.

You lost two just with me.

At least, at the very least, get them into Kindle.

I’m cheeky

In case nobody’s noticed, my Perfect Bookstore post has garnered a wee bit of attention here and there around the interwebz, thanks to @RonHogan who linked me in GalleyCat and then Teleread picked me up.

ronhogantweet

I’ve been to very few of the pingbacks, but of the ones I have, quite a few of them described the post as cheeky*. I like that. I like that they recognized that instead of presenting it like I was completely serious and the plan/design was complete. I have lots of ideas about a whole lot of things. Most of them are half-assed.

*My vision of “cheeky” is Mary Poppins standing in front of her mirror and lightly chastising her reflection for one-upping her (at 3:00).

So, um, for non-regular visitors to the blog, I’m pretty cheeky about everything.

August reading list

Saturday night was the “Oscars” for romance, which is called RITA (no idea what that stands for, if anything). I saw something interesting in the results that made me form a hypothesis, and I want to test my hypothesis, so I’ll be reading the following books in August, which are the nominees for the “Novel with Strong Romantic Elements” category:

Last Dance At Jitterbug Lounge by Pamela Morsi
The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
The Paper Marriage by Susan Kay Law
The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner (must ILL this one)
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Tribute by Nora Roberts
Where Serpents Sleep by C.S. Harris

Aside: I was going to buy all these in ebook, but I had put the first three in my basket at BooksOnBoard and they were all just too damned expensive. So helloooooo Mid-Continent Public Library. I’ll read paper for free before I’ll plunk down $13+ for an ebook. Bite me, publishers. This is how you encourage pirates to steal your authors’ work and take money away from them. Please note deliberate sentence construction.

Also, I am on schedule (actually ahead of) for my July reading list.

PSA for LDS publishers

Y’all probably don’t read my blog. I curse muchly and there is “sex” in my banner, not to mention a bare nekkid lady.

Before you read any further (if you are still reading or the least bit interested), please go to these websites and study them. Ignore the content; I want you to see what they’re doing. Then come back. I’ll wait.

B10 Mediaworx.

My Bookstore and More (mostly Samhain Publishing‘s titles, but look under the “manufacturers” tab and see the other e-book publishers).

Loose-Id.

Ellora’s Cave.

Baen Books.

Zumaya Books.

eBooks.com.

Project Gutenberg.

Fictionwise.

Back? Cool. Now, please go here:

Amazon Kindle.

Sony e-book reader.

iPhone.

iTouch.

BlackBerry.

Palm Pre.

A more complete list of e-book readers.

Did you understand what I wanted you to see? Awesome!

As a consumer of e-books, I would like to offer you a friendly suggestion, which is to embrace the digital distribution of your titles. The e-book publishers I linked are making money hand over fist. The devices I linked are the way people read e-books. This will grow.

You probably don’t understand the seduction of having an entire library in your palm, and that’s okay. There are lots and lots of people who say they won’t give up print for anything, and then they get to live with an e-book reader for maybe two or three days, and they’re hooked.

There’s also something very seductive about being able to log onto an e-bookstore and download a bunch of books onto your device immediately. No driving. It’s all about impulse. I can talk myself out of an Amazon purchase because it involves shipping time. It leaves the shopping cart and goes into the wish list, never to be seen again. I don’t even want to go to a bookstore anymore.

I’ve now encountered three small LDS presses and individuals somewhere in the LDS publishing arena dismiss e-books as so much of a passing fad, a waste of time or, worse, think that “e-book” is synonymous with “PDF.” I simply have to shake my head at their short-sightedness.

Be on the cutting edge of the digital age of books. Take a cue from the church’s rabid embrace of the interwebz and streaming audio and its ability to reach its members nearly effortlessly.

But beyond that, the take-home message here is this: E-bookstores are dangerous to the health of my checkbook.

Want to know the real reason I don’t buy anything from Deseret Book, Zarahemla, Signature Books et al? No e-books. I want to read your books; really I do, but I’m not going back to paper unless you give me something terribly compelling. I buy e-books on impulse. Impulse. Hear that? IMPULSE.

Please give me a reason to throw my money at you in the middle of the night when one of your titles catches my eye. Pretty please?

A cautionary tale for authors and agents

You know, I shove a tanto in my gut and bleed all over the interwebz about my issues with embedded font evangelism in the name of book designer job security, then I get over it and I think I’m done.

Well, Penguin Books has reminded me this morning that not only am I not done, I’m now pissed off as a reader and not as a writer/publisher/e-book mark-up-er, except . . . this is really not about Teh Pretteh. It’s about DRM. I’m fighting the wrong battle. The book designers can go figure out their own lives. I’m a reader first, dammit.

Way back in the day (six months ago), Penguin offered the novella “You Can Count on Me” by Roxanne St. Clair as a free PDF download you could snag from Ms. St. Clair’s site. (It’s not there anymore.) It was part of a Christmas anthology called I’ll Be Home For Christmas and features characters from her long-running series called The Bullet Catchers. I believe there are currently three books in this series, with probably more to come.

Now, I don’t like romantic suspense and I don’t like anthologies and I don’t like Christmas romance novellas, but this looked like a good way to ease me into a romantic suspense series that already had me intrigued.

And it was free. No question.

Yet I forgot the cardinal rule of life: There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

Dear Penguin:

You suck. And not in the good, hot, naughty kind of way.

The novella is 97 PDF pages long, but it’s 5.25 MB. Why? BECAUSE IT’S A SCAN WITH A BIG FAT KANGAROO WATERMARK ON EACH PAGE.

To give you an idea of how big this is, my 736-page doorstopper’s PDF
is 7 MB. 736 pages >97 pages.

I converted this novella before I realized it was a scan. Easy enough. PDF–>RTF–>IMP.

Except it wouldn’t load onto my eBookWise. WHY WHY WHY? Well, because it’s just too big. The IMP file is 68 MB.

To sum up: Not only am I NOT going to read this free PDF (because I don’t read books on my computer), I’m also going to dump it from my computer (which I never do because even the bad books still belong to me) because it’s a space hog and severely cramps my Vostro’s innards when it tries to open the damned file, and I’m going to remember Ms. St. Clair (poor dear, I know it’s not her fault) for this and only this.

You cost me a lot of time with your chastity-belted freebie, time I could’ve used to make money to buy the anthology the novella came from and buy more of Ms. St. Clair’s work if I liked the novella.

Perhaps authors and agents negotiating contracts with you would do well to remember that your DRM process never gave me a chance to get hooked off your free hit.

Love,

Mojo

Update @8:38 p.m. It was just pointed out to me that the PDF file didn’t actually have any DRM on it. It was just a wildly bloated scanned-and-watermarked PDF. The effect, however, is the same: Make it as difficult as possible for the consumer to read the book. Every time I open the PDF, whatever else is in those graphics (it’s a scan, remember), it nearly crashes my computer.

One could argue that this is where book design and fear of piracy converge to create a virtually (heh) unusable product.

Eating a little bit of crow…

Yesterday, I got a little mouthy (see this post), which will surprise no one.

I was sent an EPUB file that had embedded fonts that rendered perfectly in ADE. I cracked the file open and what did I see? Perfection. The file wasn’t bloated, it was neatly organized, the CSS sheet was reasonably tidy for its detail, and the detail was compact. It worked and it worked beautifully. I can see how it’s done.

In Sony Reader, it MOSTLY rendered the way it was coded (still no full justification).

In FBReader, it did NOT render the way it was coded AT ALL.

I then cracked open The Proviso file that BookGlutton made. It was a lot leaner; granted, I didn’t have embedded fonts, but it still rendered nicely.

Then I cracked open the file of Stay I had made as an experiment using Atlantis, and it was lean, albeit not as lean as The Proviso because Atlantis broke out each chapter as its own file.

Both The Proviso and Stay look “nice” in ADE, Sony, and FBReader (insofar as anything looks nice in FBReader). That’s right. They look nice. Not spectacular. They do not have Teh Pretteh.

And you know what? That’s okay. I can see that Teh Pretteh EPUB file would take a whole lot more work than I’m willing to invest in either time to hand code or money in software that will do it automatically. I simply see no return on the investment of the extra time for Teh Pretteh with the tools that are available now. I have no doubt that those tools will become available in time.

I’m selling a $40 736-print-page book in 8 ebook formats for $6. The print version is Verra Pretteh, as is the PDF file that comes in the e-book file your $6 buys you. But let’s be real. People who seek out and read e-books—especially on an iPhone, SmartPhone, Kindle, or dedicated reader—are doing it for the content.

After basics: full justification, paragraph indents, line spacing, chapter breaks, a hyperlinked table of contents (and other hyperlinks, if necessary), and those conventions of book reading that move the reader seamlessly through the text, anything else is a waste of time.

Why? Because at the price point that is acceptable to an e-book reader who believes that e-books are cheap to produce and should, then, cost a whole lot less than print books, either A) hand-coding Teh Pretteh or B) purchasing the software that will run Teh Pretteh yields little to no return on investment.

So mea culpa for saying it can’t be done.

No mea culpa for saying it’s a waste of time to do it.

For now.