This crow needs pepper or sumpin’

swlogoOkay, so remember where I said I wouldn’t put The Proviso on SmashWords because it had special formatting and boo hoo hoo?

You know what? I’m a capitalist-pig whore* and I’m full of shit, too.

SmashWords partnered with Stanza and Stanza’s iPhone store, so naturally I got over my formatting/design hubris immediately and figured out a way to do all my special little touches with your bare-bones Word settings. So, yeah. Apple, bite me. Or rather, let me bite you. The Proviso is now available on your iPhone/iTouch at the Stanza store via SmashWords in EPUB, LRF, MOBI/PRC, PDB (the PalmDoc source file, not the eReader container), and PDF. You can read 30% of it free there, too.

*Yeah, I know it was redundant and probably went without saying anyway.

But, erm, be patient. Their servers are very popular at the moment.

Yay Stanza and a big THANKS! to Mark Coker and Bill Kendrick for going out of their way to help me.

The forbidden Apple

So let’s try this again and I will make myself very clear: I’m seriously pissed.

Apple rejected my book from its iApp store on the basis that it has the F-word. Now, I’m sorry, but the fact that the F-word is in my book is the least of its crimes (they must have missed the “cunt”), so…“fuck”? Really? But that’s not the point.

And you can download the Stanza (free) or eReader (free) applications to your iPhone, download my book, and read it that way, so all is not lost. But that’s not the point.

Some people call this censorship. I don’t; they’re well within their right to accept or reject any book they want. But that’s not the point.

The point is also not that Apple is cutting off its nose to spite its face. For whatever reason I don’t understand, they’re wishing-washing on e-books.

1) There is no iBooks.

2) There is no restriction of explicit lyrics and explicit/violent games and R-rated movies in the iApp store, which leads me to believe that the restriction is solely for e-book applications. Why? Are we discriminating against reading as a leisure activity? Why?

3) At the same time, Apple made a deal with ScrollMotion to provide a host of e-books as applications, but I notice they are of the young adult variety, which is a pretty safe bet, content-wise. However, they’re wrapping these up in DRM. Why?

4) Not only that, but some of them are seriously over-priced. More than the hardback!!! Gah.

5) When I actually looked at what was in the e-book section if the iApp store, it was classics in the public domain (good!) and puppies-and-kittens (no, seriously, books on puppies and kittens) and manga (in which I have no interest whatsoever). Yeah. Selection. I can get a better selection of books to read at Wal-Mart, albeit I have to go there and buy dead-tree books.

6) On Teleread, the speculation is that spikes in iTouch sales are good for e-books, but is that true for e-book applications?

Nothing Apple is doing on this front makes sense to me. David Carnoy’s Knife Music (read his whole post) was rejected for the F-word, but this wouldn’t have even come to light if he weren’t already semi-high-profile (which fact is okay with me, but it’s happening all over the place, not just with him). I mean, they’re adding e-book applications a little bit. Here and there. Snootily.

On a purely capitalist pig basis, wouldn’t you think this would be a market they would want to exploit? I can only conclude that Jobs simply carries an utter abhorrence for The Book and does not want to exploit it for another revenue stream.





But not…books?

Rock rejection

Or at least find the value in it.

Between The Apple Blog’s annoyance with books-as-applications and Booksquare’s rant about the newest ScrollMotion book app costing more than the hardcover edition,

When the ScrollMotion App and titles and prices were announced, I had one question for the publishers involved: are you on crack? Seriously, what were you smoking in that meeting?

I think I’m okay with getting banned by Apple.

I gotta find the cachet in having gotten banned. Somehow…

Oh, Tipper, where are you?

So our application to get The Proviso into the iTunes store was denied. Seems it’s a tad too racy for the terms of service. Who’d’a thunk it, right?

Roger from eBook App Maker tells us that Apple is in the process of applying a ratings system to their games and he doesn’t think it’ll be too long until they start in with the ebook apps. So instead of sanitizing the book, we’ve decided to wait until Apple has a rating system.


Today Richard Curtis (I love this guy, really) discusses Steve Jobs’s dismissal of ebooks as a viable revenue source a la iTunes with the comment, “People don’t read anymore.” I’ve discussed this before and it makes my head explode every time I think about it.

Fortunately, a number of determined and enterprising programmers took it upon themselves to spec – or hack – a reader application for the iPhone. And even more fortunately, Jobs did not discourage them. One hopes he realized he had spoken recklessly.

There is another way to read The Proviso on the iPhone/iTouch and that’s using Stanza and our EPUB format (included in the zip file).

But he also talks about Fictionwise:

Aside from the satisfaction of seeing Steve Jobs proven wrong, it’s also inspiring to see Fictionwise taking this initiative. We at E-Reads are big fans of Fictionwise. It is our principal e-book distributor and a major reason why this industry is beginning to thrive.

Now, I like Fictionwise, I do. But we can’t get on Fictionwise, either, because they require a publisher have 25 different titles by 5 different authors and although B10 Mediaworx does have titles in the works by people other than I, it’ll be a long time before we see that goal realized.

My way or the highway

Lately I’ve been reading a snowballing number of posts in the ebook community about adopting EPUB as the international (and pleasepleaseplease DRM-free) standard. This is great and I’m SOOO on board with that. What’s got me disturbed is that the subtext (and sometimes it’s not even that subtle) is that in order to adopt EPUB, publishers ought to ditch every other format, I assume, to force the issue of EPUB format adoption for everyone.

No fucking way!

Are you serious?

As a consumer and producer of ebooks, let me tell you, this is simple crackpot evangelism. EPUB is the future; I do not disagree and I would love to see it come into its own and beat the competition.


The competition exists for a reason and that’s because there are competing machines out there. Why in the world wouldn’t a producer find and exploit every digital outlet he could while they exist?

Now, I understand it’s perfectly reasonable for a producer of analog music to give up making vinyl records and 8-track tapes when there are few enough record players and 8-track players that it makes no sense to spend the time to do so. But if there is fairly equal money in each format, it would be foolish for the producer to give up producing even one of those formats.

In short, there is no way we would give up any one of the (now) 10 digital formats we publish in unless and until all devices can and will read one format and that the majority of the users of those devices are choosing one format:

AZW (Kindle)

EPUB (any device using Stanza or Adobe Digital Editions)

HTML (a lot of devices, plus any browser)

IMP (eBookWise)

LIT (Microsoft Reader)

LRF (Sony PRS)

MOBI/PRC (any device using Mobipocket)

PDB (Palm)

PDF (any device that reads PDF), and coming soon,

iApp for the iTunes store (iPhone/iTouch)

The fact of the matter is that once you’ve formatted for one of the above, you’ve formatted for over half the rest with minor tweaks. Yeah, it takes time to make each pretty for its own device, but it’s worth it as long as people feel they’ve gotten their money’s worth.

And every single one of those formats has a serious issue or 3 that consumers don’t like. However, each consumer still has the choice of the format with the least number of annoyances for him. Giving me 1 format (or, in the case of a book I really really really wanted to buy) 4 formats that are pure hell on me isn’t going to get me to adopt those formats; it’s only going to jolt me out of my impulse buy and now that I’m not BUYING paper books anymore, I’ll get it at the library.

So, Hachette Book Group. Thanks for saving me some money, ’cause I wasn’t strong enough to withstand the temptation if it had been in a format I could use.