Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: E-books

#Smashwords 2017 #Survey

Smashwords If you’re not familiar with Smashwords, it’s a space for authors to self-publish, with no upfront fees (and, with distribution to the most important retailers); plus, of course, a space for readers to find a wealth of books…

And, comparing it with Amazon is simple—Smashwords actually goes to great effort to help authors sell books…

And, even though it was published three years ago, their Indie Author Manifesto is worth a read…

Something else worth reading are the Surveys that Founder Mark Coker writes…

Here’s a bit of his intro to this year’s survey:

“Each year for the Smashwords Survey, I analyze ebook sales aggregated across the Smashwords distribution network.

“We’re looking to identify potential data driven insights that can help authors and publishers make their books more accessible, more desirable and more enjoyable to readers.”

You can read more of Mark’s intro to the survey; but, I’ll put the questions it seeks to answer here:

What are the top fiction and non-fiction categories?

What romance categories perform the best?

How do box sets perform, and which types of box set perform the best?

Do authors who release ebooks as preorders sell more books overall?

How do preorder adoption rates differ across genres (New!!)

What percentage of overall sales in each genre for new titles go to books released as preorders (New!)

What are the pricing sweet spots for full-length fiction to maximize both readership and author earnings?

Do longer books still sell better?

Does FREE still work, and what about free series starters?

Do series books sell better than standalone books, and if so, by how much?

And, here’s this year’s Smashwords Survey:

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E-books, Libraries, and the False Notion of Digital Scarcity…

My recent experience with libraries depends on two things, both not optimum for gaining comprehensive knowledge:

— I haven’t used a library seriously for many years…

— I have a friend who’s a librarian in a prison, which is a totally different world…

Also, there is much floating around that is positively confusing about e-books…

Luckily, I found the site No Shelf Required.

Their self-statement:

“Portal on all aspects of ebooks and digital content and for all creating, reading, publishing, managing, curating, and distributing the written word and other content in digital format, including publishers, writers, editors, content developers, distributors, educators, librarians and information science professionals. With contributions from book and library professionals and thought leaders in the United States and around the world.”

So, to find information and explanations about e-books in libraries, this would seem a good Space; especially with Mirela Roncevic on the staff…

Just a bit about her:

“…Mirela launched the Free Reading initiative, which brings developers, publishers, and sponsors together to turn public and private spaces into zones where people have free and uninterrupted access to books…”

“Previously Mirela was Senior Editor at Library Journal, co-editor of ALA’s online journal, eContent Quarterly, instructor of ALA’s popular Understanding Ebooks class…Managing Editor of Salem Press’ acclaimed Critical Insights book series, and Director of Content for a number of content platforms, which she helped build and maintain.”

In Mirela’s article, Great to See Major Publishers Embrace Alternative Ebook Models in Public Libraries, but Let’s Give Credit Where Credit Is Due, there’s a wealth of information.

At one point, she says:

“I’ve had the privilege of working with vendors that cater to all types of libraries and have seen first-hand how difficult it is to crack the public library market in particular. My experience has shown that the vast majority of libraries are simply not ready or are not willing to work with new (unfamiliar) companies providing high-quality services (and models that are actually revolutionizing access to books)…”

One of the troublesome factors some e-book publishers inject into the library environment is the one-book-one-patron fiasco.

Physical books are naturally one-book-one-patron—if there are three copies of a book, three patrons can have it out at the same time, the fourth person must wait…

Certain large publishers have demanded the same for e-books, along with charging exorbitant amounts for each e-book “copy”…

After discussing various factors surrounding this issue, Mirela says:

“When a library director gives a newcomer a chance and adds a new platform to its ebook offering, even without the presence of the Big Five bestsellers,  he/she has the power to introduce a mighty new player into the market. It only takes one library innovator to break the ice. Librarians’ actions, therefore, are more impactful than they may realize. Does this mean they sometimes must learn from  mistakes and the shortfalls of each new model? Certainly.”

For a broader view of different e-book licensing models, try this Publishing Perspectives article
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Did You Know You Probably Don’t Own Your E-books?

DRM and Ebooks

Image Courtesy of Olivier Bourgeois ~

I’ve written about a corporate “device” or “digital method” called Digital Rights Management (DRM) before—here are 5 past posts that talk about it

When I say you “probably” don’t own your e-books, I mean, if you’ve bought them all from Amazon and certain other retailers, you don’t own them, because they have DRM woven into their soft warm bodies

A couple of those past posts about DRM also talk about Cory Doctorow—two of them have videos of Cory

On his blog BoingBoing, Cory recently had the article, What’s Wrong with the Copyright Office’s DRM Study?

And, for those of you in countries other than the USA, do stay tuned in; because, in our world of corporate takeover and general shenanigans, what’s in one country can easily invade others

Before I share a few excerpts from Cory’s article, here’s a very brief definition of DRM:

“Digital rights management (DRM) schemes are various access control technologies that are used to restrict usage of proprietary hardware and copyrighted works.”

Also, be aware that Copyright does have its Problems

O.K., now, excerpts from Cory’s article:

“The Copyright Office…fails to even show that DRM does anything useful in the world, but still advises against allowing people to buy or share tools to let them bypass DRM in order to do the kinds of things the Copyright Office endorses, from repairs to security research.”

Here’s the “main point” of the article:

This month’s US Copyright Office study on Section 1201 of the DMCA identified many problems with America’s DRM laws, which ban bypassing DRM even when no copyright infringement takes place.

If you read that last linked article, you’re in for some very shocking truths

So, here’s Cory’s major conclusion:

“…the report’s recommendations fall far short of the minimum standard that the Copyright Office should aspire to, namely: allowing Americans to use their property in lawful ways, even if some corporation wishes they wouldn’t, because it hopes to sell them expensive parts, service, apps, or other add-ons.”

So, all that is potentially hard to interpret; and, corporations want to keep it that way………

However, an excerpt from one of those 5 past posts of mine might clear things up, just a bit…

“When Amazon sells you an an eBook for the Kindle they have the right to remove it at any time. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is referenced and Amazon can take your books away if it finds you’ve been ‘naughty’.”

While most folks still trust the major retailers to not suddenly snatch all their e-books (since, technically, they are not owned but just “licensed” for use), if you’d like to explore the DRM-Free life, check this out…
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Libraries Win Again; And, So Do Writers . . .


Click this image to compare e-readers…

This makes the 42nd post about Libraries on this blog and the 35th post about Smashwords—and taking those last two links will show this post at the top of both lists of posts…

But, this is the first post I’ve done about Bibliotheca’s cloudLibrary

Bibliotheca’s site says:

“The world’s leading eBook and audiobook solution, cloudLibrary is designed to be accessible to library users wherever they want to read or listen.”

So, the big news was on Smashwords’ blog:

Smashwords to Supply Nearly 300,000 Titles to Bibliotheca cloudLibrary.

In case you were unaware, Smashwords “…is the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.  [They] make it fast, free and easy for any author or publisher, anywhere in the world, to publish and distribute ebooks…”

And, here are just a few excerpts from that Smashwords’ blog post (those who are or want to be self-published writers really should read the whole post…):

“…bibliotheca, operator of the cloudLibrary™ digital lending platform…serves over 3,000 public libraries in the US, Canada, U.K. and Australia.”

“Smashwords offers indie authors and small independent presses unparalleled distribution to approximately 30,000 public and academic libraries around the world.  With the addition of bibliotheca, the Smashwords distribution network reaches most major library ebook platforms including OverDrive, Baker & Taylor Axis 360, Gardners UK (Askews & Holts and VLeBooks) and Odilo.”

“The cloudLibrary service is made available to library patrons as an app.  The app supports desktop and mobile devices including PCs, Macs, iOS devices, Android, Chrome and some Kindle devices.

“Patrons download the app at then select their country, state and local library, after which the patron enters their library PIN code into the app.”

“Libraries will also have the option to expose the complete Smashwords catalog to patrons so patrons browse the full catalog and suggest titles their library should add to their collection.”

Any librarians reading this can check for further information here <—

As recently as last October, one of the most savvy folks on the book-beat said  that libraries are “…one of the last remaining channels that remains fairly difficult for an indie author to access.”

It certainly seems Smashwords is changing that situation
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Should an E-Book Merely Copy a Print Book in Style and Function?

It seems certain folks in this day-and-age love innovation for the sake of innovation.

That kind of motivation usually indicates that deep and effective change is beyond the efforts of those who are “innovating”…

It could also mean that the “innovators” are bored silly…

Take e-books.

I do a lot of scanning of news and other sites looking for material I can report on here; and, one of the trendy fads for the last few years is to encourage changes in how e-books function and how they’re constructed (there have also been actual “new and improved” versions of ebooks produced).

Most of the articles didn’t make the cut for what I consider “worthwhile”; yet, the senior editor at Digital Book World, Daniel Berkowitz, gave me a reason to introduce the idea of e-book “innovation” in his article, Do We Really Need to Innovate the Reading Experience?

As usual, I’ll excerpt enough of the article to give a hint of what you’ll experience if you take the link :-)

Daniel introduces the topic:

“I hear a lot of talk about how ebooks didn’t innovate enough, or how ebooks are unsatisfactory—that they’re stuck in this ‘print-under-glass’ model that offers nothing new to the reading experience.”

Daniel challenges that:

“…for those of us who grew up on print books and for whom ebooks and audiobooks are viable alternatives, what is it in our reading experiences that we are so sorely lacking?”

He elaborates:

“…what is so wrong with the print-under-glass model of ebooks? What else were we expecting? To my eyes, an ebook on my Kindle looks a lot like a print book in my hands. And that’s exactly how I want it to be.”

Are you pretty much like Daniel?

Are you, rather, a person who wants all the innovation possible?

I encourage you to not only take the link to Daniel’s article and read the complete version; I encourage you to read the fascinating comments folks have left after that article………
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