Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: E-books

#E-Books Inside The Digital Book World


So much business these days is built on lies and broken promises.

But they package it as Branding and Influence.

We’re led to believe (if we’re unthinking folk) that dealing with a top brand that has market influence is the best thing we can do.

The fact that our world is splitting some seams and losing its stuffing through climate change and economic peril (to mention only two of the major crises underway) is primarily due to “top brands” that have major “market influence”.

I scan a ton of news to find material for this blog and, some days, finding information of solid worth is severely hampered by a flood of nearly meaningless drivel

There’s an organization called Digital Book World that says some strange things about itself:

“…Digital Book World has evolved into a year-round platform offering educational and networking resources for consumer publishing professionals and their partners — including agents, booksellers and technology vendors — online and in person.”

That seems straightforward and yet, why do they call themselves a “platform” rather than an organization or company?

And, rather than addressing the needs of “book publishers” which one might think would follow from their name (Digital Book World), they say they’re helping “consumer publishing professionals”, which lets them focus less on authors who write books and deal more proactively with “content producers” who create maybe not books perhaps “content containers”?

So, these folks just had their 7th Digital Book World Conference + Expo.

And, Publishing Perspectives just published an article entitledAfter DBW: ‘Perhaps We Don’t Know Anything’. (“DBW” being the Digital Book World Conference + Expo…)

A few excerpts:

“…one of the recurring ideas of this year’s event was a series of cautious admissions that perhaps we don’t know anything.”

Publishers Marketplace’s Michael Cader said:

“Our industry is full of anomalies…”

New York University Prof. Scott Galloway said:

“These four companies (Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google) have effectively seceded from the US.”

Annenberg Innovation Lab Director Jonathan Taplin said:

“The result of this industrial hegemony is that platform, and not content, is becoming king.”

So have we come from “books” to “content” to “platform”—from “objects of value” to “aggregations of data” to “an empty stage”?

I’m sure there were a few presenters at the conference who made sense; but then, that’s just a bit of sense in a stew of nonsense

If you’re wondering how folks who think this way make money, it’s pretty much the same way astronomers hold on to their jobs of “studying” proposed fantasies instead of the actual universe—they’re capitalizing on a financial climate that is no-holds-barred: do-whatever-you-can-get-away-with. And, wrap it in addictive packaging with elusive promises

So, where are e-books in the digital book world?

It depends on which kind of e-book you’re after

The content producers standing on compelling platforms will sell you run-of-the-mill genre stories.

Independent authors will sell you books that may be of lasting worth.

But then, my last two statements are generalizations

The scary thing to me is that those generalizations seem to be rapidly transforming into accurate perceptions………
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Literacy, NGOs, and Business . . .


Let’s start with the Business in the title of this post—Fast CompanyWorldreader and Fast Company

“Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethonomics (ethical economics), leadership, and design. Written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders, Fast Company and FastCompany.com inspire readers and users to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations, and create the future of business.”

Now, NGOs — Non-Governmental Organizations:

“Usually set up by ordinary citizens, NGOs may be funded by governments, foundations, businesses, or private persons. Some avoid formal funding altogether and are run primarily by volunteers. NGOs are highly diverse groups of organizations engaged in a wide range of activities, and take different forms in different parts of the world. Some may have charitable status, while others may be registered for tax exemption based on recognition of social purposes.”

And, Literacy; specifically, Worldreader:

“Worldreader is about e-books, reading and literacy…a US, Europe and Africa-based nonprofit organization transforming the lives of people in the developing world. Our mission is to unlock the potential of millions of people through the use of digital books in places where access to reading materials is very limited.”

Worldreader Is One Of Fast Company’s Most Innovative NGOs Of 2016

From their site:

“This year’s Top 10 Not-For-Profit companies include the likes of Black Lives Matter, UNICEF and Humans of New York, among others. Each of these organizations is playing their part in designing our future. We believe that our world should be a literate one. ‘We are grateful to play a part in creating a more literate world, and are deeply humbled to have our work acknowledged by Fast Company’ says our CEO and Co-Founder David Risher.”

And, here are 6 other posts about Worldreader
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Do We Have to Worry about Amazon Being Heavy-Handed Again?


The topic for today’s post came from the wonderful blog called The Passive Voice—usually showing snippets with links to other blogs but sometimes holding forth at length, eloquently—this time with the snippet/link about “Kindle e-Books will have a warning message if they have spelling mistakes or bad formatting.”

The passive guy (who’s actually a lawyer) led me to a somewhat detailed article at goodEreader.

Excerpts:

“Amazon has two stages of the warning system that will go live within a few short weeks.

If an e-book only contains a few spelling mistakes, but is still readable, a simple warning message will appear on the details page of that specific title.

“It will make the average book buyer aware that there are some issues.

“If the book has bad formatting issues, and basically renders it unreadable Amazon will suppress it and the book listing will be removed.”

Apparently, folks send notes from their e-readers to Amazon—like these:

spelling errors

I find this quite interesting because they seem to be saying Amazon will take action whether the book is uploaded by the author or comes from a publisher

I have two books on Amazon—one of each kind just mentioned…

I wrote about the typos of one of them back in June of 2012—A Book Review That Teaches The Author Something About Typos . . .—then, wrote about it again the other day—What Happens to a Book After It’s Published?

I’ve never told Amazon about typos I’ve seen in their e-books—have you?

Last time I looked the article had 71 comments and folks were either doubting Amazon will actually do this, or afraid they’ll do it but dump books that have purposeful misspellings, or drop books because some readers misreport for unfounded reasons

Excerpt:

“Currently, the only way users can report content issues is if you have an e-ink based reader, such as the Kindle Paperwhite or the Voyage. There is no reporting option for content errors on the Amazon Fire tablets or the Kindle e-reading apps for Android and iOS.”

Oh, also, the last time I checked, The Passive Voice snippet/link post had 67 comments; again, a mixed bag of disbelief, joy, query, and exasperation

There is one link in the goodEreader article to Amazon that says “a warning message“; however, I went to that page (found a bunch of sound advice about avoiding errors)  but only found one indication of action Amazon would take:

“Some errors cause a book to be incomplete or unusable. We refer to these as Critical Issues. Because Critical Issues significantly impact the reading experience, any Critical Issue will result in the book being removed from sale until the correction is made.”

I found no definition of “Critical Issues” though they may be what the goodEreader article called “bad formatting issues”

It appears goodEreader is conflating spelling mistakes and minor typos with major formatting issues by saying, “Amazon has two stages of the warning system that will go live within a few short weeks”.

Also, what they say really only deals with one warning (for typos) and one, seeming, unwarned removal

I did some searching for more on this story but have yet to find anyone else writing about it.

I suppose I’m sharing it because I trust that passive guy’s heads-up services; and, also, I’m curious if my book will start carrying a Warning

If you see anything, please, do share a link in the comments :-)
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In Memoriam ~ Dan Poynter ~ Thanks for Helping This Writer . . .


No re-blog today………

Many folks who’ve self-published had never heard of Dan Poynter until he’d already passed from this earthly realm

I’m one of those folks—only knew of Dan’s death and his legacy because of an article in my email today from the Smashwords blog by Founder Mark Coker: Dan Poynter, The Father of Self Publishing, Passes Away

Mark’s article is worth reading in full; but, here are a few excerpts:

“Dan led the indie author movement long before the movement had a label, and long before many of its current beneficiaries were even born.”

“Dan was a mentor to me, long before he even knew me.  I first read his Self Publishing Manual about 12 years ago, before Smashwords was even a glimmer in my eye.”

“He provided writers the tools to think, act and publish like professional publishers.  If you’ve followed Smashwords at all over the last eight years, you’ll see the DNA of Dan pervades much of what we do at Smashwords.”

“Dan changed the world.  All of us — Smashwords and every indie author — are operating in a world that Dan first envisioned and, more than anyone, helped to encourage in his multiple decades of self publishing advocacy and education.”

“Above all, Dan was an incredibly nice guy.  He made himself available to every writer any time, whether at a writers conference or on email or when they called him at home.  He wanted to help writers achieve their dream.”

And, finally (with Underlining by me):

“In many ways, the rise of ebooks helped Dan realize his vision too.  Ebooks enabled every major retailer to stock self published books, so it was this democratized distribution that finally helped the world realize, appreciate and enjoy the extraordinary talent locked between the minds and fingertips of ordinary writers around the the world.  Dan believed in the potential of every writer when the rest of the industry thought most writers weren’t good enough.”

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Almost Against My Will ~ Yet Another Look At The Amazon–Hachette Dispute…


I write my blog to help folks explore Reading, Writing, and Publishing.

I often cover various hot topics in the news but, more often, lead people toward valuable information.

I’ve covered the Amazon–Hachette battle a number of times (links at the bottom) and, the last time, I almost didn’t do the post because I’m plainly disgusted with the way “business” intrudes on the smooth flow of the river of creativity.

There’s someone at Amazon who maintains that the only players necessary in the Book World are authors and readers.

But, the big publishers are frightened by self-publishing and the retailers (especially Amazon) are “just” businesses trying to make a buck.

I pity the folks who depend on the publishers and retailers for their living—the well-established authors as well as those writers attempting to emulate them and make a living by selling books…

There’s bound to be major change in the book market—probably bigger than what’s already happened—and, authors and readers may just work out methods that make the retailers and publishers act with more consideration…

So, I’ll give you two links to articles that display the most rationality I’ve seen yet in this Amazon–Hachette thing:

Making Sense of Amazon-Hachette

More Fights About Terms

And, with the hope that I never feel I have to write about this convoluted mess again, here are a few of my past posts about it:

Financial “Entitlement” Morphs Into “Legal” Outrage ~ Amazon & Hachette

Making Certain Authors Eat Their Own Words . . .

The Corporations and The Writer ~ Who’s Winning?
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