Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: ebooks

#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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Cool #Quotes from #SmartAuthors Via #Smashwords #Founder


Last month I published two posts about the new Smart Author PodcastSmart Author Podcast

Soon, #Smashwords Will Be an Even Nicer Place for #Publishing…

#BreakingNews ~ #Smashwords and the #SmartAuthor

The Podcast isn’t very old; but, it’s spawned a Wealth of quotes from joyous Indie Authors; and, you can find all the quotes on Facebook

The Founder of Smashwords, Mark Coker, said:

“We asked members of the Smart Author Podcast launch team to share their thoughts on indie authorship. 

“Here’s what they shared.  Their quotes run the spectrum from insightful, to heart warming, to hilarious to downright strange.  Just like authors.”

Here are a few of my Favs:


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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Visit The Story Bazaar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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 ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/ornicar69-54520

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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Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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Yet Another {Unique} #Free #Ebook Site


Last week I published the post, 10 Sites with #Free #Ebooks

In the meantime, I discovered an 11th one

Very unique place:

“The Standard Ebooks project is a volunteer driven, not-for-profit effort to produce a collection of high quality, carefully formatted, accessible, open source, and free public domain ebooks that meet or exceed the quality of commercially produced ebooks. The text and cover art in our ebooks is already believed to be in the public domain, and Standard Ebook dedicates its own work to the public domain, thus releasing whole ebooks files themselves into the public domain.”

There are other interesting things about this company right here

And, you can Get Involved:

“At the most basic level, anyone can contribute feedback via our mailing list. Day-to-day readers can tell us about errors they spot in our ebooks. People with an eye for typography and a talent for editing can proofread whole ebooks. Technically inclined readers can produce ebooks themselves, or contribute via Github.”

Also, the ebooks are in epub, azw3, kepub, and epub3 formats

So, since it’s free, why not give them a try :-)
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com