Note to self: paths to ebook publishing

The Future of the book conference (Auckland, 24-25 June 2009) was deeply satisfying for me. It answered all my burning questions about jumping into the ebook arena. Like:

  • Why am I confused? Because there's a major announcement every week about the ebook explosion, doh! so it's confusing.
  • Could I be locked in to a proprietary ebook system and never escape? No no no no no. But do start with XML.
  • Are there do-or-die, irrevocable choices to be made here? No, Milady Author, you can have it all. But some paths are less knobbly than others.

To-do list
1. Buy iPhone OS3 in July, or the new Apple device if it truly is born in July.
Let it change my lifestyle.

2. Check contracts: do I have electronic rights (or all rights) for my back list of books? If not, get them. (List of publications to check off...)

3. Compile a poetry collection for iPhone ‑- but nothing rude or sexual!

4. Tidy the manuscripts:

  • no page breaks
  • simplify pre-pages
  • Re-do all screenshots in Write me a web page Elsie! High res., colour.

5. Get new ISBN numbers for electronic version of the books.

6. Get manuscripts converted:

  1. convert to XHTML
  2. convert to e-pub
  3. For Kindle, convert to AZW (last on the list)
  4. DRM (digital rights management, i.e. preventing theft) e.g. Adobe ADEPT
  5. for Write me a web page, Elsie! because of screenshots

6. Research channels ($%, rights, format) and send to all channels.

  • Iphone – App Store – Legend? Stanza?
  • nz stores, libraries
  • 1000 great NZ e-books
  • ebook warehouses, and lots of others.

7. Carry on marketing for years!


Aug 31, 2009 • Posted by Getting published in Ebooks (electronic books) or hard copy books? | Publish Ebook

[…] Note to self: paths to ebook publishing […]

Jun 27, 2009 • Posted by Miraz Jordan

These are some interesting notes Rachel, and I look forward to hearing more.

I have one immediate comment though, and that’s re DRM. Noooooo! Please don’t lock up your books – and it’s not because I want to steal them.

The main function of DRM is to cause grief and distress to legitimate users – the people who want to be able to read and use and enjoy your work. DRM generally just does awful things like forcing us to use particular software (eg Adobe Reader, choke), or a particular device – eg a laptop and not an iPod touch.

It tends to force us to re-download (with enormous hassle) if we do something like reformat a hard drive, and won’t let us simply reinstall from a backup.

It often prevents us from copying and pasting into our notetaking software, or printing.

It commonly won’t transfer from one device to another.

In general, it forces us legitimate buyers into tiny, cramped spaces where we contort to try to enjoy your work.

The pirates on the other hand, who want to rip you off by copying and redistributing, seem to have access to a vast array of cracking tools that allow them to grab your content and do what they will with it.

As an author myself I was in the ironic position at one point of having ready access to the pirated copy of my book that turned up in Google searches, while NOT having access to the legitimate DRM encumbered version….

DRM is not the answer. Making your customers out to be thieves and crooks and not to be trusted – things the music and movie industry do to us all the time – is not the way to have people respect your work.

Forcing legitimate users to turn to shady means simply because they want to read the work they want to pay you for is not a healthy approach.

Please don’t go down the DRM route. You have an opportunity to try respectful approaches from the start.

Jun 27, 2009 • Posted by Rachel

I hear you! In fact I have heard the veto before, so I appreciate hearing these WHY details. On the other hand, I only gave you my bullet points. The longer (mental) note-to-self says: “Investigate various forms of DRM, look closer, check the pros and cons, test one unimportant document with DRM before deciding. Then do the DRM or not.” Thank you, Miraz: you’ve started my research very nicely.

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