Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Future of Electronic Publishing?

As most of you know, between 1997 and 2011, I operated an ebook
publishing company called Ebookomatic.com. In October 2011 I
closed the doors because the industry had changed in so many
ways. Chief among these changes has been the move away from the
industry standard Adobe PDF ebook format in favor of other
wireless platforms like the Kindle from Amazon.com.

While Amazon and the Kindle have changed the face of book
publishing and distribution, I'm not so certain all of those
changes have been for the best. They have made it relatively easy
for anyone with an idea to publish an ebook and make it available
for wireless download to their device. The publishing service
itself is free to use, and the author can determine how much they
will charge, where the ebook will be sold, and how much of a
royalty they want to earn.

The problem, as I see it, is that now you have a lot of garbage
for sale -- stuff that normally would never get published is now
masquerading as a book. In other words, there is a lot of poorly
written stuff out there -- in fact, probably the majority of it
is quite bad. And as a result, all of this bad work adds noise to
the channel by giving you endless options for ebooks. You can
search on just about any topic and come up with hundreds of
titles you never heard of and probably don't want to read.

But there are other issues, too. While authors have control over
price, they really don't because the public doesn't believe they
should pay for quality information, fiction or entertainment. As
a result, ebooks for the Kindle and elsewhere routinely sell for
$2.99 and lower. And the lower the price, the less the author
earns. It's like iTunes apps or iPad games.

Sure, I know. It' a volume deal. Lower the price and millions
will purchase what you sell. That doesn't always work. If it
worked all the time, we'd all be able to sell our shopping list
for a dime and be millionaires.

So as an experiment, I decided to publish the four ebooks I
completed this year on Amazon's Kindle Publishing Direct. I
wanted to see what the experience was like compared to
EbookoMatic.com. My system enabled you to upload a Microsoft Word
file and it converted it into a password-protected Adobe PDF
file. You set the price, genre, added a bio, a cover and a
summary and your ebook was available for sale within 5 minutes or

I created my free Amazon KDP account within a few minutes, and
then started the learning process of using their system. What I
discovered is that the process of uploading your manuscript, your
cover image, and your ebook's "meta" information is quick and
easy. But there are a few issues ...

First, you really can not upload a Microsoft Word DOC file and
expect your ebook to look the same in Word or Adobe PDF as it
will on a Kindle. In fact, if you are like me and don't own a
Kindle, you need to download a Kindle emulation program and
separate conversion program to generate the ebook file before you
can upload it to Amazon KDP.

This is an iterative process. You'll convert the file on your PC,
view it on the Kindle emulator, make notes for layout changes,
and then start the process all over again. Some conversion tools
work better than others, and it takes a while to understand how
the choices you make in your settings of these tools control what
the final product will look like. I spent hours experimenting
until I got something that looked OK.

Second, once you upload your ebooks to their system, they do not
become available for sale for at least 12 hours or more. So much
for instant publishing. Apparently they are put through some
quality control process where humans actually get involved. One
of the ebooks I submitted was rejected on the grounds that it
duplicated an ebook already for sale in their system.

How could this be? I searched Amazon and found my ebook for sale
under someone else's account name. I informed Amazon they were
wrong, but they insisted I was wrong. I had to show them domain
ownership, manuscript info, a web site, and still they argued
with me. And because contact info was unavailable for the other
person reselling my original work, I had no alternative but to
threaten Amazon with a lawsuit for facilitating theft of
intellectual property and copyright infringement.

Eventually, Amazon saw the error of their ways and withdrew the
other person's work from their ebook catalog, and made my
original ebook live. They were very apologetic for their handling
of the situation.

Frankly, I think there is a huge class action lawsuit just
begging for an intellectual property attorney to attack. Could be
millions of dollars at stake here because I am certain I am not
the only author to have his work ripped off by Amazon's system.

In fact, anyone who has created and sold an ebook with reseller
rights, could find their work for sale by others on Amazon unless
they deliberately stated their work can not be converted or sold
in other formats or on other publishing platforms. In other
words, if you publish a PDF ebook, make sure you state it can only be
resold as a PDF file.

So if you want to see the ebooks available on Amazon for the
Kindle, go here:


You'll notice there are authors with similar names listed along
with me. The titles are presently selling for 66% off normal
retail prices, for only $9.99 each, so buy yourself a present and
download one of my ebooks today at a bargain price!

Until next time,


P.S.: If you are an author and are looking for assistance with
publishing and promoting your ebook online, I can create a killer
web site, sales letter, ebook cover and much more for you. Drop
me a line to discuss your needs at info@schneiderman.net.

Schneiderman Marketing, LLC, 1811 S. Baltimore, Suite 203, Tulsa, OK 74119, United States


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