How the ePub thing ended up . . .Or, in and out of Wonderland.

Ok, here’s how the whole ePub adventure ended up.

While it’s always nice to do things in house, sometimes it’s more cost-effective to pay for an outside conversion.  These times include, when doing it in house is adding an undue burden on the health/safety of yourself or others, or when the hours used cost more than the money spent.

At the end of the day, we have so many projects on right now, doing the ePub conversion in-house was going to cost more than shipping it out to ebookarchitects.com.

Could we have done it in house? Yes.  And we do plan to, in the future. As we got stuck into the process, we quickly realize we could do it. It wasn’t rocket science, or even . . . theoretical physics.

The various web resources available through Lynda.com (and other websites) and books, such as Elizabeth Castro’s, EPub straight to the point, and software, such as Scrivener, all make doing a conversion quick, easy, and within anyone’s grasp.

The only thing you really need to create an ePub (& Kindle) is a PC or Mac with the right OS and enough memory to begin with. Throw on Scrivener for $45 and your there.

Given the average novel conversion runs about $100- $150, even if you bought a brand new computer just for this purpose (making ePUBs/kindles), after producing 3 or 4 books yourself, you’d have  spent only the money you would have spent paying someone else to do it, but you’d still have the ability to infinitely make books, or rework and update or correct the books you’d already made.

In short, you’d be crazy to pay someone to convert your book unless you want to insure a very professional look on the order of your PDF for your print manufacturer, feel that the content of the book is too graphic heavy and you’re afraid to tackle it (but you’ll pay for that too), are extremely pressed for time and by this we mean someone is paying you more for the time you’ll spend doing the conversion than you’ll spend on the conversion, or you are suffering health issues.

Another issue too is wait time. Quality conversion services are generally backed up.  ebookarchitects is running 13-14 weeks.  In other words, 4 months.  Some people just don’t want to wait that long. And in most cases, for simple text conversions, you don’t have to, if you’re willing to do it yourself.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 2:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Free Book Fridays, with the Nook

Some of you are trying to create an ePub out of your current manuscript. We get that.  If you want to look at how ePubs look through a Nook, you can actually download software to multiple devices, including your PC or Mac, and view the books there.

Barnes & Noble offers a Free Book Friday with Nook.  If you sign up for a Nook account, really just a way to buy books more than a device if you don’t have one, you can start creating a library of free ebooks and books they offer for free on Fridays.  The books will remain in your Nook library perpetually, stored in an archive, if you desire.

Should you buy a Nook, you can use those books in your library on the Nook. However, if you don’t, you can still read your Nook ePub materials on your computer, or other device,  by downloading Nook software — similar to Kindle. To create your account, you will have to give them a credit card, even if the only books you want to collect are free.

The virtue of starting a Nook account and library is that you can use your collection to see how an ePub book is structured. You might be surprised by what you see. Something you’d expect to find in the front of a printed book, such as copyright info, is today typically in the back of many Nook ePubs. Not sure if that shift is to keep readers from thinking about the IP law involved or just a convenient way of cutting down on the front matter.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, we were at Barnes & Noble looking at Nooks today. There are 3 versions, all very interesting with a lot of cool features.  But a major complaint would be no real selection of fonts, and no ability to upload fonts to the Nooks.  This is always disappointing to people who derived a great deal of pleasure from the typography.

The tablet Nook is the largest of the three, holds the most books, runs the longest without recharging, costs the most, orients both horizontally and vertically, which is helpful, and is able to display PDFs.  But it’s very heavy and the battery incredibly strong, by that we mean one can feel the electrical current. Quite scary really.

The tablet version becomes very prickly and hot if one holds it more than a minute. The other Nooks have the same problem, but to a lesser degree. Definitely, if we bought a Nook of any kind, it would have to come with a stand, because honestly no one wants to touch it for fear of getting burned, electrocuted, or developing an inability to use one’s hand because it continues to buzz with excited electric current long after the Nook is put down.

So, would we buy a Nook? Yes, if it were inexpensive enough, say under $100, but it would only be used for testing ePubs on. Nook is a good idea, it has huge potential, but it’s got a long way to go.  We will also say that compared to a Kindle, Nook seems like the better made, more user friendly product.  But if you’re going to the trouble of buying a Nook tablet, why not just buy an iPad?

Published in: on September 21, 2011 at 1:25 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Apple to exhibit at Book Expo of America publishing conference? What’s the deal Camille?

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/05/apple-to-exhibit-at-book-expo-publishing-conference.html

Apple, which doesn’t really need to do trade shows, they’re their own universe, and thank God, we LOVE Apple, but even we are a little surprised to see they’re making their first appearance at Book Expo America this week in New York City. Apple has a prime spot at the American publishing world’s biggest convention — smack dab by near publishing giant Random House, and spitting distance to Disney and MacMillan.

There’s been some buzz, as in “Why is Apple there? They aren’t a publisher.” But it makes sense to us since they do have iBooks. It actually makes perfect sense to us. Apple is invested in iBooks, but the reality is eBooks don’t make up the vast bulk of publisher sales.

Apple’s appearance at BEA is probably more to do with branding and a forward-thinking strategy. You have to make people think about the future of books, and eBooks via a platform like iBooks is a definite part of that future. Too, it says something about Apple that they turn up. It says they understand that to be taken seriously in publishing you have to be a part of that community and not just a vendor of its products.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog TUAW speculates that Apple might be planning to announce an Apple digital library. But we think that’s probably baseless. Apple sees a benefit to being at the BEA, or they wouldn’t be there. And it’s all the more interesting they turn up when BEA has sort of downshifted from a weekend to a weekday conference and instead of moving between major American cities, decided to run only in its home base, New York.

Also, over the last couple years, many major publishers pulled back on their “on the floor” booth presence. Some skipped the booths altogether, doing business in more out-of-the-way meeting rooms (read hotel rooms). Apple turning up my signal its faith in a rebounding book market, or perhaps Apple was able to snag the prime spot for a song and thought now is the time to promote iBooks as “serious publishing” and expose traditional publisher and members of the publishing world to their brand of delivery.

Last year, the closest Apple came to attending the BEA was a nearby billboard. If Apple is there this year, you have to ask why?

Published in: on May 24, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Google Books Agreement, Again

For anyone not living on Planet Books, today the amended agreement goes back to court for a final fairness hearing.

If you don’t know what this is all about, have a read of Cnet’s excellent article on the issues by Larry Downes.

Small publishers still have no idea how their going to be able to interact with Apple’s new iBook store. Since Apple has already 6 of the major publishers on board, there has to be a model. The question becomes, why doesn’t Apple want to share that model with the rest of the US publishers?

There is a possibility, we suppose, that Apple is working to come up with some sort of uniquely Apple ePUB DRM feature. But at this point, no one even knows when iBooks will be available for the iPad.  We shall just have to wait and be amazed.

Published in: on February 18, 2010 at 8:15 AM  Leave a Comment  
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