Is a Tablet in Your Favorite E-Reader’s Future?


E-book consumers are increasingly shifting to tablets from dedicated e-readers as their first choice for reading e-books, according to the Book Industry Study Group’s Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading Survey, powered by Bowker.

In August,

  1. 17% of e-book consumers cited Amazon Fire as their first choice for reading e-books (up from 0% last August),
  2. 7% cited B&N’s Nook (up from from 2% the previous August).
  3. 10% Apple’s iPad (a number which has remained constant).

Tablets are now the first choice for about a third of the e-reading public. Simultaneously, dedicated e-reading devices have slid in popularity in direct proportion to the growth of tablets. No surprise there.

Of frequent e-readers–people who purchase e-books at least weekly– 38% indicated that tablets were their primary e-reading device, compared to 19% a year earlier. Reading by frequent e-readers on dedicated e-reading devices meanwhile slipped to less than half from more than two-thirds a year earlier.

UPSHOT: Those who like to use technology for reading, like that reading technology to be a part of a more versatile technology they are able to use in other ways. So does that mean you should buy your reader a tablet? Read on.

According to an online poll of e-book readers conducted in June and July and sponsored by OverDrive with the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy . . . .

Devices on which e-books borrowed by patrons of libraries were read included

  • 84% dedicated readers;
  • 20% desktop or laptop PCs;
  • 19% smartphones;
  • 18% tablets.

People who borrow ebooks from libraries tend overwhelmingly to own a dedicated eReader, however, they might equally used other technology to read that ebook! See, people who like eReading like versatility. Moving on . . .

  1. 57% of respondents said that the public library is their primary source of book discovery.
  2. 44% said their e-book purchases have increased in the past six months.
  3. And 35% purchased a book (print or e-book) after borrowing a copy of it.

Also, on average, library e-book patrons buy 3.2 books (both print and digital) a month.

UPSHOT: Readers are a highly individual bunch. Just write off eReaders and Tablets as gifts. Stick with bookstore gift cards so your beloved reader can buy the type of book they want and read it the way they want.

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Published in: on November 19, 2012 at 1:19 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Before You Buy That E-Reader As A Holiday Gift . . .

Here’s the skinny– Over One Third of All eReaders Are Used Just Once Before Being Set Aside and Kindles topped the survey list of unused devices!

A recent poll showed that a third of US ereader owners said they only used their device once before putting it away or selling it.  (A survey conducted in the UK yielded an even more anti-eReader message: nearly half given as Christmas gifts had yet to be opened a month later.)

A group of almost 2,ooo ereader owners, when questioned about average usage

  • 17% used their ereader at least once a week.
  • 29% use it once a day.
  • 35% indicated that they used the device just once — ever.

The survey went on to ask why those owners who only used the ereader once, did so.

  • 57% stated they didn’t have the time to use it; they are too busy.
  •  22% said that they’d received it as a gift and didn’t have a need for it.
  • 25% simply preferred to read actual physical books.

The survey data went on to show that 37% of the regretful ereader owners did not think it was a good buy, and another 29% planned to get rid of their ereader because they used it so rarely.

Upshot?

  1. Only buy an ereader for yourself. It’s a waste of money buying it for someone else. It won’t be used, it won’t be appreciated.
  2. If you plan to buy an ereader for yourself, buy it after Christmas when unhappy owners are unloading them.
  3. If you plan to buy a gift for a reader, the best gift is still a real physical book or a gift card to a bookstore!

(This post was based on an article by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader that ran Nov 11, 2012. We encourage every would-be gifter to read it!)

Published in: on November 15, 2012 at 1:53 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Ebook Conversion, Redux

copyright Joshua Vizzacco

As you all know, we tried a while back to do some epubs and gave up. However, the new book (coming out in Oct) has created a bit of a hiccup. In part it’s down to the cover. Adult minds just naturally go in the wrong direction. In part it’s the content. There truly are adult themes, erotic events, and vulgar language contained within, but all perfectly within reason and within context.

Of course, most people simply react to the cover and title, and jump to the wrong conclusion. (We’ll be posting the cover image Oct 1st.)  This is how we ended up having to buckle down and crank out the book and the ebook ourselves.

Was it easy? Not so easy we didn’t want to kill ourselves now and then . . . but we did managed to create the Adobe Digital Edition epub, Amazon mobi file, and B&N Nook epub on our own in about a week. It took that long because as much as everyone says just create an epub and convert it, that isn’t quite true.

So, with the help of Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción of Lynda.com, Liz  Castro’s Epub Straight to the Point, and a great advanced tutorial from BBebooks, all of whom together we needed (because no one had all the answers, drat) and without each of which we could not have succeeded, we finally approved the ADE proof today. Yeah.

Would we recommend using a professional converter? Yes. If you don’t know much about CSS or hand coding, it’s not that much fun to make an epub. It’s not difficult to learn, but if you simply want to write (or design books), it’s probably better to let a professional ebook maker do that step. They will give you a product that is both beautiful and functional across multiple platforms.

Check out ePub Zen Garden for examples of beautiful ebooks. Not every e-reader is going to be capable of translating a great design, but being able to take advantage of the options you as the author do have at your disposal? Priceless.

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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And on to ebooks, and how we make them — do not use as intended.

Before we go any further, we have to be honest, we don’t use things “as intended.” This upsets experts their field, but it always works out for us and it always turns out to be way, way, way, simpler.  Whatever we tell you this month about ebook conversions, don’t spread it around.

We do all our books in Adobe InDesign. It’s a professional type of software most publishers use.  Everyone told us not to buy it, to job the work out to a professional. But we said no. We can do this.  And we did.  But we did it our way.  So we do not use ID as intended.

We put everything for one entire book, in one entire InDesign file. From frontmatter to backmatter.  Just they way you wrote your book on your computer’s word-processing software. We use ID like a big, powerful word processor.

Hear that high-pitched sound? It’s professional designers screaming in the distance.

It’s totally NOT, what you’re supposed to do to make a book in InDesign. But doing it as we do means creating printer files and PDF ebook files that are consistent, free of conversion errors, and a total snap.

And, drum roll please . . . .the first thing to know about creating an ebook? Everything goes in one file.

We end up with a nice product we can sell worldwide, including through Apple, because LSI / Ingram Digital is an aggregator for Apple. (But not Amazon or B&N, which is why we have to go through this now.)

So, if you are currently staring at your not very formatted  potential ebook on your creaky word-processing program and thinking “Yes, but now what? I don’t have any professional software! And I don’t know what I’m doing!”

No worries, you’ve already done the hardest part! You wrote a book and it’s all in one file.

Published in: on September 1, 2011 at 7:07 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Loose Fantasies — just when you think it’s all over, it all starts all over again!

Today if all went well, our new book, the last of the Lennox series, Loose Fantasies  The Memoirs, comes out. If it didn’t  . . . oh wait, it kinda didn’t. We had a little text hiccup.  About 3 paragraphs went astray, so we have to herd them back in.

Notice our lack of upsetment?

People tend to think that printing this book is the end. As if!  It’s usually after you print it that you actually see problems. And so it is with this book. But we go with the Guy Kawasaki method, ie, go ahead and roll it out. It has to happen sometime. Even if it has flaws, you can fix them. If you wait for perfection, you’ll never get it out, or published, or done, or whatever.  So, at this point . . . .

The last book of this series is out, it does have some typos, but is it enjoyable anyway, you bet.  Still, we do care, so we are going to be doing a new round of editing on all 6 volumes in Sept, starting with book 1, and rolling the whole series out through B&N PubIt! (the ebook creation tool they use) for Nook.  We’ll also be taking a crack at turning them into Kindling (Kindle format?). If all goes well, the ebooks set will be up and out in time to take with on your Thanksgiving journey.

Nook and Kindle is something we’ve never done before, although all our books are in an ePub ebook format and available through Adobe Digital Editions. One of the downsides of the PDF format is its static. It doesn’t work well on readers.  And too, Amazon will only sell its Kindle format, ditto Nook, so we felt we needed to tackle this issue.  If you’re following along for the month of September, expect to read an endless stream on this topic and its related issues.  If you’ve been thinking of setting up with Nook/Kindle, it might do you well.

We’ll get around to upgrading the print/PDF versions to match the newer Kindle/Nook versions in a bit, but it’s not like it’s going to make a huge difference to the read. These won’t be major story edits. In other words, these remain the same leisurely, intimate family drama / romance / travel mysteries, you’ve all come to know and love.

In the meanwhile, we’ll also be going through a general round of “end of book” things . .  . the copyright process (all done online thank heaven!), and the mailing out of complimentary copies, and copies to the Library of Congress copyright office.

There’s also all the updating and adding on to do to the FAB website, and Bowker, and Google books. And even before we finish that,  we may have some other books by other authors will be in the pipeline. Probably. Hopefully. Maybe. (People doing marketing probably know this, but you may not, ARCs went out months ago.  An ARC is an Advanced Review Copy.)

The upshot is, if you do decide to become a publisher, you probably won’t get everything right the first go round, even if you do hire a great copy editor, proofreader, designer, media person.  But it’ll still all be ok. Hang in there. You’ll get another chance, and another, and another.  And if you went with LSI cover corrections and text block correction are only $40. Practically guilt free.  Sure some people may snicker, but so what.

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus . . . whose got the last laugh now?