eBooks and Libraries | Books & Beer

librariesDaniel Messer is with Maricopoa County Library District. He’s worked in libraries for almost 20 years. As an author, he’s keenly interested in the interplay between libraries and ebooks, and has some intersting insight to share with you in 15 minutes on this edition of the Books and Beer Hangout:

  • How libraries acquire ebooks for lending to patrons
  • Vagaries of antiquated licensing systems that continue to plague libraries, even in ebooks
  • Working with Overdrive and Freeding
  • How DRM adds a new layer of complexity
  • How you can check out books from the library and read them on your ebook reading device
  • Yes, Amazon does play (nicely?) with your library
  • But in the world of $.99 and free ebooks… will libraries survive?
  • Conversations about the great fear publishers have of piracy from libraries, and why that’s stupid
  • How indie authors can get their books in the public library

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices: Sex Panther by Santan Brewing and the last of Evo’s Bell’s Hopslam.

The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast live as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

Can’t see the video embedded above? Download the video or watch it on YouTube.

eBook Conversion: How Hard Can That Be? | Books & Beer

My Moleskine Kindle case Terry Madeley

My Moleskine Kindle case Terry Madeley

Chris, Joshua and Toby from eBook Architects join us to discuss the process of ebook conversion. Surprise! It’s not as simple as shoving some text in an auto-conversion scrip. Well… not if you want to do it right.

Google+ and Cox weren’t playing nice with Evo tonight. Please forgive us. But we powered through, and over the course of 25 minutes, here’s what we covered on this edition of The Books & Beer Hangout:

  • From Word doc to ebook — what’s involved?
  • The importance of starting with a good book!
  • Why easy-conversion tools may not be the best way to proceed
  • What ebook formats you should care about
  • Pitfalls to avoid before converting your document to ebook form
  • Why you should study current and future trends for ebooks
  • Features of ebooks you’re probably missing
  • The wisdom of checking out the competition before you create your ebook
  • Researching marketplaces to make sure your book is readable everywhere
  • What authors need to understand before working with an ebook converter
  • What you need that you’re probably missing when you create an ebook
  • The process that eBook Architect follows to create an ebook
  • The importance of cleanup before you start the conversion process
  • The future of devices and formats on ebook readers
  • Proper formatting for different devices
  • Will ebook readers become free?
  • What about fixed-format books? Comic books, photography books…
  • Will mobile websites beat out ebooks?
  • Three predictions for ebooks in the next 12 months.

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices: Redbud Brewing’s Arbor. (Skip this one. I think it was infected.) , 400 Pound Monkey by Left Hand, a Shock Top Raspberry,  and a Hercules IPA by Great Divide.

The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast live every Thursday night at 6P/9E as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

Can’t see the video embedded above? Download the video or watch it on YouTube.

Shorter eBooks For Faster Success

Kindle by the.approximate.photographer

Kindle by the.approximate.photographer

I caught up with a friend yesterday during a rather long car ride. Naturally, the topic of ebooks was broached. My friend (who’ll go unnamed for now) is an accomplished author, acclaimed blogger and one of the leading experts in his (or her) field. And even though this person is deeply digital, she (or perhaps he) was having a tough time breaking free from some carry over baggage from the pre-ebook publishing world.

When we boiled it down, the issues at hand were space and time. Time, in that the author had big ideas and a lot of work ahead to shape those ideas into a book. Would the author go ebook? Absolutely, but the total time investment was the same. The answer, it turns out, was space. And by space, I mean distance. And by distance, I mean:

eBooks can be shorter.

To illustrate my point, we’ll pretend I talked my friend out of writing a mythical book titled 100 Things You Can Do In Greece. Instead, the new plan is to take all that content and split it up over ten ebooks, each featuring just ten things. 10 X 10 = 100! Here’s why this strategy works better in the ebook world.

Shorter ebooks are better targeted.

This happens almost by definition. People traveling to Greece cannot possibly cover the entire country. Yes, some may be scuba diving in Mykonos one day and then are off to meditate in the monasteries of Meteora the next. But most won’t be. Focus your attention and the book has greater value to a specific audience.

Shorter ebooks have a longer shelf life.

The more broad your ebook, the greater the chance of one thing changing to render it obsolete. Yes, this can happen to short ebooks too, but it’s much simpler to update and republish a short ebook than to go back to the well on a long one.

Shorter ebooks are more consumable.

With e-readers, people are discovering their desire for snack-sized content. And unlike sneaking food between meals, consuming written content doesn’t make you fat. If anything, it makes you smarter! Keeping the content concise increases the value, as your readers won’t have to skip sections that don’t appeal to them.

Lots of short ebooks build and reinforce your brand.

Who do you think is the greater expert: someone who’s penned a single travel book on Greece, or an author who’s written ten? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Short ebooks keep readers happy.

Today’s ebook readers sneak in reads at odd points during the day. Maybe it’s standing in line at the DMV. Maybe it’s a 3-hour plane ride. And while e-readers make it easy to bookmark a book of any length, there’s something special about the feeling of accomplishment when a book is finished.

Short ebooks keep readers coming back for more.

If you’ve done it right, your readers will finish the last page, return to the marketplace and order your next short ebook. Don’t leave them hanging (unless that was your intention.) Make sure your short ebook is complete, even if there is more to the story. And then give them that more!

What’s next?

In a world where people almost always have instant access to the internet, it’s less important for your ebooks to be the total compendium of knowledge. In a world where ebooks sell for less than $5, attentions wander and new loyalties are discovered with little personal economic impact. This is the world we live in. Adapt.

And here’s the best news: you probably already have enough content to create a short ebook! In a few days (maybe weeks?), we’ll be announcing a six-week online training course you might be interested in. Keep watching the blog or sign up for the newsletter in the upper right-hand corner of this page. We’ll announce it there as soon as we’re ready.

South Korean Schools to Replace All Textbooks with Tablets – TNW Asia

I know you want to cling to your print books like a comfy blanket, but the world is headed in a different direction.

By 2015, students will be carrying digital textbooks in lieu of paperback books in all schools in South Korea, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

via South Korean Schools to Replace All Textbooks with Tablets – TNW Asia.

Am I heralding the doom of print? No, not right now. But I also bet that people argued that lamps powered by whale oils were far superior to anything else. That argument seems rather silly now. I bet this one will, too. It’s only a matter of when.

The scary, exciting, sausagey opportunities of publishing digital

PE - Printing Press MTA_1039

Image by Metro Transportation Library and Archive via Flickr

It’s written. It’s edited. It looks great. Now what?

It’s time for that behind-the-scenes tour at the sausage factory you’ve been avoiding. Long gone are the days when you could leave this mess to “the professionals”. We call it digital PUBLISHING for a reason. Time to unleash your baby to the wild. Hope you taught her to swim.

In the world of digital publishing, the term “publishing” has a simple meaning: getting your work in front of an audience. Very few people will find it buried on a shelf with thousands of other titles, but nobody will find it sitting on your hard drive.

But don’t fret. There exists nearly unlimited channels and platforms to take your digital books to the masses. Some you probably know. Many you probably don’t. And too many to write about here, because new marketplaces and ecosystems are launching almost every single day. Even the big publishers are coming around, tossing out their own ideas pools for you to splash around in.

Encouraged? You should be. It’s a great time to be a digitally published author. You know, just like everyone else. For many authors, all these new properties will just be one more place where their book is listed but never sells. That’s a sad truth, but it doesn’t have to be YOUR truth. With a little guidance, loads of understanding and a solid and well established plan, you can position yourself better than the rest.

And here’s the best news of all: you get to be creative again! Because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to publishing. New marketplaces require new innovation. New risk-takers. And a new approach to finding success. You can learn much from those that came before, but there’s plenty of room on the bleeding edge. Welcome to digital publishing. It’s about to get interesting.

Publishing is the third phase of our Digital Publishing Lifecycle. We’re covering a different phase each day, and welcome your thoughts and input.

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Breaking it Down – Five Phases of Digital Publishing

Dice five

Image by doug88888 via Flickr

Getting a book published wasn’t magic, but it seemed that way to many people. All you needed was to get a great idea down on paper, people would realize how amazing it was, and BAM! – it’d be in the bookstore. Well, in the last century anyway. In this century, after the BAM! it appears on Kindles and iPods, and on Amazon.com rather than Borders. The process has changed, but it still isn’t magic.

Unfortunately, since so many people didn’t understand how the old process worked, they’re completely stuck now that the game is changing. All the enormous opportunity out there for authors who want to become their own publishers is lost if those authors don’t know what the publishers did in the 20th Century, let alone how to evolve into the 21st. Fortunately, that process is very possible to understand. Not easy, but not impossible.

That’s the whole reason we’re here – to help you tackle the steps necessary to get your ideas out to your readers in this digital age. To do that, we need a common terminology. A way of describing the different parts of the process as we dive into them and show how they interconnect. At the highest level, we see five distinct phases.

Five Phases of Digital Publishing

Writing – Shaping your ideas, your content, and your story for the digital world. We’ll leave the basics of storytelling and character building to others, but will instead cover the early choices that might impact you later based on the mediums and tools you plan to use.

Editing – Now you have your content, how do you get it ready for the dozens of digital formats available? How will it look on different ebook readers? How could the title, cover, and even the font make a difference in how people find you and make the decision to buy what you have to offer?

Publishing – Your book is done, it’s shiny, and it’s ready to go! Now what? How do you get your work into the channels where people can read it? How will it end up on Kindles from Boise to Beijing? How should you price it? How do you protect the rights to your work before you kick your baby out of the nest?

Promoting – Now your book it out there in all its glory, and if people just had psychic powers they would know where to find it. Sadly, your readers are likely limited in paranormal ability, so you will need to get the word out the old-fashioned way. Well, the new old-fashioned way. How can the digital tools like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter help you spread the word, and build a brand for both your book and you as a digital author? What marketing and promotional tools can you you put to good use whether you’re just starting out or already established?

Interacting – In the digital world your connections with your readers are not limited to a single stop on a book tour. Fans, friends, and collaborators are going to want to keep in touch with your work both online and in the real world. How can you build a strong support base, and leverage it to help you with future work while not taking all of your time?

Five simple areas, each with a whole lot of depth. We’ll be fleshing each step out over the next few days, so please stay tuned. But if you have any questions or thoughts already, let us know!

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