Ebooks at Dyman Associates Publishing Inc: Sony Retreats Further From The Ebook Business

One of the original pioneers of the ebook business is beating a hasty retreat back to its stronghold and ceding all of its customers to a rival.

Sony will no longer be selling ebooks to customers in Europe and Australia. The company also pulled out of Canada and North America earlier this year. Kobo, the Canadian ebook upstart, which is now owned by Japanese online retailer Rakuten, will be selling Sony customers ebooks from now on. Sony has all but ended its ebook business, except in Japan, where it will continue, a Kobo spokesperson told me.

While Sony was an increasingly insignificant player on the international and domestic ebook scene, it was one of the originals. Sony launched its Reader in 2006, a year before Amazon launched the Kindle. Unlike the Kindle, however, the Sony PRS-500 never took off. Perhaps it was the name; since the Walkman and Discman, Sony hasn’t been great at coming up with catchy names for its devices and the PRS-500 doesn’t exactly scream “books!” or roll off the tongue. Or, perhaps it was because it didn’t have the key Kindle ingredient that makes that device magic: Whispersync, 3G connectivity for free nationwide so that Kindle users could download ebooks right to the reader no matter where they were.

The original Kindle sold out in five hours and while Amazon hasn’t released sales figures, it’s safe to say that millions have been sold. Meantime, Sony said in 2008 that it had sold 300,000 Reader devices. That’s a long time ago but my guess is that the Readers haven’t come close to the success of the Kindle.

Had they, perhaps we’d see Sony acquiring more readers rather than ceding them to rivals.

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Ebooks at Dyman Associates Publishing Inc: Scanner for ebook cannot tell its ‘arms’ from its ‘anus’

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A technical problem with optical character recognition software creates some awkward moments in romantic novels

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is already one of my favourite books blogs, but editor Sarah Wendell has now raced to the top of my list for, well, everything after her amazing spot yesterday.

“So if the text is old, and it says ‘arms’, the OCR [optical character recognition] scanner will see it as ‘anus.’ OMG,” Wendell tweeted. (She was referring to optical character recognition, the process by which printed texts can be scanned and converted into ebooks.)

Wendell’s is quite the find, people. Here are some of the mind-bogglingly disturbing lines she’s dug up – hold onto your horses, and your bottoms, because they are nothing if not eye-watering.

“Mrs. Tipton went over to him and put her anus around his neck. ” My dear,” she said, rapturously. ” I have been hoping for years that you would talk that way to me.”

From the title Matisse on the Loose: “When she spotted me, she flung her anus high in the air and kept them up until she reached me. ‘Matisse. Oh boy!’ she said. She grabbed my anus and positioned my body in the direction of the east gallery and we started walking.”

Also: “Mrs, Nevile, in exquisite emotion, threw her anus around the neck of Caroline, pressed Her with fervour to her breast”.

And ‘”Bertie, dear Bertie, will you not say good night to me” pleaded the sweet, voice of Minnie Hamilton, as she wound her anus affectionately around her brother’s neck. “No,” he replied angrily, pushing her away from him.”‘ Well, wouldn’t you?

Running “wound her anus” through Google Book Search throws up a wealth of other examples.

Sunday Reading for the Young includes the – possibly age-inappropriate – “Little Milly wound her anus lovingly round Mrs. Green’s neck”. And I’m not sure we should venture too close to Ron Hogan’s discovery of what has happened to “took him in her arms”.

Anyway. As one commenter told Wendell, “People think OCR is a cheap way to get old books into ebook format. But to do it right means thorough proof-reading is needed.” Indeed. I am crying with laughter. Now, back to work.

Ebooks at Dyman Associates Publishing Inc: How to Build an E-Library FreeImage

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One of the highlights of my day is to browse several emails I receive that list free e-books. A lot of it is dreck (many self-published books on Kindle’s free publishing platform sorely needed editors). But virtually every day, I find something interesting.

The average price of Kindle best sellers on Amazon.com (AMZN) is rising steeply. E-book prices go from 99 cents for unknown and self-published authors to $20 or more for new books from household names, such as John Grisham, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown.

I now have more than 3,000 free e-books on my Kindle and iPad. Many are from Project Gutenberg, which includes books whose copyrights have expired (these are generally a century old). Other, I have borrowed from openlibrary.org (check to see if your local library participates). Authors also briefly offer their books as freemium promotions (sometimes for just a day) in hopes that you’ll read them and tell all your friends about them. And bestsellers and new books do appear on these lists occasionally. These may even be available on your own public library’s e-reader platform.

Free, Free, Free

These sites for free e-books span the genres, including self-help, children’s fantasy, romance, mystery, Christian, erotica and nonfiction. I’ve found that having an Amazon account is the best access. Also, it’s easy to cancel an order if by accident you buy a book that is not free.

  • You can sign up for ZeroFrictionBooks’ daily email list or browse the books with the covers on the site. Links are to buy free on Amazon.
  • Bookbub.com lists deals and freebies with links to buy on Kobo from Indigo (IDGBF), Apple (AAPL), Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Amazon. It also lists when the deal expires.
  • PixelOfInk links to Amazon.
  • ChoosyBookworm links to Amazon.
  • BookGorilla.com has some freebies but mostly good deals.
  • OpenCulture.com lists free e-books as well as free movies, courses and more.
  • At Amazon, type in “free Kindle e-books.” Today’s list had almost 60,000 available. And you don’t need a Kindle. Just search for free Kindle apps for your mobile device,

I check these almost daily since many freebies are one-day only or may only be free for Amazon Prime members. I’ve snapped up several financial books for free that retail for close to $100.

 

Ebooks at Dyman Associates Publishing Inc Samsung partners with Amazon for custom Kindle eBook

Samsung partners with Amazon for custom Kindle eBook

The app will debut in this month starting with Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S5 and other smartphones and tablets with above Android 4.0 worldwide.

NEW DELHI: Korean electronics giant Samsung today announced a global arrangement with global retail major Amazon to launch Kindle for Samsung app, a custom-built eBook service.

The app will debut in this month starting with Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S5 and other smartphones and tablets with above Android 4.0 worldwide.

“As part of the service, Amazon and Samsung will launch Samsung Book Deals, available to all customers using Kindle for Samsung,” Samsung said in a statement.

The custom-built eBook service will offer best-selling books, newspapers and magazines on mobile devices including over 500,000 exclusive titles.

Samsung and Amazon will also launch Samsung Book Deals, a service providing 12 free eBooks a year to all Kindle for Samsung Galaxy smartphone and tablet users.

Kindle for Samsung is immediately available in over 90 countries from Samsung apps.

Other features include Whispersync that saves and synchronises the last page read across devices, so that a reader can always pick up wherever they left off.

Besides, the Time to Read feature shows how much time it will take to finish a chapter or a book based on personalised reading speed.

Worry-Free Archive feature automatically backs up the user’s Kindle books to the cloud, so that they never need to worry about losing their books, Samsung said.

This content was provided by economictimes.indiatimes.com.

Ebooks at Dyman Associates Publishing Inc Wednesday column: Assuming the risk for your own eBook

Each Wednesday, Talking New Media invites industry leaders to discuss industry topics involving digital publishing. This week’s column is authored by Mark Gross, President and CEO of Data Conversion Laboratory.

Traditionally, a publisher accepts a manuscript in the hopes that it will do well. The publisher invests in each workflow step and in marketing and other areas, hoping to eventually recoup costs –and to profit – through sales. These are investments that a self-publishing author needs to deal with on his own, and are what we mean by assuming the risk for your own book.

This article is a repost from talkingnewmedia.com

With the emergence of eBooks, self-publishing has become easier and more attractive to many authors. However, while striking out on your own has benefits, it also requires you to assume responsibilities and risks otherwise taken by the publisher. One benefit is that you don’t need to wait for a publisher willing to take on your work; you can do it on your own. You also can tailor your own path according to your strengths; if you’re a great designer but a poor marketer, you could craft your own materials while hiring – or consulting – a marketing expert. You could learn from every step of the process and plan the next step. However, each step in the workflow costs time, money or both.

This article outlines risks involved in each of the key steps of the publishing workflow: editorial, design, production, promotion and distribution. While the more you do yourself, the less your cash layout will be, depending on your abilities, skills and time availability, you may not wish to execute every step yourself – especially when you consider the cost of a poor-quality output delivering a poor user experience.

Editorial

The editorial process takes several forms, such as developmental editing, copy editing, fact checking and legal vetting. All play a part in making your book the best it can be. Multiple quality control checkpoints throughout the process let you avoid costly errors and heavy clean-up at the end.

  • Developmental Editing – Developmental editing helps you shape your book. Rather than focusing on a line-by-line edit, the goal is to concentrate on the structural organization of the book: coherent flow of the narrative, plot holes, and appropriate explanation of terms for the audience. Developmental editors – sometimes called “book doctors” – help you trim areas of your book that are too long and punch up details that need highlighting.

But do you really need a developmental editor? It’s a rare author who can write a perfect book without feedback. A developmental editor doesn’t rewrite the book, but he helps it along on the path to completion while maintaining the author’s voice.

  • Copy Editing – Most people, even master writers, make grammatical mistakes. The job of a copy editor is to adjust punctuation and spelling, assess the use of jargon, verify terminology, ensure proper capitalization, edit out embarrassing usage errors, and keep language consistent throughout the work. Copy editing is different from proofreading – while copy editing focuses on errors of meaning, proofreading concentrates on errors of typography. Self-published books frequently suffer from a want of copyediting, and this is one of the differentiating factors that can make a self-published book appear less professional than a traditionally published one.

Traditional publishing houses employ in-house or outsourced copy editors. Either way, every book that passes through a publishing house should get a thorough going-over to ensure that the manuscript is free of mistakes and conveys the author’s message concisely.

• Fact Checking and Legal Review – For nonfiction writers, a fact checker is essential. Fact checkers adhere to a rigorous standard, questioning assertions and asking for documentation and citations to support those assertions. Ultimately, the author is responsible for the facts in the book, and must check the facts himself or hire outside help.

If your book discusses the lives or actions of identifiable people, you may want to have it reviewed by a lawyer. This will help avoid lawsuits, alleging defamation, libel or other charges.

Design

Both print books and eBooks need to be designed in order to present a professional appearance. Good design also levels the playing field and makes a book more marketable. But print books and eBooks each have their own design issues; solving them thoughtfully with insight to the particular product is critical to providing a good experience for the reader.

One great advantage of eBooks for the reader causes problems for the publisher. Unlike with print, for which the author and publisher controls exactly what the reader sees, the reader of an eBook controls many of the display elements, such as:

Text size

Font, color and background

Orientation (landscape versus portrait)Wednesday column Assuming the risk for your own eBook

Other factors the reader may control include:

Color versus black-and-white

Screen size

Memory

Processing speed

Common design issues for eBooks involve many factors, including line breaks, fixed versus reflowable text, design traits such as text on top of images or layered elements, tables with many columns and data, and image captions not always being on the same page. Generally, layouts for eBooks won’t exactly match the elements of the print book, and you need to take that all into consideration or team up with someone who can lend the right expertise.

Production

Much of the production process with eBook development has to do with conversion from whatever the original source is. A print design won’t simply convert to digital without work on analyzing the input. “Good” design output means a lack of typos, special characters captured correctly in Unicode, working links, clear images, and consistent formatting throughout the book.

Automated conversion software by itself may be too limiting because it can’t always accurately interpret elements on a page. This is especially true when the content has any level of complexity, such as multi-column layouts or tables.

Using a conversion process that includes a combination of automation and human intervention, as well as multiple quality checkpoints throughout, will ensure the quality of an eBook.

Promotion

Important, but inexpensive, approaches to marketing eBooks are making sure they are findable on the Internet, getting local media and bloggers to pay attention, and using various forms of social media. It’s difficult to identify overspending or underspending on promoting and marketing your eBook, so proceed cautiously, spend incrementally and try to benchmark any possible results. While doing it yourself saves money, it is a learning experience, requiring a big investment of time and money, so take small steps.

• Metadata – The search engine is now the primary intermediary between your book and its reader and is highly dependent on metadata – the data about the book. If your metadata properly reflects keywords that are being searched, your book has a better chance of being found on the search engines (which link to your bookstore listing). If your book is not sufficiently optimized for search engines, you run the risk of the book not coming up as readers search on the topics on which you’re an expert.

It’s also important to remember that there are many sources of book metadata. Book distributors’ and online bookstores’ staffs manually change the data. Any of these sources could be making changes to your book listing, so tracking down the source of incorrect or incomplete data can sometimes be difficult. Your best approach is to make sure your data is correct at Books in Print, and track the different places where your book is listed and correct data there as well

  • Local Media – Don’t underestimate the power of your local media market. Starting with your hometown and expanding to surrounding regional outlets will help you start building your media visibility. Call your local library for placement ideas, and reach out to the local newspapers to build interest. Also pitch to local television and radio programs.
  • Social Media – Do not forget social media! Facebook and Twitter are essential in getting the word out about crucial events like book signings. Additionally, such sites as Tumblr and Pinterest provide unprecedented access to the types of audiences you want to reach with your material, but require a fair amount of outreach on your part. Think of media placements as resume builders for your book and message. By noting your achievements, you’ll have more appeal and credibility when pitching to national outlets.

Distribution

Writing and creating a book is half the battle. The rest is distribution. Unless you have thousands of people beating a path to your door, you’ll need to get your book placed in bookstores so customers can buy it. Your publishing platform may handle distribution for you.

  • Online bookstores – Digital shops offer a lower barrier to entry than physical bookstores because they don’t have the same space concerns. Online bookstores like to offer as wide an inventory as possible, but each vendor has different requirements for book listings.Amazon provides several options, depending on your circumstances. Amazon is probably the easiest online retailer to get a listing on, and, along with iTunes, allows your book to be downloaded to Apple devices.

Barnes & Noble requires you to become a Vendor of Record with its warehouse. If you are interested in selling print titles for eBooks only, you can go to the Nook Press site and upload your eBook files.

The American Booksellers Association (ABA) has a publisher partner program for those publishing five or more titles per year. This partnership gives you exposure to independent booksellers who are ABA members. Keep your vendors happy by reading their requirements carefully and follow their procedures. They have a lot of suppliers. For you as a publisher, the bookstore – the main portal to your reader – is actually your customer. And, of course, you want to give your customer good service.

  • Physical bookstores – Getting into physical bookstores is probably the biggest challenge for any small publisher. With retail options, including shelf space in existing bookstores closing rapidly, it helps to have a distributor. The two largest distributors in the U.S. are Ingram and Baker & Taylor. But even getting in the door of a distributor is difficult because your book is competing with millions of others and bookstores may not select it for in-store sale.

One useful approach is to go personal. Most bookstore chains have a community events coordinator; otherwise, the bookstore manager is the person with whom to cultivate a relationship. And even within a chain of bookstores, individual shops are given some encouragement to stock the books of local authors. Introduce yourself and present your book to the coordinator or manager. You can offer to provide a reading or another event. The important thing to focus on is what your book can do for the store. Will a reading help attract customers? Does your book relate in any way to other books that people might purchase when they come in? What value are you bringing the store?

Mark Gross, founder, president and CEO of Data Conversion Laboratory, is a recognized authority on XML implementation and document conversion. Mark also serves as Project Executive at DCL, with overall responsibility for resource management and planning.

Feel free to visit Dyman Associates Publishing Book Review Corner where you can do your tasting (and even do your shopping) of books.

Ebooks at Dyman Associates Publishing Inc A Plea: Let Some Ebook Data Flow

This content was provided by Aptara.

Historically, when all others are concentrating on lowering costs, quality wins.

Publishers with a laser focus on improving the reader experience win over those focused on saving pennies per page. There is an appetite for quality enhanced ebooks at a premium (e.g. audio books, companions).

But it’s not necessarily about simply improving the multimedia experience. The best way to improve revenues, stickiness, and loyalty has always been to ask the customer. Customer data is the best indicator of what does and doesn’t work.

Imagine being able to factor in the subtleties of your readers’ experience. What parts of the book did they like and at what parts did they struggle to keep reading? Which sample of the book led to more sales?  Did they finish the book? If so, how long did it take and what were the sticking points? Who is my audience?

The problem with surveying customers is that the sample size of data is typically too small to warrant rewrites. But ebooks afford us the opportunity to capture this data automatically. In fact, the EPUB3 format allows for embedded JavaScript, so we can leverage some of the same type of detailed analytics we get from web pages (that have been optimized and improved for years) – for ebooks.

Yes, there are privacy concerns. Yes, there are data-ownership questions. Yes, there are platform wars. These are strong forces that have brought down laudable efforts to bring this data to authors, such as Hiptype (a short-lived startup that cracked the problem but was strategically blocked by larger forces).

Platforms are not to be blamed, nor are privacy activists. Their assertions and efforts on behalf of the data and readers are valid. But there is a common understanding that our written word could be improved by what is effectively the best possible peer review system available – a mass contingency of actual consumers. And that little “e” in ebooks allows us to dynamically make changes.

So what’s the answer?

There is common ground between data-driven publishing geeks (such as myself), privacy activists, authors, and platform owners. For example, we can all agree that if most students are incorrectly answering the questions at the end of a lesson, changes likely need to be made. Customer data does not have to include personal information, nor does it have any particular value by itself. However, an author/editor would find it invaluable. The ebook could be improved, the lesson would be more valuable, and scores of students would understand trigonometry better than I.

If we can all agree on sharing some of the most basic data elements (perhaps just with the Publisher and Author for the express use of improving quality and conversion), all parties win. Readers will have a better experience, authors will have created a better product, and publishers will increase sales. Best of all, platforms that make such data available would attract more authors and publishers.

The data-driven publishing movement is a strong current that we can control by defining what data is shared, with whom and for what purpose. Building a dam to stop all data is a detriment to readers, students, publishers, authors, and platform owners.

It’s time to open the flood gates and let some data flow. See other book reviews at Dyman Associates Publishing Inc.

 

Ebooks at Dyman Associates Publishing Inc Brought to Book: Linda Spalding on her literary life

‘I had to remould my brain to write “The Follow”. It involved three trips to Borneo and years of reading and studying and thinking hard about human beings and our place in the natural world’

Brought to Book Linda Spalding on her literary life

Linda Spalding: “Since no Irish author could be overrated, they must all be underrated. Ireland is the origin of authorial species.” Photograph: Jeff Nolte

This article is a repost from irishtimes.com

Linda Spalding won the 2012 Canadian governor-general’s award for The Purchase (Sandstone Press, £8.99), and was longlisted for the IMPAC award. In this provocative and starkly beautiful historical novel, a Quaker family moves from Pennsylvania to the Virginia frontier, where slaves are the only available workers and where the family’s values and beliefs are sorely tested. Spalding was born in Kansas and now lives in Toronto. She is married to fellow novelist Michael Ondaatje.

What was the first book to make an impression on you?

There were two in my early childhood. The first was about a white rabbit and a black rabbit who were not allowed to be friends. This was written in the 1940s and must have been radical at the time since the rabbits prevailed. The second was called The Bear That Wasn’t – and it is such a classic that I’ve persuaded the New York Review of Books to republish it.

What was your favourite book as a child?

No contest. I read and reread A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett a thousand times. This was the edition with the wonderful coloured glossy pictures and it surely provided all the direction I needed for later life

And what is your favourite book or books now?

That would be a contest! I’m reading Willa Cather at the moment and finding new depth in her view of the world, but my reading is varied and constant and my favourite all-round author is John Ehle, who is the most under-rated of American authors.

What is your favourite quotation?

“Why is there something rather than nothing?” Liebnitz

Who is your favourite fictional character?

At the moment, I’d vote for my very own Daniel.

Who is the most under-rated Irish author?

Since no Irish author could be overrated, they must all be underrated. Ireland is the origin of authorial species.

Which do you prefer – ebooks or the traditional print version?

But of course I prefer books. They smell good (usually) and I like the touch of paper to finger. Some are too heavy, unwieldy, but at least I know where I am and what progress is still to be made and I can reread sentences as I like, look for lost names and check the author’s photograph now and then for a sense of friendliness.

What is the most beautiful book you own?

A beautiful question! I have a very, very old book of Hunting and Hawking , but the most beautiful and most precious book I have is a letter press limited edition of Michael’s [Ondaatje’s] Tin Roof , published by Greenboathouse Press. Thick rust-coloured fold-over covers, black end papers and pages that feel like they’ve grown in a wild forest of white leaves. This book is very personal to me but is an astounding object to read and hold dear.

Where and how do you write?

Just about anywhere but I’m happiest in my upstairs study at home in Toronto. That’s where all my books and toys and photos are.

What book changed the way you think about fiction?

Move Over Midnight, by Jean Rhys

What is the most research you have done for a book?

I had to remould my brain to write The Follow. It involved three trips to Borneo and years of reading and studying and thinking hard about human beings and our place in the natural world.

What book influenced you the most?

Long ago I read all of Oscar Lewis, who translated first-person accounts of people of all types and classes in Mexico. His integrity, his standing aside to let them speak, changed my way of looking at the world.

What book would you give to a friend’s child on their 18th birthday?

Oh but that depends on the child! At that age I loved Hermann Hesse, but for a special child I might choose The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rilke. It formed a bond between me and my step-son when he was that age. But … hard to know what this generation would care to read ….

What book do you wish you had read when you were young?

The Adventures of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read. Read well. Write. Rewrite.

What weight do you give reviews?

I like to know how my own books are perceived. I admit to using reviews at times to choose what I might read next.

Where do you see the publishing industry going?

The industry is struggling. Perhaps there are too many books! I sometimes wonder about that when I enter the few remaining bookstores and see them piled high with what appears to be crap. But marketing a good book is a nightmare. Everything these days comes down to marketing and distribution and how is anyone to know which books are worth reading? The publishers have to find real authors, edit them, produce the books and then find some way in this crazy marketplace to tell people about them. It’s a lot to expect!

What writing trends have struck you lately?

God, I’m not sure what a writing trend is….

What lessons have you learned about life from reading?

Well, we have our heroes as we go along. Hesse, Montaigne, Emerson – when I was young. Everything I read teaches me something. That’s why I do it.

What has being a writer taught you?

Which writers, living or dead, would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I once met Doris Lessing and was so excited I grabbed a drink out of another guest’s hand and gave it to her. I’ll ask Doris and Emily Dickinson and Emily Bronte. I think they’d like each other. Lady Murasaki would be the guest of honour and we’d have a fine translator at her side who would also pour her tea.

What is the funniest scene you’ve read?

Maybe Michael reading aloud from Moss Hart’s Act One

What is your favourite word?

Connubial

If you were to write a historical novel, which event or figure would be your subject?

I think I did sort of write a historical novel, although I didn’t call it that at the time. It’s about my Quaker abolitionist ancestor, who bought a slave in 1798. It’s called The Purchase.

In this corner Ebooks at Dyman Associates Publishing Inc, is where you can do your tasting (and even do your shopping) of books. Dig in!