epub

Go Read This | Smashwords: Smashwords Supports EPUB Uploads With Smashwords Direct

One of the things I think Smashwords has gotten right is their start with Word focus of conversions. It makes SO much more sense than building ebooks from crazily complex design platforms. With the launch of Smashwords Direct, the company has bowed to pressure, but Mark offers a rather nice defence of the “Meatgrinder” tool that Smashword’s has used to date (and will continue to use:

Meatgrinder has been vilified and demonized over the years, despite its proven ability to produce high-quality ebooks.  Although Meatgrinder’s not perfect, some of the criticism has been unfair.  Many authors have needlessly avoided Smashwords out of misplaced fear. 

One author volunteered that they’d heard such horror stories of Meatgrinder from their publisher that they kept their books off of Smashwords for that reason.  That’s really unfortunate, both for the author and Smashwords, because the vast majority of Smashwords authors have received professional-quality results with Meatgrinder.  Our Meatgrinder-generated Premium Catalog books are pleasing millions of readers each month with rarely a complaint.  Our retailers have told us in the past that our books have dramatically lower failure rates (measured in the fraction of a percent) compared to others.  This tells me many authors who have avoided Smashwords out of misplaced fear have unnecessarily missed out on up to five years of sales and platform-building opportunity.  I suppose if there’s a silver lining to the launch of Smashwords Direct, it’s that maybe we can help writers do the right thing (achieve full Smashwords distribution) for the wrong reason (availability of Smashwords Direct).

via Smashwords: Smashwords Supports EPUB Uploads With Smashwords Direct.

A Kindle In Libraries Post

So, no doubt you’ve read this. You should if you haven’t but here’s the gist of it:

Amazon today announced Kindle Library Lending, a new feature launching later this year that will allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the United States. Kindle Library Lending will be available for all generations of Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps.

So much about this adds up to cool news for readers, even if in the medium to long-term it suggests that Amazon is getting a pretty monopolistic hold on the ebook market (something that might have been thought to be waning).

Mike Cane has an excellent post looking at the implications of it all here. He’s got some dynamite in there too.

4) Self-published writers in their right mind won’t give a damn about whether their book is available at the Sony Reader Store, Kobo Bookstore, or Barnes & Noble bookstore. They’re all just dead. While Kobo still has an international edge, as Amazon rolls out into other countries, they’ll just crush them.

5) No one cares what the hell the eBook format is. People just want to read. Only geeks care about whether the file format is Kindle or “universal” ePub (which isn’t universal since Barnes & Noble broke it!). ePub has now become a niche eBook format. The IDPF can take as long as they want with the ePub 3.0 spec. No one cares anymore. Except maybe Apple — who can now hijack the spec until they discard it.

Don’t read just self published authors there by the way. Think small independent publishers too when you see that.

A wise man or woman wouldn’t bet on this being the winning shot in the war for Libraries (though I have my doubts about their ability to survive the transition to digital distribution) but it sure gives Amazon a healthy advantage.

Mike’s a little keener then I am on the death of print, a technology I still have some affection for and suspect has greater reserves of use then is generally expected these days, though in a much less popular form than right now (except maybe for your mass, mass-market cheap titles!), but who knows, he could be right.

I’ll say this though, it is a stab in the heart of bookstores. Way to bring ebooks to the book loving crowds in an easy seductive fashion!

Beautiful April day!
Eoin

GO READ THIS | Gifting Comes To Kindle

Amazon has just announced that you can now give Kindle ebooks as gifts to anyone with an email address. This is kind of amazing and represents a huge shift in the ebook ecosystem. Given that kindle ebooks can be read on nearly any platform that allows app downloads (PC, MAC, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Blackberry, etc.) you’ll never have to worry about what platform someone is one, a small download will resolve the issue:

Kindle is the most gifted item in the history of Amazon.com and millions of people around the world are reading Kindle Books on Kindle devices and free Kindle apps. Beginning today, just in time for the holiday season, customers can give Kindle Books as gifts to anyone with an e-mail address–no Kindle required. Kindle Books can be read on Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps for iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry and Android-based devices. For more information or to give a Kindle Book as a gift, go to http://www.amazon.com/givekindlebooks.

“We are thrilled to make it easier than ever for our customers to give their favorite Kindle book to a friend or family member as a gift,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “We’re making this functionality available in time for the holidays to offer an easy, stress free holiday shopping option for anyone – not just Kindle owners.”

To give a Kindle Book as a gift, customers simply choose a book in the Kindle Store, select “Give as a Gift” and send their gift to anyone with an email address. Notifications of Kindle Books gifts are delivered instantly via e-mail and the recipient redeems the gift in the Kindle Store to read on any Kindle or free Kindle app.

via Amazon Media Room: News Release.

Go Read This | More on the Death of Publishers | Mssv

I’m not sure I agree that publishers have done nothing as this suggests, but even so, it is worth reading:

But why would the average person not pirate eBooks? Like Cory Doctorow says, it’s not going to become any harder to type in ‘Toy Story 3 bittorrent’ in the future – and ‘Twilight ePub’ is even easier to type, and much faster to download to boot.

After Christmas, tens of millions of people will have the motive, the means, and the opportunity to perform book piracy on a massive scale. It won’t happen immediately, but it will happen. It’ll begin with people downloading electronic copies of books they already own, just for convenience’s sake (and hey, the New York Times says it’s ethical!). This will of course handily introduce them to the world of ebook torrents.

via More on the Death of Publishers | Mssv.