Monday, July 23, 2012

When is 'DRM free' not DRM free

When Book.ish launched a while back there was quite a bit of blog flutter about whether a book you 'bought' from Book.ish could actually be said to be 'owned' by you. Book.ish is a cloud reader service. Unlike Amazon or Kobo etc there is no file for you to download. What you 'buy' is access to the file which you can either read online or offline but, as bookish says:
Be aware that a downloaded book is stored in such a way that it can only be read using our software. You access the same URL, whether online or offline. This is a restriction imposed by the publishers, most of whom require us to apply DRM to their titles. We appreciate publisher concerns about uncontrolled private sharing of purchased ebooks.
Now, note that Book.ish acknowledges that this offline access still has limitations. The book can only be read 'inside' their own software.

Unfortunately, some vendors are touting Book.ish books as being 'DRM free'. 

Here's what I think of when I hear the words DRM free ebook: I get a file that I can convert into another format if I wish eg from mobi to epub, and I can duplicate and give to other people to read on their ereaders. That is not what these vendors mean when they say DRM free. They mean access to a Book.ish style book which, in my honest opinion, you never actually 'own', you only ever 'rent access to'. So, caveat emptor.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hey, author, Amazon KDP doesn’t love you THAT much

Can I just take a moment to register what a truly pathetic author payment system Amazon has set up for its Kindle Digital publishing Platform, particularly if you don’t live in America? Thank you.

It’s quite easy to put your title up on KDP. Amazon makes the publishing experience as easy as it makes the ebook purchasing, downloading and reading experience easy. That’s what they’re all about, right? Wrong.

Firstly they won’t pay you until your book reaches sales of USD$100. When it does, then within 60 DAYS, they will SEND YOU A CHEQUE. Of course, if you are living outside America, that cheque will be in US dollars which means you will pay foreign currency exchange fees at your bank. The bank will also take 9 WEEKS to finalise the transaction.

 Hey, Amazon. It’s the 21st Century. Funds are whipping round the planet using a thing called the internet, which I know you’re already pretty familiar with. Why not give it a try for payments to authors? By comparison, Smashwords will pay me by EFT to my Paypal account on a quarterly basis. And I don’t need to cross the $100 sales barrier even. Of course it suits Amazon to do it this way, because it means they can hang on to your money for longer.

Amazon publishing, buying and reading experience – excellent. Amazon author getting paid experience – not so good.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Many things

Despite the lack of bloggedness lately, many things have been happening, not least of which: minor knee surgery (fine now, though a little stiff) and a winter break in Jervis Bay (lovely place, but cold!). The lovely Abigail Nathan at Bothersome Words has put in a sterling effort on the Pyrotechnicon proof and any errors left in the manuscript are now entirely Adam’s fault. Next up I’m going to be laying out text for the print version and finalising our gorgeous cover, and then getting a wriggle on with the ebook version via Pressbooks. The launch is at Conflux 8 at the end of September, which sounds a long way off, but actually isn’t (looks worriedly towards Conflux countdown timer on right sidebar). Meanwhile I’ve been interviewed twice, first for the Small Press Underground Network Collective ‘splog’ here, and an upcoming interview for Jane Virgo as part of Conflux 8 preparations.

Speaking of which... Things are shaping up for what will be a very enjoyable Conflux weekend. I’ve had a sneak peak at the proposed panel/ talk schedule and there is a lot of interesting and engaging stuff in there, with a definite slant towards the apocalypse (given Conflux 8’s ‘on the beach’ subtitle is a reference to Nevil Shute’s gritty and realistic end of the world novel). With this in mind, my editor GOH speech will be titled ‘The Editing Apocalypse’, a realistic but (hopefully) not too grim look at current upheavals in the editing and publishing world with some thoughts about what writers and editors need to do to ensure quality works continue to be published into the future. Lots of ideas percolating – I just need to write the thing now. I’ve also just concluded a very satisfying manuscript mentorship with an up and coming children’s author through NSW Writers Centre, with a promise of more collaborative work to come. So I have been busy. Honest!