The cost of digital books

Why do digital books cost so much, sometimes more than a hardcopy?

1) They don't. the cost of production of a hardcopy book - even if you only order one single on-demand copy, is $1 - 3 for paperback, maybe $5 - 10 for hardcopy or colour. For production runs if thousands it is even less.
Digital books don't have a zero cost of production. We're IT people, we know better than that. The infrastructure and staff for a secure ecommerce site costs a fortune, I'd say a lot MORE than a printing press and a warehouse.
So I think we're lucky that ebooks cost as little as they do :)

Lulu loses Amazon

Dear Lulu User,

We have been alerted to a change in the Amazon Marketplace's requirements that directly impact one or more of your titles' ability to be sold through this channel.

Due to this change, Lulu will no longer be supporting the MarketREACH distribution offering. Effective January 10th 2012, all titles listed under "Lulu Press" in the Amazon Marketplace will be removed. We are hard at work with our partners at Amazon to minimize the impact of this change. No immediate action is required. Only listings in the Amazon Marketplace channel will be impacted.

Converting Word docs to Kindle

What a pain finding out how to get your book onto Kindle. Nearly as painful as doing the actual reformatting. Kindle is like reading your book through a toilet-paper tube with a black-and-white filter in it. here's how I did it:

You could convert files to .epub format using Stanza http://www.lexcycle.com/desktop, except that:

  • Word docs retain all your fancy index entries, cross references etc as hideous looking text.
  • PDFs retain all the page numbers and other page headings embedded in the text - go figure.
  • RTFs just never finish loading.....

great way to promote a book

courtesy of Seth Godin: free books to the first n readers of the blog who donate to a designated charity... and who live in the USA. i think you could do international readers too if you take the shipping out of the donation, i.e. sell at cost and donate whatever is left over

Entrepreneurship is about hanging in there... and failure

Harmonix' founders revolutionized the gaming industry with Guitar Hero and Rock Band -- but first, they nearly went broke. Repeatedly.
How 'horrendous failure' led to Rock Band

providing a tool or an outcome?

Successful webpreneurs sell an outcome not a tool to get there. WHy is it that peopel will pauy me a five figure sum for three weeks work onsite advising them but I can pour a year into something like CoPr and nobody wants to know, or three years of ideas into The IT Skeptic and hardly anyone buys a twenty buck compilation? Because on the websites I'm providing a tool to help them but I'm not giving them the result on a plate.

Blogging is theatre

Blogging is a weird form of journalism and journalism is an odd from of theatre.

All three are one small part art, a large measure of craft and a big focus on bums on seats or eyes on pages.

My host is WestHost

After three years of this blog there's someone I should thank: the folk at WestHost who have kept it running almost without a hitch all that time. I've run this blog on virtual servers and real ones, all hosted in Utah by the nice WestHost folk. The service has been impeccable, from real live humans who are invariably polite, patient, responsive and helpful. There are slightly cheaper deals out there but not much and with a lot more unhappy customers on the forums: I think WestHost is a great deal. We've had a couple of glitches over the the years, only one of which was their fault as we moved from one server to another and the domain didn't come along. They jumped to fix them both times. The rest of the time it has chugged quietly away, the technology upgrading from time to time, backups backing up and servers serving. I'm a very happy customer.

Learning notes from publishing on CreateSpace and Lulu

This page is a work in progress. Last updated 7th May 2009. These are not detailed instructions just tips -currently in not much order. All these things were learned the painfully hard way:

The winning formula on the internet

When I started the “IT Skeptic” I little realized I had blundered into an empty niche. The Web craves novelty, and Google rewards the incumbent. First up best dressed on the internet. I’ve built a dozen other sites but none of them do well because none of them are original. I’m passionate about most of them, I have some knowledge, and I even have one or two original ideas. But I wasn’t there first.

magnolia meltdown

How to lose four years of your life in a few days - a lesson to IT startups. ma.gnolia.com social bookmarking site disappears in a puff of data due to amateur infrastructure. There are some serious questions to ask about this whole amateur cowboy web startup cloud open thing. I've questioned the quality or craftsmanship or durability of what is being built. I've questioned the long-term preservation of it. Now we can also question the expertise of those building it. Think about where your data is and who you are entrusting it to.

Createspace vs Lulu comparison

[Updated 7th May 2009]
I use both.

Createspace to get books quickly onto amazon.com and to be able to offer discounts and to order cheap copies for me and for many-page books that simply aren’t economic on Lulu.

Lulu for customers to order direct from my Lulu store, and to get books – sometimes when it works – onto amazon.co.uk and amazon.de and barnes&noble and Ingram.

It’s a pain maintaining copies in both places – the ISBN issues make my head spin – but both publishers have their pros and cons

CreateSpace wins on margins but Lulu has much better distribution. Lulu has quality issues and more expensive (?) shipping. Support for both of them sucks.

An IP Inventor not a Webpreneur

When I started out on my independent working life three years ago, the best definition I could find for myself was an internet entrepreneur. The trendy term is webpreneur.

How's business? benchmark your blog income against Technorati's numbers

technorati had some real interesting survey results recently re blogger income. how do you compare?

Scrabbling round in the dust

As I wrote in Internet, I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life, for every winner there are many losers on the internet. I got all excited because a high-quality link from a good blog to one of my sites doubled my daily traffic and halved the bounce rate. Then I remembered it had doubled to 47 visitors. I check Adsense daily, willing my monthly income to break the $300 barrier but it doesn't. Webpreneur? Who am I kidding? I'm just scrabbling round in the dust for pennies like some ragged beggar kid.

Who is scamming AdWords?

I've grown uncomfortable with Adwords of late. i don't know if somebody is scamming the system but I wonder. i advertised my Real ITSM site on AdWords, and I got quite low traffic, 20 or 30 clicks a day, but nearly all of it came from sites such as these, which are meaningless made-for-adsense crap. Check them out
www-dot-elnegocioredondo-dot-com, www-dot-itils-dot-info, www-dot-itilku-dot-com www-dot-daunmuda-dot-cn

Foreign companies dealing with USA withholding tax on royalties

Web publishing my books has brought me up against the US IRS. Both Lulu and CreateSpace need a US tax number before you get paid your royalties, and a W8-BEN which is the form to declare that you are not a US entity for tax purposes. (Interestingly Google need nothing of the sort for Adsense advertising revenues).

Trap for old players - never let a domain expire

in the early days i changed my domain itilskeptic.org to itskeptic.org. Dumb thing to do but the blog was still low profile and i got through it. i kept itilskeptic.org live with an auto-forward to the new domain. After a couple of years i saw i was getting very few incoming traffic with itilskeptic.org as the referrer, so when it came up for renewal i let it expire.

bad move.

Google page rank dropped from 5 to 4.

Why? Even though few people were coming that way i still had some nice respectable sites pointing to itilskeptic.org and i lost all the "linky love".

Another way the ethically-bereft make money on the internet

This is brilliant: dub dub dub dot technologyupdatenews dotcom (I don't want to give him a link). Evil but brilliant.