Sunday, May 18, 2014

How to Buy Comics with Comixology for iOS


Comixology was acquired recently by Amazon and the company decided to suspend in-app purchases. This now prevents any comic book fiend from devouring tales featuring Galactus or what hairbrained scheme Norman Osborn is cooking up next. Instead of using the app, you need to fire up Safari to buy comics directly from the website. Today’s video instructs you how to purchase, use your $5 free credit and then sync the new content into the dedicated app.

There are two things you need to start purchasing comics with Safari, a Comixology account and either a Paypal account or a credit card. Simply open up from the web-browser and login to yoru account. Next, the free credit you have is displayed on the top right-hand corner. Next, find a comic you want to buy and make the purchase. If you have any credit, its automatically added to the purchase. In the tutorial video, I basically got one for free!

Once you make the purchase simply hit the Home button and re-open the main Comixology app for iOS. If the app is already open you need to click “in the cloud” and then drag your finger down on the left hand side, where all of your past purchases are displayed. This syncs any new content you purchased and you can begin reading as the issues are downloading.

How to Buy Comics with Comixology for iOS is a post from: Good e-Reader

Indie Writers Starting to get Segregated from Professional Authors


There is a stark contrast between professional authors and writers who elect to self-publish. When an author derives their living solely from the process of selling their books, they can be called an author. Normally these types of people get signed to publishing contracts, everyone else is a mere writer. The segregation of indie writers from professional authors is starting to transcend personal perspective and is now being put into practice.

The RT Booklovers Convention recently drew 700 authors to the Grand and Mardi Gras ballrooms at the Marriott Hotel in New Orleans. The largest room was devoted to traditionally published authors and crammed into a room half the size were indie authors.

Why were self-published writers in a smaller room than the real authors? The main issue was inventory. The trade authors brought stacks of books to be sold and signed. The majority of the indie writers had no physical books on them at all and were relegated to selling them via Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble or Kobo.

Many indie writers complained to the organizers that they felt marginalized and for an hour an announcement was repeatedly imported attendees to go check the Indie room across the hall from the grand ballroom. One author who attended the event said “However, given that that exhortation was necessary, I can only imagine how incredibly frustrating it was for those authors to be set apart in that way. It wasn’t just indie authors, either, but many who had e-first publications through small or large traditional publishers.”

gs/2014/05/18/rts-giant-bookfair/">Courtney Milan attended the conference as an author and said “Rumor has it that  the authors with returnable books were "real authors" and that the authors who were selling their books on a consignment basis were "aspiring authors." As far as I can tell, this appears to have been one misinformed volunteer, rather than the official RT Convention description. It was not something that I saw or heard, and I do think it was widespread.”

Smashwords really promoted the fact they had close to a hundred authors attending the event. These are desperate souls looking for validation for books that likely no one will ever read. These people raised the most rukkus citing the fact the indies had tables that were 3 feet in size, while the real authors had six.

The RT Booklovers convention did a great job separating real authors with real books from indie writers looking to sell their books on consignment. The phrase “Aspiring author” was used all over the RT Convention website to refer to unpublished writers. It is refreshing to have all of the rabble in one quantified area, rather than have everyone lumped together. Now if only digital bookstores like Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo would develop indie only sections.

Indie Writers Starting to get Segregated from Professional Authors is a post from: Good e-Reader

eBook Review: Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Verdict: 3 Stars

What does it take to earn a solid, middle-of-the-road three stars in a book? Basically, it involves a book that is single-minded in its goal while being so badly researched and written that you come away feeling mildly dumber for having read it.

Mrs. Poe is yet another attempt by a historical novelist to paint a picture of what if. And those novels, when done well, are really, really fun. But the difference between supposing and downright muckraking is not usually a fine line to cross. It’s one thing to craft a story on an often-misheld belief that Edgar Allan Poe and Frances Sargent Osgood–a prolific poet and contemporary of his–may have had a fling. But to take it upon herself to build a premise that Osgood went for nearly years at a time without seeing her philandering husband, leaving her to all but beg in the streets for a roof and food, is stretching things.

More importantly, let’s suspend belief for a moment and pretend there was actually any truth to not only the absent, neglectful husband idea, but also the Poe-Osgood affair, a theory that Poe scholars have destroyed time and time again. Instead of crafting a story of undeniable, forbidden love, Frances is basically painted as a woman who thinks to herself, “Why not? My husband’s sleeping with every heiress in the country, I can cheat if I want to.” The depiction of any love–heck, any level of fondness even–between Poe and Osgood is so void that I can’t tell if the author subscribes to the scholars’ belief that it never happened, or if she just doesn’t know how to write a good love story.

Other details were borderline annoying, like the reference to words and phrases that simply were not in use in Poe’s day. There were details that were fun for a while, like the names of their contemporaries and the story lines associated with them, but with the sheer number of word errors in the book, it’s hard to tell if these story lines were researched at all or merely pulled out of the author’s imagination.

Finally, the deranged villain of the book is purportedly Poe’s simple-minded, child-like, tuberculosis-stricken wife, only for us to find out at the end (spoiler alert) that it’s someone equally implausible and insulting.

So how does a book with this many problems earn such a high rating? The time line of the book demonstrated that Osgood, who became one of the leading American women writers of her day, at one point struggled with writer’s block and rejection letters. She had to force herself to sit down and put quill to paper to pay the bills, just like writers of today. Moreover, the book was mindless fun. If it had been set in a parallel universe where reality and recorded history didn’t matter, it would have been okay. Think of it as a vapid beach read for intellectuals.

eBook Review: Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen is a post from: Good e-Reader

Authors Guild, Authors Alliance Battle Over Speaking for Writers

A new dramatic battle is brewing in the publishing industry, this time over competing organizations that both claim to advocate and speak for authors but who have vastly different goals and ideals. The long-standing Authors Guild, often scoffed as a proud member of the gatekeepers club and a rather irrelevant entity that has yet to embrace the current publishing climate, released an open letter from one of its board members that holds nothing back in its disdain for the newly formed Authors Alliance. AG board member T.J. Stiles vehemently trashed the new organization and urged authors to stay far away from this group of apparently mindless renegades.

The organization he was referring to by name actually just launched this month, but has already made waves for its stance on copyright and open access, a slippery slope that Stiles was attacking. Of course, AG’s feelings about a group that supports access to information by the masses should come as no surprise given its lawsuits against both Google and the Hathi Trust for scanning and digitizing rare works that have been locked away in academic libraries all this time.

For her part, Authors Alliance co-founder Pamela Samuelson gave an interview to Publisher’s Weekly that very clearly illustrates how the organization isn’t even on the same radar as the Authors Guild, instead planning to advocate for authors who are interested in making their works available on a widespread, no cost basis. But the reaction from AG and its members who commented on the open letter paint the Alliance as a group of thugs out to make all authors’ works subject to rip off. Samuelson pointed out that the very people the Alliance aims to enlist would have sided with Google and Hathi in those lawsuits, meaning that their ideals do not line up with the AG’s anyway.

While the mud flinging and name calling from the AG and the seemingly patient doctrine from the AA come out, both groups stand to remain disconnected from the lives and careers of most of the people that the groups aim to advocate for–average, every day authors, both traditionally published and self-publishing. There are, however, two groups who are potentially going to experience some fallout from the new and old organizations. Already there has been some confusion over the name with the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Author Alliance. The first, ALLi, is a dedicated organization that educates and speaks for the needs of indie authors, and the second is a website that lets authors pay a membership fee to promote their books. In both cases, the unfortunate similarity in names can have search and contact implications.

Authors Guild, Authors Alliance Battle Over Speaking for Writers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Why Used eBooks Still Have Not Happened


The Holy Grail of digital publishing is the end user being able to sell the eBooks they purchased from online retailers. Amazon and Apple actually have filed for patents in 2013 to make this happen, but have yet to introduce anything coherent. Why have used eBook stores failed to materialize and what are the extenuating factors hampering a huge industry?

The first sale doctrine allows owners of copies of copyrighted works, such as used books, CDs, and DVDs to resell their copies without restriction. Sadly this not really really apply to audiobooks and eBooks.

American company ReDigi wanted to create a used eBook and audiobook market, but started with music files first. They lost a case in 2013 due to the first sale doctrine being inapplicable. The district court found that the reproduction right was necessarily implicated when a digital music file was embodied in a new material object following its transfer over the internet onto a new hard drive. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that its service "migrates" a file from a user's computer to its Cloud Locker, so that the same file is transferred to its server and no copying occurs. Rather, the court ruled that even accepting defendant’s description of the process, “the fact that a file has moved from one material object – the user's computer – to another – the ReDigi server – means that a reproduction has occurred. Similarly, when a ReDigi user downloads a new purchase from the ReDigi website to her computer, yet another reproduction is created. This is much akin to mixtapes being created and sold.

A small company wanting to sell used eBooks does not really have a chance of making it financially viable. Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google, Sony, Samsung and a myriad of others do not actually sell you the book. They merely license it to the end-user, which does not have a definitive state of ownership by the buyer. This makes it practically impossible to sell it.

Some companies do enable their customers to resell their eBooks, mainly based on the honor system. O’Reilly allows customers to resell their books once you are done with it, provided that you do not retain any copies of the book after you sell it. The problem with these titles is that often because of their technology focused nature, a book can quickly go obsolete in six months. Science Fiction publisher TOR scrapped DRM and made it possible to resell the books.

One big obstacle in selling your used eBooks are the increasingly irate user that strips the DRM out of a purchased book. Whether you want to backup your Comixology collection, kill the encryption in your Kindle book or purchased PDF file, it is all ridiculously easy. If a website started to sell used books, likely a huge majority of users would do it without DRM and peddle the same copy over and over again.

Amazon and Apple both have patents to sell used eBooks. It is thought that they intend on a complex state of license transfer from one user to another. Likely the option to be included in the resale scheme would be an opt in feature. This would be similar to the options presented to publishers to be included in the Kindle Lending Library or KDP Select. I envision publishers trying it with their backlist titles first and not risk it with their frontlist ones. This is very much akin to the way they all handled getting involved with libraries loaning out eBooks and eBook subscription websites such as Scribd or Oyster.

It is clear that the big problems facing a used eBook market is the licensing agreements from the mainstream digital booksellers and how to handle the question of DRM. The only way used eBooks could happen is if it started with the indie publishers first, where authors directly self-publish. Bringing them aboard would change the way licensing agreements work and likely result in a huge new industry.

Why Used eBooks Still Have Not Happened is a post from: Good e-Reader