Ebooks, Indie book publishing, iPad Apps, self publishing

Ebooks, iPads, Oh My!

There has been so much written about how digital content is changing publishing.  The range of opinions and emotions is diverse.  Fear and excitement seem to be the two most often expressed. I find the debate interesting and fruitful. At Author Solutions we have an Author Council, which includes authors who have used indie publishing to get their books into the market. Recently, they have had a discussion about the impact of Ebooks and its impact on creativity and potential sales. What follows is an excerpt from Chris Marks. Chris publishes as CS Marks and has a series of books available in digital and print formats. I think here perspective is insightful and helpful.

Comments from CS Marks on Ebooks

The development of mass printing might have been viewed as a loss of creativity, but that loss must be balanced against the fact that mass printing made information available to the masses. Had it not occurred, most of the planet would still be illiterate. When the monks were ‘liberated’ from the task of copying the same manuscript over and over, they had more time to do the artistic things.

I have struggled with the age of digital ‘artwork’, wherein a so-called artist takes a photographic image, manipulates it using a computer, and calls it ‘art’. I sit in my ‘cell’ with paintbrushes and mason board and acrylic paints and work meticulously for hours. There is no ‘undo’ button. There are no ‘special effects’ I can perform in microseconds. It takes me hours and hours and hours to do a piece of cover art!

But I have to bow to the will of authors who pay less than $100 for a cover that took ten minutes to generate. Are those digital manipulators ‘artists’? Not to me, they’re not. They’re artisans, maybe…perhaps craftsmen or designers. ‘Art’ is still done by hand in my world. Yet I have no objection to seeing that art reproduced for many people to enjoy. I welcome it, in fact.

E-books open the world of publishing up to anyone with access to the internet. Anyone in the world with a pc, smartphone, or whatever can purchase Elfhunter for a very low price and enjoy it. And…they ARE. E-book sales have exceeded my wildest expectations. Yet I am still selling print books at the same rate as before. I still do book-signings and I still sell out at conventions. Many readers have told me that they tried EH on the Kindle, found that they enjoyed the trilogy, and have since purchased hard copies for their friends and for themselves. I send them signed, personalized bookplates and–voila! A signed book. Meanwhile, those who don’t care for my work have not invested much. E-books break the barrier of high cover prices for POD authors. Without them, my readership would be less than half of what it is today.

When trying a new author, I don’t purchase a hard copy–I get an e-book. I can sample the first 10%, and I can return it within 7 days. There are no production costs, no shipping costs, no warehousing or storage costs, and if I ultimately decide I do not like the book, I don’t have to worry about what to do with a hard copy. If I love the book, I’ll buy the hard copy to add to my collection.

The world is changing, and we must adapt. I was stubborn for a while, but I put my nose in the wind and realized which way it was blowing. Good stories should be enjoyed by and shared with as many readers as possible. Information should be available to all. If we can do that with a minimum of environmental impact, I say forge ahead…just try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  🙂

authors, Indie book publishing, iPad Apps

Gulliver’s Travels App from ASI App Developer Just Released

The holiday season is a popular time for movie releases and this year one of the films getting some buzz is an adaptation of the classic Jonathan Swift tale — Gulliver’s Travels.
ASI app developer, Inverted Pear, recently released its app adaptation — for the iPad and iPhone — and it is nothing short of astounding. Custom illustrations and unique sound effects and a music score make this app an exciting adventure for the entire family.
Again, this further advances the conversation about the evolution of books. No longer just printed words pages, new formats are allowing stories to leap off the pages and come to life. If you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch; check the Gulliver app out at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id398181775?mt=8.
Even more exciting is that ASI, through its app developer Inverted Pear, is making app production services available to authors. Offerings range from simple flipbook apps to major interactive productions like Gulliver. Interested in bringing your book to life, start by checking out www.invertedpear.com.
And stay tuned for more great adventures in publishing coming in 2011!

authors, iPad Apps

Dracula HD iPad App Now Available!

The long awaited Dracula HD app for the iPad, which was developed by Author Solutions developer Inverted Pear, is now available through the iTunes App Store — go here and get it now! It’s a great app for fans of vampires and Halloween and it  got me thinking again about “what is a book?”

A book certainly isn’t just print on paper between two covers. Books now come in all formats (eBooks, apps, vooks, audio etc.) and are more accessible to more readers than ever before. Almost monthly, there’s a new digital platform for consuming books. And as the number of delivery systems grow, the overall popularity of digital and electronic books increases. Recently, I read that Amazon reported that during the first half of 2010, it sold 180 Kindle eBooks for every 100 hardcover books. And now with the emergence of books as apps;  readers’ experiences are enhanced by animation and sound.

It’s a great time to be a reader; and probably the best time ever to be an author!!

iPad Apps, self publishing

New Dracula HD iPad App Coming Soon

Author Solutions will announce in the coming days that its multimedia book development company –Inverted Pear — is releasing an abridged version of Bram Stoker’s classic for the iPad. Just in time for Halloween, Dracula HD will be available through the App Store; and an iPhone version will follow shortly.

Check out this video trailer for a sneak peak of the app.

The artwork was conceived and created by the talented Author Solutions illustrations team. As well, the musical score is original too.

It’s another example of how publishing is evolving. I’m sure Bram Stoker, when he wrote Dracula in 1897, never envisioned readers watching the Count stalk his prey on shiny plastic tablet. The emergence of books as apps presents exciting possibilities for indie authors to see their characters come to life.

Stay tuned!