Scribd released an infographic yesterday showing they now have 300,000 titles in their subscription service. That’s second only to Kindle’s Online Lending Library (part of Amazon Prime). For $8.95 a month, you have full access to books from HarperCollins, Kensington, Red Wheel/Weiser, Rosetta Books, Sourcebooks, and Workman along with independent titles from Smashwords. And, you can read these books on your iOS or Android devices as well as in your browser.
Scribd’s subscription service works much differently than the Kindle service in that there’s no check in/out. You can be reading as many books as you want as long as you want. Right now I’ve got about a dozen cookbooks on my reading “shelf” along with several mysteries (all my favorite British mystery authors are here!), a couple of craft books and several genealogy books.
The apps don’t have any annotation features – something I do miss. I would like to be able to bookmark an interesting recipe in a cookbook or view highlights and notes from a reference book. Hopefully, these will come soon. In the meantime, I’m never at a loss for something interesting to read and once I’ve passed the halfway mark in any book, that author gets compensated at the same level as when that book is sold.
Now this is an awesome example of what ebooks are capable of achieving. I just updated my copy of David Sparks’ book Paperless [iBooks - $9.99, PDF - $10.00] . . . again! This is version 1.4 and it includes new information about apps which have received significant updates as well as new cloud storage services and other related topics. And, because it’s iBooks, it’s full of screencast demonstrations to make it even easier to understand. (Note: the PDF edition also has the videos . . . they just aren’t embedded in the book.)
Paperless offers Mac/iOS users a complete reference covering the hardware, software, services and workflows needed to get all our paper under control.
An affordable tech book that isn’t obsolete before I get it home! Is this heaven?
If you are publishing – or considering publishing – your family stories using Smashwords, here’s even more incentive for you. Smashwords and Scribd have just announced a distribution agreement which gives your books access to both Scribd’s bookstore and Scribd’s subscription service. And as an extra bonus, if you opt in to this agreement before January 1st, you’ll get a year’s subscription to Scribd free! Here’s the details:
I’m excited to announce a new global distribution agreement today with Scribd, an online reading community that boasts 10 million readers visiting their site each month. There are two parts to the agreement. The first part is for Smashwords to distribute books to their subscription ebook service. The second part is for Smashwords to sell books on their site. The terms of the agreement are great for our authors. 60% list for all sales for their bookstore, and 60% list for all qualifying full reads in their subscription service. The trigger points for “full read” credit are when a reader reads more than 20% of the book, not counting the first 10% of the book starting at page one which is considered the free sample. They also pay for partial reads, which is a cool bonus and unlike any other retailer. If a reader reads 5% beyond the 10% sample, but less than 20% beyond, you receive a “browse” credit. 10 browse credits equal one full sale. Also very cool: As if you didnt already have reason to distribute every book to them, Scribd is offering all participating Smashwords authors who distribute through Smashwords a one-year free subscription to their subscription service valued at over $100. Make sure your books are opted in by January 1 to be eligible, because this is a limited time offer. Theyve also got some cool merchandising plans, as well as plans to share enhanced analytics with authors. In my several months of conversations with them, Im impressed by their enthusism and commitment to support Smashwords authors. Test shipments have begun, though books will likely not begin appearing in their store or subscription service until sometime in January. The Scribd channel was activated in the Channel Manager this morning. If you see a notation that your book has shipped, its only a test shipment. For authors who want to opt out NOT RECOMMENDED!, you can opt out. More details at the Smashwords blog.
TechSmith – the developers of Snagit, Camtasia and a number of other apps – have taken to Scribd to make their user guides available to all. With a free Scribd account, you can read and download these and a number of other publications from a growing number of sources. And, Scribd has readers for both Android and iOS devices.
You can read this and thousands of other books on Scribd for $8.95 a month using their subscription service. Scribd has free apps for Android and iOS devices and you can read from your browser on any desktop or mobile device. And, there’s also a gift service just in time for the holidays.
Think of it as Netflix for books.
For $8.99 a month, you can read any and all of a growing number of books in Scribd’s subscription service. No, not every book and document in the Scribd library is available for subscription reading, but there sure are enough to keep me occupied for a long time. My favorite mystery authors – Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayer, Jacqueline Spear and Georgette Heyer – are all there.
You will need to install the Scribd app on your tablet/phone. It doesn’t have the features of the Kindle app, but it works just fine. With it you can add books to your library and download them to your device for reading offline. You can adjust the font size, access the table of contents and post what you’re reading to your favorite social network.
The subscription service helps authors too. Each borrowed book generates a commission for the author. Why is this interesting? Because it isn’t just publishing houses who can publish and sell their works on Scribd. More on that coming soon.
One of the most popular forms of traditional book marketing has been book-signing parties. That’s very nice when you have a physical book to sign and a marketing budget to pay for the traveling, but what about the self-publisher who’s publishing digitally on a shoestring budget? All it takes is a bit of imagination, a little time and effort, and an online hangout like the virtual cafe at Moultrie Creek Books. Let’s look at your options . . .
If you have a PDF edition of your book for sale on your site or via platforms such as Scribd or Lulu, your readers who have a PDF copy of your book can email it to you and you can use a PDF app with annotation capabilities like Evernote’s Skitch to write a note and sign the book. This is much easier to do on a tablet than a desktop, but will work on a desktop/laptop with a digitizer tablet or a touchpad. Both the PDFExpert [iPad - $9.99] and Good Reader [iPad - $4.99] apps support annotations, making it easy to write on a PDF document.
NOTE: An iPad stylus makes writing much easier than with your finger. It also works quite well on a Mac touchpad. You might try one on your laptop’s touchpad to see if it works there too.
Sample Virtual Book Card
Whether or not you are publishing a PDF edition of your book, you may want to consider creating a book card. A book card is a postcard-size “business” card for your book. In the example shown here, I have the book cover on one side of the card and a short description with bookstore link on the back – leaving room to sign the card. In this example, I saved the card layout as a PDF file and signed the card on my iPad using the free Documents by Readdle app on my iPad. You could also have physical cards printed for face-to-face marketing opportunities at conferences or society meetings.
I chose the postcard size for a number of reasons. First, the size gives lots of design room for cover graphics, book description and purchasing details and still leaving room for signing. Second, it’s easy to find 4×6″ postcard stock to print your own and it’s a standard size offered at print shops. And, since 4×6″ is also a common photo size, there are tons of albums available to keep them. Who knows . . . book cards could be the next new thing in collectibles!
So, if you’ve got a published book and would like to try a new angle on marketing, build your own book card, practice signing your name with your finger or a stylus, then contact me at The Bookstore Cafe to schedule a virtual book-signing party.
Unfortunately, book pages like this one are much too common on self-published platforms like Lulu.com or Smashwords. Someone has put in a lot of time and effort creating a 237-page book – and this is the 4th volume – but couldn’t find the time to provide a description of this book or add a few tags. This could be a fascinating history but how many people will fork out $20 to find that out without some kind of incentive?
Spend the time to describe the contents of your family history including the surnames, locations and time periods covered in the narrative. Use the tags or keywords fields to add even more information about the families discussed in your book. Regardless of the platform you use, your book page was designed with search engines in mind. Everything from the title to the description and on to the tags has been designed so that when a cousin searches for information on the Bennion surname, your book will get included in that search. Whether it will show up on the first page of search results or the 82nd will depend in part on the effort you put into the descriptive sections of your book page.
Every self-publishing platform includes all kinds of fields in the book’s catalog form to help describe its contents. Take advantage of them to include as much information as you can about your book.
In this example from the Smashwords catalog, you’ll find a lot more information about the specific families included in the book. In addition to surnames, the author provides the time period covered in the book and used the tags field to add locations. Consider what keywords you used during your research to find information about the people discussed in your book and include those keywords in your book’s record.
Another useful tip – if your publishing platform includes the ability to present a preview of some of the book’s pages, make sure you include the table of contents as part of that preview. It will help us determine if your book discusses our branch of the family.
All of this will improve the chances that research cousins discover your book – and you. You spent a lot of time and effort creating this book. Take a few minutes to present it properly in the bookstore. It will be a very good investment.
If you look down the sidebar on any of my blogs, you will see the Creative Commons graphic. Follow the link to the license information and you will be pleasantly surprised that the license text is written in plain language. There is also a legal version of the license at the Creative Commons site and machine readable version (so search engines and web apps can identify licensed work).
While I do want credit for the works I create, I don’t mind if others use my works in their own creations. This is especially true in my family history projects. That doesn’t mean you have unlimited rights to my publications or postings or that you can claim them as your own. Creative Commons offers the flexibility to create a license that suits my needs. For example, the short name for my license is “attribution-share alike” which means you can use my stuff if your work includes credit to me and the work you create using my stuff will also be licensed to share to others. I don’t limit the number of copies you can have, keep you from giving my work to someone else or make you ask my permission to use my stuff. All I want is credit for my efforts and that you don’t try to lock my work up by including it in an “all rights reserved” copyrighted publication.
The beauty of Creative Commons is that it gives you the flexibility to determine how your work can be distributed. There are several different options you can incorporate into the license you use. Will you allow commercial use? modifications of your work? How will others attribute the work to you? At all times you retain copyright to your work.
Whether you are building an original work and including family treasures or offering scanned copies of existing photos and documents, Creative Commons gives you the opportunity to choose how those works can be used by others. Visit the Creative Commons site to learn more.