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May 30, 2007

hackoff.com – e-book Edition

Hackoffcover_2 My novel hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble is now available as an e-book from a number of online retailers affiliated with MobiPocket which is owned by Amazon.  This edition is suitable for downloading to book-reader devices, PDAs, and of course, computers.

hackoff.com was first released as a blook: a book serialized in the form of a blog. It’s still available for free viewing, subscribing to the serialization, downloading (as PDFs), or even podcast listening at www.hackoff.com. For those who like physical books which go to the beach (it is a mystery, after all), the hardcover edition is available from Amazon or by order from bookstores.

So why would you want to pay $5.95 to download what you could otherwise get for free?  If you’re happy with the blook edition or want the hardcover (also not free), you probably don’t want to buy the download. However, if you read on a PDA or a bookreader, this may be the edition for you. The technology supplied by MobiPocket means that the book formats itself for whatever device you read it on. Seems to work as far as I’ve been able to tell from the device emulators supplied to authors by MobiPocket.

For those who do download, please tell me what the experience is like from buying through reading.

Note to authors: You set the suggested selling price for your e-book.  Commissions are 50% of that suggested price (retailers can discount but can’t discount your royalty).  You get an additional 10% if the referral for the sale is by link from your website (there’s  a link in the right sidebar of Fractals of Change).  Another way to use the service is to sell your e-book directly from your own site, which I’m not doing..  If you do that, you pay them a 10% fee for the formatting an digital rights management (DRM).  BTW, DRM is mandatory or they won’t distribute.

MobiPocket sells through a large number of online retailers.  Unlike Amazon Shorts, they have a strong international presence and can sell where VAT collection is required.  No exclusivity is required; they are just another outlet.

If your book is a single Word file, PDF, or HTML document, conversion to ebook format with the free tools supplied by MobiPocket should be fairly easy. If you have fifteen big Word files too big for Word to combine without crashing, life is much more difficult. As usual Word, is somewhat problematic for conversion anyway.  I had to go through every converted chapter page by page and look for anomalies; some I needed to correct by hacking the html.  Yuk.  But probably could have corrected in Word IF I’d had only one document.

Check your illustrations as well.  JPEGs and GIFs should be scaled reasonably small because they’ll get scaled more to fit the various devices.

Support through the MobiPocket support forum is quite good. You can see the thread of help I got here.

New arrivals get highlighted.  There are email promotions to readers; haven’t figured out how to get into them yet, though. Guess I’ll ask in the forum.

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