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Gifting eBooks and apps – a step by step guide

My article on how to gift Kindle ebooks, nook books and Apple App Store apps has been puslihed on the JoSara Media web site.

You can use the following shortcuts to get to each separate guide (with screenshots):

Kindle eBook
Nook eBook
Apple App Store App


2011 – The year of the Indie Bookstores

Many of my friends will derive from the title of this post that I am still under books_logothe influence of New Year’s libations. With the demise of Border’s and the rise of eBooks, it would seem that Indie Bookstores are in further jeopardy.

But several factors are giving Indie Bookstores who will take advantage of new offerings and changes a huge competitive advantage.

These factors are:

  • Google Books/Editions;
  • Amazon’s recent feature mimicry;
  • iPads and eReaders;

Google Books, formerly Google Editions, Google’s recently announced foray into selling books, would seem to be a “me too” event. Given the issues that Google ran into with authors and publisher rights with their “copy and provide everything” Google Books strategy, they would seem to be just bulling their way in.

But insightfully, Google eBooks allows for Indie Bookstores to resell these eBooks and make a referral fee from this referral. It also allows the stores to sell a print-and-ebook bundle. This is different in many ways that the Amazon Associates referral program, in that the Google eBooks store becomes the Indie Stores “eBook store”. Bundles with print and eBooks purchased from the same store at a discount are one example of features targetted for Indie Bookstores. (more…)

Kindle differences

Many readers and authors do not realize that Amazon’s Kindle solution works on a wide variety of devices. Amazon has a “Kindle everywhere” strategy, and has released versions for iPhone/iPad/iPod, PC, Blackberry, Android and now a beta for the Web (and a forthcoming version for Windows Phone 7). Amazon’s main page for describing their Kindle software offering is here.

Unfortunately, not all capabilities are supported on all devices. This is changing with new releases of the software and updated devices. From my own experiences, the Kindle for iPhone and iPad is the most feature rich (allowing image zoom which is quite useful on iPad, and embedded audio and video via HTML5);  the Kindle for Blackberry seems to be lagging behind, not yet allowing the addition of notes and highlights, nor supporting the advanced features of HTML5 and image zooming. The Android version was a bit of a pain, as I had to flash the software on the Samsung Moment device I was testing; otherwise the Kinlde software would not download from a link or show up in the Android Market.

To see the capabilities of the other devices in the market besides Kindle, see this list.

We’ve been working on multiple eBook projects that require audio, video, enhanced imagery, and synchronization of notes and highlights and have all of these versions for testing. The table below is my own cheat sheet of current versions and capabilities. I’ve left out the obvious features (such as the ability to change the font size, synchronizing last page read across versions, etc.).

If you see an error or area that needs to be updated or have any other feedback, I’d be glad to hear it.

Kindle 3
Kindle for iPad
Kindle for PC
Kindle for MAC
Kindle for BB
Kindle for Android
Kindle for Web (beta)
PricingWiFi $139Free softwareFree softwareFree softwareFree softwareFree softwareFree software
Device testedWiFi Kindle 3iPad WiFi/3Gnetbook (XP)MAC miniBold (TMobile)Samsung Moment (Sprint)Firefox
Amazon info page (click link)Kindle 3iPad
PCMACBlackberryAndroidWeb preview
Software version3. (beta 1)1.1.0 (90220088)beta web preview
Software sourceon deviceiPad/iPhone AppStoreAmazon (click hereAmazon (click hereBB App WorldAndroid MarketAmazon (for Kindle previews only as of this writing)
Screen resolution600 x 800768 x 1024device dependentdevice dependentdevice dependentdevice dependentdevice dependent
Zoom (one size with click on image)
Zoom (pinch gesture, plus pan)
Can make book full screen, but no zoom
Can make book full screen, but no zoom
Can make book full screen, but no zoom
No zoom or pan
Notes and Highlights - addingYesYesYesYesNoYesNo (preview only)
Notes and Highlights - viewingYesYesYesYesYesYesNo (preview only)
Embedded Audio/VideoNo HTML5 supportHTML5 audio and video tagsNo HTML5 supportNo HTML5 supportNo HTML5 supportNo HTML5 support

eBooks for Troops – Operation eBook Drop

Smashwords is a very well done eBook site, but (no offense to its creator  Mark Coker), the only reason I joined was to support Ed Patterson’s excellent program, Operation eBook Drop. I highly recommend it for all of my fellow authors and hope that my friends and family that are deployed (Vince, Ian, Chris, you guys listening?) will take advantage of the system Mr. Patterson has set up.

Operation eBook Drop is a simple and straightforward process to get electronic books to deployed Armed Services troops through Smashwords. Mr. Patterson has set up a clearing house of sorts, where troops or their families sends him email addresses, and he then forwards those to authors who have told him they would like to participate. These authors have uploaded their works to Smashwords, and used Smashwords coupon capability to create a coupon for the troops to use to download the books for free.

Smashwords is the perfect platform for this, as its “Meatgrinder” is able to convert uploaded books into several different formats, allowing the troops flexibility in how they read the books. Smashwords coupon capability allows the troops to download books that have a price tag associated with them on the Smashwords site for free. Smashwords has also signed some excellent distribution deals recently, making certain ebooks available through Shortcovers, Amazon and B&N.

The only downside I have found with Smashwords is that in order to get converted to the multiple different formats of ebooks the layout possibilities of the book you upload are minimal.

So far about 20% of the troops I’ve notified have downloaded a copy of Dusk Before the Dawn from Smashwords. (Software by the Kilo, my latest, is not in eBook format yet). I hope it has made their downtime more enjoyable.

To learn more about Operation eBook Drop (and for info on how troops or authors can participate), read the article on the Smashwords blog, or see their Facebook Fan page.

This Weekend-Trinity U. Alumni Booksigning and Beerdrinking

For the fourth year in a row, I’ll be at the Trinity University Alumni book signing on campus in Ruth Taylor Hall. For the third year, my partner in crime (and excellent author) Robert Flynn and I will share a table, which is dangerous just in the intent. Also for the fourth year, beer drinking and mexican food consumption will commence shortly after the book signing (or as Bob calls it, being ignored by non-readers) ends.

My next novel will not be ready in time for the signing (I will have information on it), but Bob’s latest Echoes of Glory will be there. Bob was the writer in residence at Trinity about a hundred years ago, and has won many awards for his Texas and Vietnam based fiction, and for his excellent collection of humorous essays. I’ve read Echoes of Glory and enjoyed it, my notes on it are here.

Come on by if you are close.

bookrev: Wanderer Springs by Robert Flynn

bookrev: Wanderer Springs by Robert Flynn

Robert Flynn’s writing is Texas

Most people think of Texas and think of Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio. But the stories of Texas are really the tales of its small towns, how they started, how they grew, how they survived or died.

Robert Flynn’s Wanderer Springs is a masterfully written novel of one such town, told through the eyes of one of its products, one of its survivors, one of its storytellers.

The novel weaves together a vast cast of characters and generations of families, and its easy to get lost or confused between the Spruill family or the Slocum family or the Shipman family (a ten page who’s who is included for your reference pleasure). But these intertwining stories and familes are what makes a small Texas town what it is, and their tales are its history.

Mixed in with the history of the town and its families is the story of Will Callaghan, heading back to Wanderer Springs for the funeral connected to a tragic event from his long ago high school life. As he gets physically and mentally closer to Wanderer Springs, the stories of the town show their influence on his life, on his friends and on the decisions he made. A history teacher and writer by trade, Will Callaghan revists several “ghosts” from Wanderer Springs: townspeople, his loving wife, his father, past loves and friends.

Bob Flynn has won several awards for his writing, and, while I have been a long time reader and fan of his shory story work, this novel is one of the most authentic Texas works to ever grace my shelves. Highly reccommended.

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

click on the image for more info and to support this blog

Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo


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