Monday, 3 August 2015

A Reader's Choice in Reading. Reflections

By a reader's choice I don't mean 'what to read', but rather 'how to read'.

I am a firm believer in customer choice - my many years in sales management and work-based learning have reinforced this conviction. At the outset of publishing, pre 2009, I was ahead in the queue for digital publishing; my first publisher in the US offered *pdf only. When I was able to upgrade to Kindle and ePub I encountered a whole raft of issues resulting in many long-distance telephone conversations. I decided we had the in-house skills to do it all ourselves. And so Christal Publishing was born.

Print v. Digital

There is still a huge preference for the printed word. Even a preference for a combination of print and e-reading device. That makes sense really as one size does not fit all. But let's take a look at the popularity of various e-retailers and devices. 
  • By device I mean: Kindle, Android tablet, Apple tablet - iPad, smart phones, PC etc.
  • By e-retailer I mean the on line store from which you purchase and download your book.

Looking at the various formats.

Print. This could be paperback or hardback. Don't they look good on the bookshelf with the spines encouraging you to pick up and put down at will and read time and time again?


Adobe *PDF (Portable Document Format) Following specific guidelines, the printed manuscript is converted to a *pdf file for reading digitally on computers  or a tablet. In general the original layout is preserved which works extremely well for the text-book style of book. Images are retained without any further changes. You will find our *pdf formats in worldwide on line stores such as Hive, Welsh Books Council,Kobo,Google Play etc. They are also available to libraries.
  • You will need to have the free-to-download Adobe Digital Editions software to read these. This allows you to re-size text, fit page, two-page display, bookmark etc.
Apart from the *pdf format an e-book is not a carbon copy of the print version. The text has to flow. For instance, if you make the text larger, it re-flows seamlessly without creating large areas of white paper as you would get in a word-processing document. Page count is increased. 

Amazon Kindle. The manuscript has to be re-formatted to conform to Amazon's submission guidelines for reading on a variety of Kindle devices. Apps are available for other devices e.g. Apple, Android, PC. The images have to meet specific formatting guidelines so that they are viewable on smaller screens.

This is the most common format used on the huge platform of reading devices. The main task here is to get the converted manuscript into the many e-retailers and onto the many e-reading devices. After long deliberation, I used Smashwords  whose name speaks for itself. Founder Mark Coker in the US wanted to bring the written word to a wide audience. Their slogan is 'your ebook your way'. For this reason a variety of formats for each title are available for download from their own store.

In addition, passing all the auto- vetter and manual vetting checks to Apple's standards, all our titles have been included in the Premium Catalogue for shipping to Apple (who do more checks), Kobo, Nook, subscription channels Oyster and Scribd, and libraries to name a few. 

Kindle v. Kobo

It is well-known that you can download a Kindle App to your tablet or PC to enable you to read Kindle books. It is, isn't it? You didn't know? So easy and it takes seconds to open up a whole new affordable world.
Did you know that, turning the tables, Kobo have an App for Kindle as well as PC, Android etc.? Yes, you can, and this is what Kobo says on the title page of an ePub book:
"You can read this item using any of the following Kobo apps and devices:"
  • IOS
    Source: 03.08.2015

Click on the link then any of the titles in ePub format (distributed by Smashwords US) and download the App.
The *pdf versions are distributed from the UK.
With all the dominance of Amazon I find it heart-warming to have such good rankings for my titles and such consistent sellers.

To be perfectly honest, the travel-based books are fine in ePub but the Lifelong Learning Guides are much better in the original layout and image size of *PDF. Many major online retailers have partnered with Kobo to offer eBooks through their Kobo store.e.g. Easons in Ireland.

The best of both world with Kindle Education Text Book Creator.
Amazon now have software to put text books into a more user-friendly format with the Kindle EDU text book creator where diagrams, charts, complicated formatting is preserved as in the print version.
We are in the middle of converting the Lifelong Learning: Personal Effectiveness Guides to this with interactive images and videos. Exciting times. having fun!

Watch this space.
Rosalie xx