business / digital books / writing

The Ebook Circus and My Unsuccess (So Far)

I’ve been struggling to get my nine books listed in any of the ebook stores. I’ve spent conservatively forty hours investigating online outlets (like Kindle, iPad), checking out packaging services (like Smashwords), contacting people who say they can help me, trying to move my collection into the 21st century.

As a result of my Herculean efforts, you can buy my ebooks at the following:


Nada, zilch, nothing, grrr

That’s right. None of them. Not Kindle, B&N, Sony, Kindle, Apple. It appears 2010 ebooks don’t like lots of pictures or tables, which I have plenty of. In fact, they pretty much explode the process. You can see one of my efforts as a Building a Midshipman Kindle book. Argh. I know it’s possible because they’re out their, and the future of textbooks is e, but it would cost me over $200 per book to reformat them as an epub and I’m not able to make that financial commitment. I’ll have to stumble along with my Scribd and TPT pdf sales.

Because I know the problems, I was fascinated by the publisher Trapdoor Books’ rundown of their success. I thought I’d share it with you:

So What’s Up With Trapdoor e-Books?

Posted on 06. Jul, 2010 by Chris Matney in Book Publishing, Front Page Posts

First of all, I am pleased to announce that all Trapdoor Books titles are available for sale on the Apple iBookstore. We submitted the listings about three weeks ago when Trapdoor Books was accepted as a direct publisher with Apple, but Mr. Jobs likes to read each book personally – or so it seems. The result is a somewhat slow turnaround in getting listed. But, we are there now with the titles at $9.99 each for you iPad, iPod, and iPhone readers! I checked them out last weekend at the Boulder Apple Store, and I must admit it is an impressive experience.

Also, several of you noticed that our e-book titles disappeared for a few days from the Amazon Kindle store around the end of June. That was due to the change in contracts which make our publishing percentages much more attractive. As a result, the MSRP price of our Kindle books is now set at $9.99. Everything seems to be up and working again on the Amazon site, so I’m hoping we are good to go. Sweet!

Finally, at long last, all of our e-book titles are available at the online Sony store – which means they are also available at Borders. Sony is still working under the “old school” contracts which mean books for their platform still run about $14.99 each. I suspect this will change in the next few months.

What about Barnes & Noble? Well, the Nook store is… well… not really running. B&N is in the midst of a huge migration from their old site to their new Pubit site. As a result, new books aren’t being added for, like, well, months. I suspect that the new contract with B&N will be identical to Apple and Amazon – which will mean the wait for Trapdoor Books will be worth it. Of course, B&N has been known to disappoint publishers on occasion. Only time will tell.

So, that’s the scoop in a nutshell. Dan is updating the website to reflect these new developments. For those of you who had to wait an extended period of time for your e-book copies of CYBERKILL, I apologize. Sometimes technology gets a bit ahead of itself. Read on!


7 thoughts on “The Ebook Circus and My Unsuccess (So Far)

  1. What a coincidence! I’m reading your latest post as your comment came in. I’m so excited reading about your progress, I can’t stand it.

    I’ve talked to several people and even converting the tables to pics might not solve it. I’m not aware of ‘conversion software’. The ones on your link are mostly to pdf (which I have available quite cleanly in Scribd).

    Argh… OK, back to reading your blog…


    • I can’t believe how we’ve been on the same wavelength today as our comments have been crossing in cyberspace. And I love that we made (and are sustaining) this connection! Take care. –Cheri


  2. How incredibly frustrating. As fast as the ebook world is changing and expanding, though, I can’t help but believe that some of those roadblocks will fall away before too long.

    I’m sure your 40 hours have taken you to links like this one:–and many more as well probably. But I can’t help but think that acquiring your own conversion software would be a heck of a lot cheaper than $200 per book.

    As if writing and marketing the books weren’t enough already, right?


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