Category Archives: Publisher’s Desk

The Changing State of Retail

Looking at sales activity over the past half-year has reinforced my feeling that traditional book retailers are headed in a bad direction as they try to respond to the emergence of ebooks as a significant part of the business. Bad for them, and bad for us.

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Digital Rights Management, a Bad Idea

Digital Rights Management, better known by its abbreviation, DRM, is the collective name for tools designed to prevent unauthorized copying of digital items. It has existed almost as long as consumer software: I recall that some software for my Apple ][ in 1980 had “copy protection” on the floppy disk.

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Amazon as The Terminator

In recent days the Internet has been abuzz with discussions of Amazon’s decision to reverse its position on sales taxes. Until very recently, Amazon has refused to collect and pay sales taxes wherever it operates. It has used provisions in US law regarding needing to have a (physical) “presence” in a state before sales tax collection and remittance is required. In Europe it established its business presence in Liechtenstein to avoid paying taxes in the EU and last year paid no UK tax on sales to UK customers valued at £3.3-billion.

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The eBooks Launch

We began contracting with online retailers late last year, and at the same time contracted for access to what is known as a Digital Asset Management server — a web server which could hold our ebooks and make them available as appropriate to our retail partners. All that is now in place and we are moving books onto the server.

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Preparing eBooks

Anyone who tells you that making an ebook from a print book is “simple” is probably trying to sell you something. This is especially true for nonfiction books like the ones we produce. In working towards our launch of ebooks this week, we have learned a lot and experienced more than a little pain in the learning.

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Goodbye to Internet Explorer 6

Effective January, 2012, none of the CD-ROMs or digital download kits we produce will support Internet Explorer version 6. They may work with IE6, or they may not; we are no longer investing the (considerable) time and effort required to provide compatibility.

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