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.
We are very pleased to announce that all ebooks which are available on our website are now also available on Amazon.com as Kindle books. We expect them to appear on other, country specific Amazon sites very soon.
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.
The reference everyone uses to answer questions like, “How many books are in print?” is Books in Print, a (subscription) database managed by Bowker. A look at the recent growth in the number of books available to be read is staggering.
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.
It is with great sadness that we learned recently of the passing of Jean McBean, QC, lawyer and the author of Marriage, Separation, and Divorce in Alberta. Jean passed away from cancer in Victoria, BC, on April 7. She was just 63.
I mentioned in an earlier post, the problems we faced when a print book contains a CD-ROM and we are producing an ebook. Clearly, one cannot include a CD-ROM with an ebook. Finding a viable solution to that issue was a priority for us.
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.
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.
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.