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Old 07-10-2013, 06:27 AM   #23
Hitch
Bookmaker & Cat Slave
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Posts: 2,006
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Device: Kindle2, iPad, KindleFire and NookColor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyssa Miranda View Post
This is a follow-up to Greg Bell's post on May 29th, following which, in seeking to establish a "do-it-yourself" website he decided to go with GoDaddy in preference to WordPress. Meanwhile I have also been struggling to establish a do-it-yourself site, but have stuck with wordpress.com despite its lack of an e-commerce capability, as noted in a previous post. The most daunting problem has been to find a way to download content to the customer in the various file formats (in my case, PDF, and EPUB and MOBI via calibre), and to the various devices (again in my case, limited to the Kindle and Nook).

To see how other sites have addressed the problem I looked at Smashwords (which I assume is the most prominent of the non-Amazon, non-BN, non-Apple sites), and found, in the FAQ section, two full pages of downloading/sideloading instructions in small type, this in contrast to the convenience of the wireless capability of the major sites, where, after clicking to purchase it the content appears literally moments later on your device, ready for reading. To me at least, this difference appears to limit non-wireless transmission (sideloading) more or less to the techie community - a vastly smaller market than the reading public at large.

It may be out there, but to date I haven't found anything better than the hoops the customer must endure (i.e., those noted above for Smashwords) to obtain content non-wirelessly. If there were such a service, ideally it would:
Above and beyond my other post, I should have answered this poster's actual questions:

Quote:
1. Allow storage of the author's content on his/her website, i.e., hard drive, flash drive or server;
You can save whatever content you want on any server where you have the space. That's simple. You'd download it from the server to the desired location (folder on your harddrive, the cart, etc.).

Quote:
2. Provide a link to the downloading service which would, once he's there, ask the customer what book he wants and what device he wants it downloaded to; and
With the installation of a digital cart, which is not free (and/or the free ones don't work), your customer buys the book in the format s/he wants, and pays. S/he then receives a link for a download. S/he downloads it from your server to his/her computer, not his/her device, and they must sideload the book from there. You may--I stress, MAY--somehow be able to use Calibre in this process, but...lotsa luck integrating that and getting clients to install it, hook up their devices, etc., before they have the book in-hand. See my previous posts about this end of it. No cart will do what you are otherwise asking; the client won't be asked what "version" he wants, nor what "device" to download it to; you have far too many variables involved. The cart delivers a code via email that the user copies and pastes to the cart, and then downloads the file. That's all you can do auto-magically at your end, and that's not done with some freebie go-daddy account, either. That's semi-custom coding, depending.

Quote:
3. After payment, convert the requested content on the fly to the format appropriate for that device and transmit it to the customer wirelessly.
No, not without custom coding, which should, on a small scale, run you about $3500 or so. Just for that part, never mind the rest. Again, maybe you can try to run the Calibre API, but....

Quote:
While this would be the service's core capability, it could also provide such bells and whistles as accounting services (tracking sales, etc.). Is any of this possible with GoDaddy? Or another service?
You are now talking about an e-commerce site. You can find some out there that are very basic, and cheap. What you've asked certainly isn't possible with ANY free website or service that you can simply download and plug and play. You can do this with custom coding, or by using a more advanced CMS, like Expression Engine or Drupal, ektron, ezPublish (very expensive, please note), MODx, or, one I've looked at with some interest lately, Concrete5, which I think you could use for an enterprise site with a semi-custom template and some coding help for a few thousand, all in. (n.b.: don't use Expression Engine. It's a giant pain, and finding coding assistance or anything else with a budget under $10K is not easy. I have this software, please note, so I know whereof I speak.)

Now, what I'm talking about here is simply #3--the ecommerce side, that tracks your sales, gives you your figures, etc., although that does NOT integrate accounting software; you'll need something like Intuit or Freshbooks for that, bridged to your CMS/E-Commerce site. So...you'll bridge the digital cart to your CMS (it may come with), to your accounting system, and unless you're mad bad with code, you won't be doing it all with free software, or at least, not without paying for coders to make the free software do what you want. The GoDaddy "websites tonight" are fine for basic bloggers, and affiliate-type websites, but they are not really meant for the depth of what you're discussing. Make sure that whatever CMS you settle on already has most of the features you want; read their forums religiously for complaints, comments, feature requests, etc.; make sure that there are lots of coders available to do pick-up work for you for your customizations.

Hope that helped.

Hitch
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