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Old 08-07-2008, 08:24 AM   #1
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Waking the book publishers (by other means than piracy)

Original posting can be found here: http://klungvik.com/?p=61

As a devout ebook reader I find that many of the titles I want to read simply isn't available as ebooks. There are more than enough ebooks around that it haven't become a problem yet, but it will happen. In the earlier days I read a lot of the books of Wilbur Smith and Jan Guillou, and I want to read them again. I also discovers books I want to read by Norwegian authors (Eirik Newth, Åsne Seierstad and Helene Uri) but Norwegian publishers is even farther behind on ebooks than the US and Europe.

So the question is, what should we do to make publishers realize there's a whole big market out there for ebooks that they need to tap into. It's a market that will grow and they only start feeling the consequence of it when they suddenly realize the books are available as pirated downloads.

My take on it is that I write letters to the publisher of a specific book I want. I will also copy that mail to the author if the author have an official email address available. An example letter is outlined below.

I would like to encourage other people to do the same. If enough such letters pops up in their mailbox, then they will catch the drift after a while. Do you have any suggestions to make that letter better.

A norwegian and italian version can be found below.

Dear publisher,
I wish to purchase "book" by "author" as an ebook, can you tell me when you expect to publish it in "EPUB" format?

I prefer ebooks for the following reasons:
- Takes no space in my limited bookshelves
- It costs less than the physical books.
- I can easily take my whole library with me everywhere I go
- Saves the environment (saves trees, pollution because of shipping etc.)
- I don't have to locate the book in bookstores, or wait days before it pops up in my mailbox. The second I bought the book, I can start reading it.
- I can quickly search for words, names or passages and with purchased dictionaries I can get a description for an unknown word.
- Font resizing which is a great aide for people with reading disabilities.

Regards,
my name

The benefits of ebooks for the publishing industry

One can't stop the future from happening
The release of Kindle by Amazon was a big step towards ebooks. By not preparing for ebooks, publishers will fall behind.

Loss of income
By not preparing for ebooks (and the digital age), publishers will fall behind. If ebook readers wants to read a book, they don't necessarily by the paperback version if the ebook version isn't available.

Loosing ground for competitors
Consumers will turn to competitors that do provide the products they're interested in.

Piracy
When people don't find what they search for in any legal means, many will instead turn to pirated copies of low quality which again result in loss of income.

Ebooks is cheaper to produce
An ebook only needs to be created once for a specific format. The benefit for publishers of ebooks is the reduced costs involved in producing and distributing them.

Ebooks reach a bigger market
Ebooks is great for people with reading disabilities, and will therefore be a part of increasing sales.

Ebooks are also easier to distribute all over the world. Everybody with an internet connection can buy an ebook.

Decreased production costs can result in cheaper ebooks
By providing ebooks for a lower price than on paperbacks (considering the reduced production costs), it will encourage the consumers to buy more books. Ebooks priced lower than the price of paperbacks will mean more sales for publishers and happy ebook consumers ready to buy more, so everybody wins.

Marketing possibilities
Publishers can entice consumers in various ways by providing book excerpts, audio excerpts, comments and discussion with the authors and book reviews to mention a few.

Creating loyal consumers
The marketing possibilities can create more loyal consumers that will come back for more and keep track of news that a publisher provides. Thereby creating a closer dialog between publisher and consumer.

Information about the EPUB format
EPUB is an ebook industry standard bythe International Digital Publishing Forum (http://www.idpf.org/). EPUB allows publishers to produce and send a single digital publication file through distribution and offers consumers interoperability between software/hardware for unencrypted reflowable digital books and other publications.
EPUB allows complete control over the layout and graphic presentation of the ebook, can support functional table of contents and notes. The EPUB format can be created using various tools, and be easily integrated into the publishing workflow.


Italian version:
http://www.dilloalleditore.org (tellthepublisher in italian)
Attached Files
File Type: txt Norwegian_version.txt (2.9 KB, 190 views)

Last edited by haridasi; 08-30-2008 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:41 AM   #2
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i would like to heartily second this proposition. i also am very frustrated by the lack of content (french publishers are not on the train either, although i hope that will change soon).

when i discover that a book i want to read is not available in e-format, i always write an email to the publisher as well, and i think that is definitely the best way to try to influence them : that way, 1. if we don't buy the book, they know why. 2. they cannot claim there is no interest in e-books, because the public is writing to them specifically to ask.

an interesting point : i read somewhere that companies generally consider that the majority of the population is too lazy to bother to write, so each letter you write is counted as the opinion of 7 people, 6 of whom haven't spoken up (or something... can't remember how many they said, exactly. and 80% of all statistics are made up on the spot anyway. ). talk about having some influence !

i think it is important to remember to stay polite and cordial in the letter ; no need to be aggressive. some publishers clearly are very worried by ebooks and we don't want to frighten them off.

haridasi, i think your email is very good, but perhaps you could add a line or two saying something like "for the following reasons, I prefer ebooks, and have decided to make ebooks my priority purchases from now on" and then you could mention one or two things that make ebooks great in your opinion (convenience, space-saving, ecological, whatever.). this way perhaps publishers who are ambivalent will begin to see the advantages.
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:52 AM   #3
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I agree with ZP that the letter should be polite but I think it should also include an explicit request to the publisher that the book be made available in ebook format with your preferred format specifically mentioned.

I realize that the fact that you wrote the email is an implicit request but some people don't take hints very well.
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:08 AM   #4
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I've changed the letter and added reasons for providing ebooks. Please come up with more reasons and please improve my language as well if things could be stated in a better way. ;-)
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:21 AM   #5
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Great Idea

Is there a centralized location for the snail mail and email of the different publishing houses. If you don't Have the pbook yet, how do you know Who published it?
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:36 AM   #6
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Your letter sounds good to me, haridasi. i've taken the liberty of adding in a bit of information i might add ; i put all my additions in bold so you can find them quickly. also one correction : i think you mean "provide" instead of "prove" (i put that in bold too, just for visibility.). i also added the mr address, since i think many publishers still might not know very much about ebooks so it's good to give them a place to start, to learn.

it's a really good idea you had to put your letter here ; hopefully, even people who don't like to write letters will be more willing to make the effort if they can use a model letter already created. thanks.

Quote:
Dear publisher,
It seems like you don't offer "bookname" by "author" as an ebook. Do you have any plans to do so?

I prefer ebooks for the following reasons:
- Takes no space in my limited bookshelves
- I can easily take my whole library with me everywhere I go
- Saves the environment (saves trees, pollution because of shipping etc.)
- I don't have to locate the book in bookstores, or wait days before it pops up in my mailbox. The second I bought the book, I can start reading it.

Why you should provide ebooks:
An ebook only needs to be created once for a specific format. It doesn't need to be printed into hardbacks and paperbacks and then be shipped to the various bookstores. It makes the creation and distribution very much simpler. Not only does this save you a lot of money, it will increase your revenue because there's less work involved.

I prefer the EPUB format. It is the new ebook industry standard and the best format for ebooks, for many reasons : it allows complete control over the layout and graphic presentation of the ebook, can support a true functional table of contents and notes, it can be exported directly from InDesign as an integrated part of the publishing workflow (simplifying ebook creation even further), and can easily be converted into other existing formats commonly used today.

I really hope you will make your catalogue available as ebooks soon. If you have any questions about ebooks, a lot of useful information can be found on the site www.mobileread.com.


Regards,
my name
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ Starr View Post
Is there a centralized location for the snail mail and email of the different publishing houses. If you don't Have the pbook yet, how do you know Who published it?
you can probably find the publisher info on amazon, without buying the book, and then easily find the publisher site. most of them have contact email addresses right on the site, as well as physical addresses if you also want to send snail mail (snail mail always has more impact).
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ Starr View Post
Is there a centralized location for the snail mail and email of the different publishing houses. If you don't Have the pbook yet, how do you know Who published it?
I usually make a search for the book on google, find somebody that sells the book, and look at the details of the book. The publisher is always listed.

Then, I try to find the website of the publisher, where the contact details resides.
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
Your letter sounds good to me, haridasi. i've taken the liberty of adding in a bit of information i might add ; i put all my additions in bold so you can find them quickly. also one correction : i think you mean "provide" instead of "prove" (i put that in bold too, just for visibility.). i also added the mr address, since i think many publishers still might not know very much about ebooks so it's good to give them a place to start, to learn.

it's a really good idea you had to put your letter here ; hopefully, even people who don't like to write letters will be more willing to make the effort if they can use a model letter already created. thanks.
Great take on ePub. I took away the stuff that was proprietary (adobe indesign) and that it is open source, which means that every ebook reader on the planet can support it if they will.
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:56 AM   #10
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ah, i didn't think about the proprietary bit... you might be right not to mention that, although i do think InDesign is becoming a bit of an industry standard as well so it might be another point to convince publishers that it won't be too much work to add it. perhaps we could say "the EPUB format can be exported from some major professional layout and design applications, so it can easily be integrated into the publishing workflow."

and definitely key to mention open source !!! can't believe i forgot that. very important.
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:00 AM   #11
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The last one might be stretching the truth a bit, since I don't think any DTP program besides InDesign can export EPUB (yes, all-caps is the official spelling -_-).
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
ah, i didn't think about the proprietary bit... you might be right not to mention that, although i do think InDesign is becoming a bit of an industry standard as well so it might be another point to convince publishers that it won't be too much work to add it. perhaps we could say "the ePub format can be exported from some major professional layout and design applications, so it can easily be integrated into the publishing workflow."

and definitely key to mention open source !!! can't believe i forgot that. very important.
Added.
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:06 AM   #13
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One more thing to add, how much you are willing to pay. Point out that you can't pay without a product to purchase. Publishers are in the business to make money, seeing customers with money, who are willing to spend that money to them, ought to motivate them if anything will....
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:18 AM   #14
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I'm not sure that a publisher is going to care that EPUB is "open source", or even know what "open source" is, for that matter.
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
The last one might be stretching the truth a bit, since I don't think any DTP program besides InDesign can export EPUB (yes, all-caps is the official spelling -_-).
oops, all caps it is then ! sorry about that.

might be stretching the truth a bit, but it seems like a good compromise if we don't want to seem to be advertising InDesign (which i personally am happy to do, since i hate Quark XPress, but that's not really the point).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
One more thing to add, how much you are willing to pay. Point out that you can't pay without a product to purchase. Publishers are in the business to make money, seeing customers with money, who are willing to spend that money to them, ought to motivate them if anything will....
good point Sir. it's also a good time to let them know that pricing the ebook at 1€ less than the hardcover prices is going to stick in the throats of most people... perhaps something like "Another benefit of ebooks is the reduced costs involved in producing and distributing them. When publishers pass along their savings to me, the consumer, it encourages me to continue to buy their books. Ebooks priced lower than the price of paperbacks will mean more sales for publishers and happy ebook consumers ready to buy more, so everybody wins." i'm not really sure of the wording here so if anyone has a better idea please do propose it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I'm not sure that a publisher is going to care that EPUB is "open source", or even know what "open source" is, for that matter.
that's possible, but if they don't, maybe they'll look it up... i think it's worth mentioning nonetheless, because i think it is important in the absolute sense.
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