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Old 05-26-2010, 11:52 AM   #1
kimos
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Using Calibre to convert and then sell online

I apoligize if I am asking a question already asked. I am brand new to this process and site. Thanks ahead of time for your help.

I am an author who wants to offer my book for sale on my website as an ebook.

I converted the book, it looks great, into Kindle and Sony formats. I then saved the book to disk.

I sent the files to a friend who has a Kindle. He tried to view them but failed. How can he open the files I sent for use on his Kindle? I thought saving them to disk would be more secure than merely posting them online.

How do I enable someone to go the the website, pay for a copy and then download it, without creating a sit where anyone can download without payment?

Thanks ahead of time.

Last edited by kimos; 05-26-2010 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:33 PM   #2
Worldwalker
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Welcome to the madhouse! I have a couple of questions before I can attempt a worthwhile answer:

What was your friend's problem when he tried to view the files on his Kindle? That is, was there an error message, or was the format distorted, or ???

I'm a little unclear on the distinction between "saving them to disk" and "posting them online" -- isn't the former a necessary part of the latter?

As for how to build an e-commerce website, that's a bit out of the scope of MobileRead. "A bit" being "several miles" in this context. Instead of building your own sales system, you might want to look into selling your books through any of a number of online bookstores, such as Smashwords. MobileRead being what it is, hopefully an author or two will drop by this thread and make some recommendations along that line.
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:51 PM   #3
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I used Calibre to save the book to my hard drive with its save to disk button.

I then sent those files to my friend to upload on his Kindle. He replied that none would load.

I did tell Calibre to use Mobi as the output file.
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:54 PM   #4
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The reason I am trying to sell on my own websites is margins....I get all the cost instead of a percentage of the sale. I was hoping to have people notify me of desire to purchase and when the transaction is done, I email them what they need to upload into their device.
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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Responding kind of backwards here:

You're looking at the margins, but not the total cost. The things you have to factor into it include the cost of setting up an ecommerce website, arranging for payment processing, the cut the payment processor will take, advertising and marketing, etc. You also have to consider the effect of different sales channels on your total sales.

From your postings so far, I get the impression that your skills are in areas other than the technical, so you probably won't have an easy time of it building the website yourself. It takes a lot more expertise to build a website than to build an ebook. So the odds are that you're either going to have to pay someone to build you a website, pay for an out-of-the-box ecommerce package, or spend a lot of time learning how to do it yourself, which means all that time you're learning how to build websites, you're not actually selling books, or writing new books to sell. Does it make more sense to re-invent the wheel, or go down to the hardware store and buy one?

Then there's the payment issue: How are people going to pay you? That's another whole can of worms, and they're very large and squirmy worms. The more types of payment you can accept, the more people you can sell books to -- but also the more complicated and expensive the whole project becomes. Add some international borders and currency exchange rates in there and some of those worms start to bite.

Having people pay for books and then wait for you to email them their books is, bluntly, not going to work. For one thing, ebook purchases are often an impulse thing, especially with a new or unknown author. Buyers want to have their book in their hands right away, not some time tomorrow morning. They bought the book because they wanted to read it -- NOW! Internet commerce is international, so people in other time zones might want to buy your book when you're asleep.

Also, there's the matter of trust. On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog -- or an honest person. If I buy a book from O'Reilly Media, I know it will be delivered, it will be as advertised, and they won't randomly charge my CC for a trip to Aruba. If I buy a book from Fred's Online Bookstore & Sausage Factory, I have no clue what I'm getting, whether I'm really getting it, and what Fred is going to do with my CC info. So I'm not only more likely to buy from O'Reilly than Fred, but I'm also willing to pay more for a book from them because I don't have the same feeling of risk. Selling through a known online bookseller instead of on your own website helps with the whole trust issue. This translates to more sales and higher prices.

Mind you, I'm not saying you can't build your own website and start selling books. That's what I do -- building websites, I mean, not selling books -- and I'm self-taught. But it took me a decade of self-teaching to get where I am now, and if what you want to do is sell books, not websites, that may not be the most efficient use of your time.

Now, on to the technical issues:

Are you sure you exported the proper format? Double-check this, because it seems like the most likely source of your friend's problem. (for starters, check the file extension in wherever you exported it to)

Ask your friend how exactly he tried loading them, and what kind of error messages he got.

Also, you can test them locally. Amazon has Kindle-format reading software for the PC, Mac, iPad, and a few other platforms. Go grab the appropriate flavor and see if you can read the file.

If you can't, and you're sure you've got the right flavor of file, post exactly what steps you took, and what messages you got back, and I'll be better able to diagnose the problem.
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimos View Post
I used Calibre to save the book to my hard drive with its save to disk button.

I then sent those files to my friend to upload on his Kindle. He replied that none would load.

I did tell Calibre to use Mobi as the output file.
Have you tried the file in Kindle for PC (or Mac) and does it open there?



For a web setup it sounds like you want something similar to what one of our resident authors, Steve Jordan, uses. You pay him via PayPal and then get a link emailed to you that's good for 3 days.
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:01 PM   #7
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For a web setup it sounds like you want something similar to what one of our resident authors, Steve Jordan, uses. You pay him via PayPal and then get a link emailed to you that's good for 3 days.

This is exactly what I am looking for.

Still, I am not sure how to transfer the file to the person. Is it sent as files as you would save them on a disk and then attach on an email?
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:40 PM   #8
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Welcome Kimos

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimos View Post
How do I enable someone to go the the website, pay for a copy and then download it, without creating a sit where anyone can download without payment?
You'll need a shopping cart software for that.
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:12 PM   #9
Steven Lyle Jordan
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I just came across this thread (my ears were burning--someone should have PM'd me!).

Yes, I created my own website. I happen to be a web designer, so it was not hard... actually, it was a lot of fun.

I chose PayPal to handle my transactions, because of its sources of third-party scripts that make it possible to set up your own e-commerce system. I found a script that would allow a user to modify fairly easily, add the required scripts to their web server, and test it through PayPal. (The original script I used is no longer available... presently I use Linklok.)

The PayPal part of it handles the money transaction securely, then sends an encrypted code to the script on my server, which generates an email to the purchaser (as well as one to you, notifying you of the purchase). The email has a randomly-generated download link that is valid for a limited time (which you specify). You must have the link in the email to access the files, so you can't go back and try to download anything else in there.

It works pretty well, being able to handle multiple transactions, and basically allowing purchasers to buy 24-7-365. It's not programmer-hard, but I would advise a good knowledge of HTML, your web server's file setup, and an ability to be able to set and reset permissions settings in your cgi-bin. If that's too much for you, you should hire someone to do it for you... if done wrong, you can open up yourself, and your web server, to security threats.

Feel free to ask any other questions, either here, or via PM.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:54 AM   #10
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... and getting traffic to your website may be even harder than the technical issues.

I quite understand why you are having problems with the conversion quagmire and a lot of people have problems with this. However, if you are struggling with this you have quite a ways to go before you are up with a paying customer web site. And even farther before you have customers.

I would think strongly about a smashwords approach while you learn. You can always take it back to your web site once you are up and going.

Now about your file conversion issue. Calibre works and it works great for Kindle format. The first thing, I would try is to view your converted file in Calibre. Click on one of your books. Then go to the menu choice in the toolbar that says: "View". Actually, click on the small arrow on the right side of the view button. Choose to "view in a specific format" and choose the mobi format.

This is not specifically a Kindle emulator, but if you can read the mobi format from Calibre, then its a pretty good bet that it can be read by the Kindle.

Next issue, do you understand that Calibre does not actually delete your original files? Let's say that your original file is on the desktop. You add it to Calibre. What happens is that your original file stays on the desktop and a copy of it ends up in your Calibre folder -- wherever that is. It's based on a directory that you identified when you first set up calibre. I think you can find it again in the Settings.

Anyway, you now have two copies of the book. The original one, and the new one in the calibre directory. Now, you convert it -- say from RTF to mobi. At this point you have three copies: original on the desktop, RTF in calibre directory, and mobi in calibre directory. Which one did you send to your friend?
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:19 AM   #11
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:33 AM   #12
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:50 AM   #13
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Sorry I hadn't replied in a while. We have volunteers who come in to do home repair for the needy, elderly and disabled and I've been working with them.

I was able to solve the conversion issue and it was an easy fix. The problem was my ignorance of what files were really necessary to send. Once I focused only on the MOBI file, it was fine. I sent it to a friend and he had no trouble. It worked great.

The website issue is being worked on by a webmaster now. I will utilize more of a merchant site approach. All the details re accepting visa and paypal is being worked out now.

I start marketing in conferences soon, that will increase web traffic.
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