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Old 02-05-2017, 10:12 PM   #46
Cinisajoy
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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
I'm working on a variety of books in several series, primarily symbols, geography, biology and political science. I'm also working on videos to promote them on YouTube and Vimeo. Plus I'm going to promote them on my websites and through corresponding with groups that might have a special interest in my books.

PERIOD.

That's my plan. If it doesn't work, I really don't care. One of the cool things about epubs is that they're essentially miniature websites. That will make it easier for me to convert them to websites, whether my books sell or not. I really can't lose.

After I've spent a few weeks or months trying it my way, I'll probably hook up with Amazon and iBooks. But I'll never sell all my books through them. And if I can't sell any books through them at all, then I'll try something else. I don't care how big they are - they are NOT the only options out there.

I've been designing websites for about 25 years. I've self-published books. I've worked as a contract writer. I had a contract with a major publisher for a series of six books, which I rejected because they tried to screw me. I then got an agent - but she turned out to be a flake.

I'm well aware that the publishing industry is incredibly complex and sleazy. It's a sewer.

So I'm going to do it MY WAY.
Well Mr. Sinatra, enjoy and I do hope you do well. Couldn't resist calling you that with the MY WAY line.

Good luck and I hope your books do sell.

I was just giving you some options and observations. Can't blame you on the publishers. Though now I know you need to go read Konrath's blog. You will love what he says to the big publishers. He has been known to be blunt.

Technical point: Amazon is not the publisher in the typical sense but they take a fee for distributing your book.

They do have a publishing division but it is strictly invitation only.
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Old 02-06-2017, 02:28 AM   #47
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I downloaded the torrent version but haven't figured out how to open it yet, so I don't know if it's an actual epub or not.
While you can download it via torrent, you can easily just click on the PDF button to download the scan. Typically it is best to just download the books in their original PDF forms:

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The books are typically just uploaded as scans, and then converted to the other formats automatically by Archive.org (even converted to be read in their Online Reader).

Here is an example of a book with multiple other download formats:

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Because those other formats are all automatically generated and not handcrafted, the quality will not be so great (their "EPUB" would be full of OCR errors, have atrocious formatting, won't have proper chapters built in, no proper footnotes, sentences/paragraphs will be broken up, complex tables/layouts would be botched, etc. etc.).

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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
It's interesting that that Indian website released the book I'm working on in PDF form just a couple weeks ago.
I suspect you never ran across the Internet Archive (Archive.org) yet? It is a non-profit based in San Francisco that is most famous for scraping/archiving "The Internet". For example, here is their archive of CNN.com's website from 2000-now:

https://web.archive.org/web/*/cnn.com

Over the years, they have expanded into archiving more and more media (books, music, movies, even video games). They do a massive amount of scans themselves, but many other institutions (universities, libraries, [...]) digitize their material and store it on Archive.org's servers for anyone to access freely.

Archive.org is absolutely one of the greatest websites on the internet.

There is also this fantastic place called Wikipedia ... and since you seem to be such a State Flag guru, I would highly recommend you enhanced some of those flag articles with your in-depth knowledge.

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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
In the meantime, I just thought of another potential problem. If I produce an ebook that's essentially an exact reproduction of the original, with the following exceptions:

[...]

Will I be able to call it a "derivative" and slap a copyright on it?
No, that is not how it works. The original text would be in the Public Domain. ONLY THE SPECIFIC ADDITIONS could be copyrighted.

Let us take what typically happens... a publisher reprints a book and slaps on a new Cover + Preface + Foreword. There can be a new copyright on those three, but the original text itself is still Public Domain.

So in the case of your list, you could specify a copyright on: Case 2 (YOUR added Footnotes) + Case 5 (Appendix) + Case 7 (New Cover).

Case 3 (Added Pictures) is based on THOSE individual images' copyrights (which is a whole other can of worms, and you can see how things get hairy real fast). Personally, I would use the originals or grab images from Wikimedia... to my knowledge, these State Flags should be completely in the Public Domain.

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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
1. The footnotes are reorganized as end notes at the end of each chapter
[...]
4. The book is more nicely styled
[...]
6. The table of contents and index are heavily modified
These are just format shifts, not copyrightable at all. Things like minor edits or typo corrections are not copyrightable either.

Side Note: Although in some countries (not in the US though), you may potentially copyright Case 4 (a specific book design)... which is absolutely absurd [personal opinion].

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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
Either way, I'm going to include a notice that my book is based on a book that's in the public domain, but that all material added by me is copyrighted.
You don't have to specify exactly what you changed, but you could just say something along the lines of "Appendix was added and some images were enhanced since in this edition" or you could mark footnotes you added in some way ("—Editor" appended to the end, numbering your new footnotes to "##a", etc. etc.).

Personally, I would just release all your changes under an open license... for example, Creative Commons is one of the most popular ones:

https://creativecommons.org/choose/

I have converted/digitized hundreds of older books for a few smaller publishers (specializing mostly in Economics/History books), and everything just gets rereleased under a CC4.0 as close to the Public Domain as possible. It just saves everyone in the future headaches, and allows the book to reach the widest possible audiences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
Oh one other thing on selling books, more people trust the As (Apple and Amazon) much more than a person's website.

[...] More customers, less headaches including the ubiquitous "I can't get your book to download"
I agree. Especially with such a niche book such as this, you would want the largest customer base as possible... and the Customer Support angle can't be understated... you wouldn't imagine how some people even function:

How do I download your book?
What giant green button that says Download?
How do I read this EPUB on my Kindle?
How do I turn a page?

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 02-06-2017 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:58 PM   #48
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Yes, I bought an ebook from someone (Amazon?), and it turned out to be nothing more than a quick scan, with entire page that were illegible. I can't believe they had the nerve to sell it.

I'm familiar with the Internet Archive. Someone recently told me about another organization that is trying to digitize books in the public domain as fast as they can. It's kind of sad to see all that virgin territory being gobbled up. On the other hand, there's enormous potential for not just reproducing public domain books but improving them.

Wikipedia is bizarre. They've made some great contributions, but their political content isn't just stupid - the folks at Wiki appear to be paid propagandists. I'm going to be writing a lot about Wikipedia in my political series.

I know I can't Copyright stuff that's in the public domain, but I figured I can put a copyright notice on the front cover, then explain inside the book that it applies to stuff I created.

Creative Commons is an interesting idea, but would I be able to sell it? And, if so, couldn't someone else just copy my book and sell it themselves?
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:10 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
Yes, I bought an ebook from someone (Amazon?), and it turned out to be nothing more than a quick scan, with entire page that were illegible. I can't believe they had the nerve to sell it.

I'm familiar with the Internet Archive. Someone recently told me about another organization that is trying to digitize books in the public domain as fast as they can. It's kind of sad to see all that virgin territory being gobbled up. On the other hand, there's enormous potential for not just reproducing public domain books but improving them.

Wikipedia is bizarre. They've made some great contributions, but their political content isn't just stupid - the folks at Wiki appear to be paid propagandists. I'm going to be writing a lot about Wikipedia in my political series.

I know I can't Copyright stuff that's in the public domain, but I figured I can put a copyright notice on the front cover, then explain inside the book that it applies to stuff I created.

Creative Commons is an interesting idea, but would I be able to sell it? And, if so, couldn't someone else just copy my book and sell it themselves?
You are thinking of Google on the public domain books.
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:25 PM   #50
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Actually, I was thinking of these guys:

International Digital Publishing Forum -- http://idpf.org/

But, yes, Google is a player, too. The weird thing about Google is that they make things so complex. Like if you look up a particular book and find a dozen references, and you can't access the book with any of the links.
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:26 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
Yes, I bought an ebook from someone (Amazon?), and it turned out to be nothing more than a quick scan, with entire page that were illegible. I can't believe they had the nerve to sell it.

I'm familiar with the Internet Archive. Someone recently told me about another organization that is trying to digitize books in the public domain as fast as they can. It's kind of sad to see all that virgin territory being gobbled up. On the other hand, there's enormous potential for not just reproducing public domain books but improving them.

Wikipedia is bizarre. They've made some great contributions, but their political content isn't just stupid - the folks at Wiki appear to be paid propagandists. I'm going to be writing a lot about Wikipedia in my political series.

I know I can't Copyright stuff that's in the public domain, but I figured I can put a copyright notice on the front cover, then explain inside the book that it applies to stuff I created.

Creative Commons is an interesting idea, but would I be able to sell it? And, if so, couldn't someone else just copy my book and sell it themselves?
Accidentally double posted.
I think creative commons is shared worlds nor the right to publish your book.
I know someone here does CC.

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Old 02-06-2017, 10:29 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
Actually, I was thinking of these guys:

International Digital Publishing Forum -- http://idpf.org/

But, yes, Google is a player, too. The weird thing about Google is that they make things so complex. Like if you look up a particular book and find a dozen references, and you can't access the book with any of the links.
Are you talking Google search or Google books?
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:33 PM   #53
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Wikipedia is bizarre. They've made some great contributions, but their political content isn't just stupid - the folks at Wiki appear to be paid propagandists.
A few Wikipediasts are, but I think it is more common in articles about individual businesses.

Always check the Wikipedia talk tab. This gives the broader picture that may be missing after the last edit.
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:27 AM   #54
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Yes, I bought an ebook from someone (Amazon?), and it turned out to be nothing more than a quick scan, with entire page that were illegible. I can't believe they had the nerve to sell it.
Typically you should use Amazon's Look Inside feature to at least take a glance at the quality before you buy.

Also, it is a good idea to look at the publisher + a few other telltale signs (very generic cover + have thousands and thousands of public domain books and pump out multiple books per day).

And you could always report the book and Amazon will crack down. Rate it 1 star and give your reasoning (including the Publisher's name), and it will help others from getting scammed.

Side Note: On the 1-star rating though, I personally wouldn't do that with "merged books" (the ones where you can choose from a multiple different years/printings/copies of the same book). Amazon combines all reviews into one banner, so your 1-star review complaining about Scam Publisher X would drag down actual LEGITIMATE copies of the book.

I wish they had some sort of Non-Star Reviews/Comments. Or if/when Amazon merges them in the future, it should specify this review came from Publisher X.

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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
Someone recently told me about another organization that is trying to digitize books in the public domain as fast as they can.

[...]

Actually, I was thinking of these guys:

International Digital Publishing Forum -- http://idpf.org/
IDPF is the standards body behind making the EPUB format. Didn't know they did much else. Have any specifics on this?

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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
Wikipedia is bizarre. They've made some great contributions, but their political content isn't just stupid - the folks at Wiki appear to be paid propagandists. I'm going to be writing a lot about Wikipedia in my political series.
I suspect you wouldn't get those kind of problems on arcane "history of specific state flag" pages.

It reminds me of this one article I read a while back by a Wikipedia Editor, "Why I write about battleships":

https://blog.wikimedia.org/2016/05/2...t-battleships/

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Always check the Wikipedia talk tab. This gives the broader picture that may be missing after the last edit.


And Wikipedia has its own Rules + Recommendations + Procedures in case this happens. Personally, if I ran across a power-hungry insane person I would just move on to the thousand other topics/pages that could be updated.

Why waste time bickering back and forth over a few paragraphs on Important Person X when you could be expanding all the important info on every State Flag?

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Creative Commons is an interesting idea, but would I be able to sell it? And, if so, couldn't someone else just copy my book and sell it themselves?
Yes + not necessarily.

There are a handful of different CC4.0 licenses you could apply (and that section of their site I linked you to has easy buttons):
  • Allow adaptations of your work to be shared?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Yes, as long as others share alike
  • Allow commercial uses of your work?
    • Yes
    • No

They then link to a more thorough explanation of the exact license. As an example, if you chose "Yes" + "No" you get CC-BY-NC 4.0:

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Quote:
You are free to:

Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material

Under the following terms:

Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
* * *

There is also an extensive FAQ on their site that answers plenty of questions. As an example, "May I apply a Creative Commons license to a work in the public domain?":

https://creativecommons.org/faq/#may...-public-domain

and there is a little article explaining "Free Cultural Works" here ("Free" as in "Freedom", not Free as in $0):

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https://creativecommons.org/share-yo...ain/freeworks/

Side Note: And as I stated before, I personally tend to go for much closer to the Public Domain. The freer the better!

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But, yes, Google is a player, too. The weird thing about Google is that they make things so complex. Like if you look up a particular book and find a dozen references, and you can't access the book with any of the links.
You could thank the Author's Guild for much of that nonsense (it was a giant 10+ year battle):

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/1...-books-lawsuit

Personally, I look Archive.org first (older books). If not there, I go searching the Googles... who knows what was shared where (for example, the Economics website I do most of my conversions has hundreds of PDFs/EPUBs of books for free).

If the book isn't easily available to read online, it drops HEAVILY down on my priorities, and I would go looking for alternate sources. If it is available as Print only, it just drops to the very bottom of the barrel for me.

But again, I mostly read older Non-Fiction works and I have such a giant backlog of books to read already I will never catch up. And I am just constantly digitizing more and more books so others don't have to suffer like me.

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Old 02-07-2017, 05:49 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
Wikipedia is bizarre. They've made some great contributions, but their political content isn't just stupid - the folks at Wiki appear to be paid propagandists. I'm going to be writing a lot about Wikipedia in my political series.
I find that hard to believe, since one of the core values of Wikipedia is Neutral point of view.

Can you give us some examples of entries that are overly biased?
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:29 PM   #56
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IDPF is the standards body behind making the EPUB format. Didn't know they did much else. Have any specifics on this?
Sorry, I had my notes mixed up. The people working on this project are http://www.gutenberg.org/

I was asking for advice on hiring people to proofread public domain books that I've scanned, hopefully for a reasonable rate. A 500-page book can take literally weeks.

Someone told me that the Gutenberg project is already doing just that. I was tempted to do a little work as a volunteer just to learn a little more about proof-reading, but I haven't had time yet.

I haven't had a chance to check out Amazon's reviews and rating system yet. I'm going to look into that right now.
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:59 PM   #57
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Sorry, I had my notes mixed up. The people working on this project are http://www.gutenberg.org/

I was asking for advice on hiring people to proofread public domain books that I've scanned, hopefully for a reasonable rate. A 500-page book can take literally weeks.

Someone told me that the Gutenberg project is already doing just that. I was tempted to do a little work as a volunteer just to learn a little more about proof-reading, but I haven't had time yet.

I haven't had a chance to check out Amazon's reviews and rating system yet. I'm going to look into that right now.
Proofreading is hard work. I have seen easy books to proofread and one that took me 30 minutes to just mark the errors on page one. Those were both written by self-published authors not scanned copies.

Have you already ran them through an OCR?
There are several common reader errors to look for.
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:26 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
Have you already ran them through an OCR?
There are several common reader errors to look for.
I took a book that someone else had digitized, converted it to a PDF and then to a text file. Then I just started proof-reading it, using a little search-and-replace as an aid. I had to come up with a trick to help distinguish lower case l's from the numeral 1 and the letter O from zeroes.

But, as you know, it's virtually impossible to catch all your mistakes with just one proof-reading.
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:29 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Tex2002ans View Post
Typically you should use Amazon's Look Inside feature to at least take a glance at the quality before you buy.
Amazon's ratings and reviews are really encouraging. I've checked out some incredibly lame books that have multiple reviews, suggesting that they've sold a fair number of copies. I prefer to avoid topics that have really stiff competition, but this particular topics looks like a free ride.
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:14 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by SigilBear View Post
.... I had to come up with a trick to help distinguish lower case l's from the numeral 1 and the letter O from zeroes.
One of the best favors you can give your eyes is a better font that displays all those characters as distinctly different, and mono-space fonts are much easier to use for proofing.

I happen to like Monaco, but it is not so good with Unicode glyphs.
BP Mono and PT Mono are good ones. I posted some links in Post # 7 of this long thread that discusses proof-reading:
https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=275900
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