Saturday, 17 September 2011

Alternative publishing

I have been looking into alternative ways of publishing recently.  There was a time when the only alternative to traditional publishing was so-called vanity publishing, and no self-respecting writer would travel that route if he or she wanted to be taken seriously.  Of course, things have changed radically.  Vanity publishing still exists as a way forward for people who want to see their book in hard-copy, and who can't get a publisher any other way.  But why bother with that route, expending your own money, when you can publish in the virtual world now?  Naturally, there are e-books, but they originally tended to come after a book had been published in hard-copy.  And print on demand is a route I have taken to get my older books republished.  All publishing systems piggy-backing on traditional publishing.
Now, though, the world of publishing has broken wide open with online publishing companies and self-publishing.  In the early days this would have merely been seen as a form of vanity publishing.  But no longer.  Manuscripts can be formatted and sold through Amazon now.  The problem remains the quality and quantity of self-published books.  Without sifting for quality and editing, many books available in this way can be dire, and the author of a good book can find his/her work lost in a sea of dross.  In the end, self-publishing presupposes self-marketing, and this is an area that many writers have had to undertake in the sphere of traditional publishing, but few actually relish.  Enter Facebook, Twitter, and author websites.  Oh, and author blogs, of course!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Book rights - part one

I am now back in Cyprus, where it's very hot and humid still.  Especially compared to England.  I was looking again at the Waterstones Bookshop site, and confirming that it is impossible to purchase and download e-books when in another country.  When I first bought my Sony E-Reader, it was for the very reason that I wanted access to new English publications while in Cyprus.  It all worked out fine at first, but then Waterstones (as other bookshops did) put an embargo on downloading outside of the UK.  It seems that there is uncertainty about territorial rights.
Now, I can buy a physical book (let's call it a p-book as opposed to an e-book) in a bookshop in the UK - the real world - and carry it abroad and read it.  That seems perfectly acceptable with a p-book.  But I can't go into a virtual bookshop online but based in the UK, buy and download an e-book - thereby 'carrying' it abroad - and read it in another country.  I could, however, buy it and download it on my computer in the UK, and then carry it physically abroad on my E-Reader!  Tell me where the common sense is in that.
I thought the Web was there to make access to information, culture, knowledge, news, and yes, books easier and better.  Here is a way of making books more widely available.  Of course, being a writer, I know the importance to my earnings of defining rights, both territorial and format.  But this needs to be sorted out.
I will have more on this subject I am sure.