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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ebooks Prices: Now I Understand

I've recently been trying to convert the first issue of Survival By Storytelling into a Kindle ebook, thinking it would be a fairly easy process. Technology had other ideas.

Here's what I thought was going to happen:
  1. I'd go online, pop the file into Amazon's conversion tool, and end up with a slightly imperfect file.
  2. I'd fiddle a little bit by fixing the small problems.
  3. Finish, publish, and rake in the dough to give to all my contributors.
How it actually happened:
  1. I went online, popped the file into Amazon's conversion tool, and realized that the final product was so screwed up it was practically unreadable.
  2. Tried to figure out how to fix it and found out the following:
    a) There are no magic, simple ways to change the conversion problems.
    b) It will take ten times the amount of time it took to make the print version of the book to put together a suitable Kindle version.
  3. I'm currently not finished, despite many hours of trying to figure out how to do it. I may end up throwing my hands up when the file is in "acceptable" state and get it out there.
So, having gone through all of this, I now understand why it costs so much to produce eBooks, because you could not pay me enough money to sit down and do this, day in and day out. No way. I'd rather chew on broken glass or cut my own heart out with a spoon. Seriously.

And this is supposed to be the wave of the future?

P.S.: Yes, I'm still going to get Survival By Storytelling, Issue One up on the Kindle. It'll just take me some time, because the whole thing is a pain in the butt.

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  1. Um. Unless your book is REALLY complex, something's not adding up here.

    I convert mine from word processing to kindle in about 3 minutes, and download it so I can edit while I'm on the move.

    Gimme a hollar and let's see if we can figure this out.

  2. Well, I have a table of contents. Beyond that, nothing terribly complex. The problem is dealing with all the HTML garbage and make it so the text doesn't look like garbage on an e-reader like the Kindle. For me, that's all difficult stuff, and I'm only dealing with a 114-page magazine.

    Do you have magic secrets?

  3. hm. maybe it's the "magazine" part. all i have is chapters and text. The html is about 4 "find and replace" in a text editor and adding their silly "new page" tag ahead of each chapter.