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Monday, January 16, 2006

Cutting It Close

Almost forgot to post again!

Not really much going today, really. Just a normal work day. It looked for most of the day like we'd get some much-needed rain overnight, but alas, it all moved off to our south.

I did some more investigation into VitalSource, and although it still looks promising, I'm disappointed by their focus on textbooks. What I really want is an iTunes for written material that will allow independent authors to publish their work, and which will combine shopping, purchasing, and viewing together in one package (possibly with an iPod-like ebook reader). It would also be great if it could provide support for multiple licenses (standard copyright, Creative Commons, GPL, etc), several formats, and maybe alternative payment options, such as the street performer protocol or prepayment escrow.

Lulu comes pretty close on the licensing aspect, and it nails the self-publishing, but its emphasis on print media keeps it from meeting my electronic criteria. Guess I'll have to keep looking (or make my own?)

3 Comments:

Anonymous Willie Abrams said...

Two things of note:

1. We want to make Bookshelf a great way independent authors to publish. One of Bookshelf programmers took part in NaNoWriMo this year.

2. I live in Arkansas. I see you do, too.

Mail me if you want to talk more or meet up.

Willie Abrams
willie AT vitalsource.com

1/17/2006 8:28 AM  
Blogger Sassy said...

I have to say Willie that if you guys want Bookshelf to be a great way independent authors publish than you need to change some stuff on your website to make that more clear.

You need an anuthors section or something so that they can see what you have to offer them in ways of distributing their work and put it in plan English for them.

I've looked at your website several times and thought "now wouldn't it be nice if I (and about 10 of my friends who write) could get our short stories, poems, screen plays, etc. published like this." But your website seems to only cater to textbook companies/authors to get their content distributed better to students.

Which is a noble business, and I would have loved it as a student, but I think you are missing out on a bigger market.

Sassy.

1/17/2006 10:21 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I think a more reader-oriented and author-oriented site in addition to the education-oriented one would be good. Lulu, for instance, makes it really obvious how to publish your work, and makes it really easy to do so.

For example, the VitalSource homepage has a link for Sell VitalBooks, but it doesn't go to a howto page or upload page, it goes to an explanation of the benefits.

Overall, I think it shows a lot of promise, and the VitalBook format seems pretty nice, but the service isn't there yet. I assume that's because right now the focus is on the primary education market until it builds a little more momentum. Don't discount the momentum potential of independent authors, though.

1/17/2006 10:48 AM  

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