Getting past
“good enough” ebooks


            Liza Daly
    Threepress Consulting Inc.
What’s wrong with
commercial ebooks today:
A case study


          $7.16 from the Sony Store
                 ePub format...
Book Title




          Author




Print        Ebook
The reading experience:




                 Book Title




                   Author




                      Page 1
The reading experience:




                    Page 2
The reading experience:




                    Page 3
The reading experience:




                    Page 4
The reading experience:


                                         Useless print-only
                                    ...
The reading experience:




                    Page 5
The reading experience:




                    Page 6
All ereaders provide a
 method of navigating
 the table of contents.

 Drop the TOC from
      book content!


       Tabl...
(The rare exception would be books with
table of contents that contain authorial content
           or are specially desig...
Finally we get to the book...




                        Page 7!
Google and others have shown
that in a digital world, milliseconds count.




                         Users who
         ...
On ereading devices, turning a page
 can take from 2 to 20 seconds.
On ereading devices, turning a page
  can take from 2 to 20 seconds.


   You want users hooked
        immediately.
  The...
On ereading devices, turning a page
  can take from 2 to 20 seconds.


   You want users hooked
        immediately.
  The...
On the Kindle platform, book samples are
     5-10% of the total book size.
On the Kindle platform, book samples are
     5-10% of the total book size.

   This sample book was 263 pages.
         5...
It could be worse!
You want this:
Ebook buyers decide
on purchases based on:

 Traditional marketing
    Online reviews
   Sample chapters
There’s no excuse for bad
 editorial just because it’s
         an ebook.


     Here the very first
     occurrence of the...
How does this happen?

           Ebooks are created
          before the final proofs.


           They’re outsourced.


...
A crash course in ebook quality control:
1. Get a smartphone or eink device.


Choose the one that best reflects
where customers will be reading your
books.

If you...
2. Put the ebook on it and check each
page through the end of the first chapter.

 Consider the 5% rule. After reading 5%
 ...
3. Basic editorial rules still apply!




Ebook buyers don’t like typos or bad line
breaks any more than print readers.

B...
In some cases, pirated
ebooks are superior to
professionally-produced
ones.
Official ePub edition has
   weird line breaks.
Pirated version has bi-
                     directional TOC links,
                    footnotes and endnotes
           ...
Ebook QA checklist

• Reconsider releasing ebooks from early
  proofs.
• Eliminate unnecessary front-matter.
• Check on at...
Thanks.


Liza Daly
Threepress Consulting Inc.
http://threepress.org/

liza@threepress.org
Twitter: @liza
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Getting Past Good Enough Ebooks: Liza Daly

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Liza Daly's Digital Book World Presentation
January 27, 2010
http://digitalbookworld.com

Liza Daly
@liza
http://threepress.org/

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Transcript of "Getting Past Good Enough Ebooks: Liza Daly"

  1. 1. Getting past “good enough” ebooks Liza Daly Threepress Consulting Inc.
  2. 2. What’s wrong with commercial ebooks today: A case study $7.16 from the Sony Store ePub format Picked entirely at random. Names obscured to protect the innocent.
  3. 3. Book Title Author Print Ebook
  4. 4. The reading experience: Book Title Author Page 1
  5. 5. The reading experience: Page 2
  6. 6. The reading experience: Page 3
  7. 7. The reading experience: Page 4
  8. 8. The reading experience: Useless print-only notice Information ISBN doesn’t match suggesting this is the any metadata on the paperback edition Sony ebook site, and is not the ebook ISBN Page 4
  9. 9. The reading experience: Page 5
  10. 10. The reading experience: Page 6
  11. 11. All ereaders provide a method of navigating the table of contents. Drop the TOC from book content! Table of Contents in Adobe Digital Editions
  12. 12. (The rare exception would be books with table of contents that contain authorial content or are specially designed.) A Field Guide to the Birds (Peterson 1934)
  13. 13. Finally we get to the book... Page 7!
  14. 14. Google and others have shown that in a digital world, milliseconds count. Users who encountered only an additional 200 ms delay in web page loading demonstrated a drop in engagement.
  15. 15. On ereading devices, turning a page can take from 2 to 20 seconds.
  16. 16. On ereading devices, turning a page can take from 2 to 20 seconds. You want users hooked immediately. They won’t page for up to a minute just to figure out if they like the book.
  17. 17. On ereading devices, turning a page can take from 2 to 20 seconds. You want users hooked immediately. They won’t page for up to a minute just to figure out if they like the book. They’ll go buy a different book.
  18. 18. On the Kindle platform, book samples are 5-10% of the total book size.
  19. 19. On the Kindle platform, book samples are 5-10% of the total book size. This sample book was 263 pages. 5% of 263 is 13 pages. This means half of the user’s preview was wasted on front matter.
  20. 20. It could be worse!
  21. 21. You want this:
  22. 22. Ebook buyers decide on purchases based on: Traditional marketing Online reviews Sample chapters
  23. 23. There’s no excuse for bad editorial just because it’s an ebook. Here the very first occurrence of the protagonist’s name is misspelled. (It’s “Vere.”)
  24. 24. How does this happen? Ebooks are created before the final proofs. They’re outsourced. Publishers lack the resources to evaluate the quality of the conversions.
  25. 25. A crash course in ebook quality control:
  26. 26. 1. Get a smartphone or eink device. Choose the one that best reflects where customers will be reading your books. If you only sell on Amazon, get a Kindle. If you’re selling business books, get a smartphone.
  27. 27. 2. Put the ebook on it and check each page through the end of the first chapter. Consider the 5% rule. After reading 5% of the book, do you know what it’s about? Ideally the very first thing you see should be “Chapter One”. “Front matter” can go at the end, or be removed.
  28. 28. 3. Basic editorial rules still apply! Ebook buyers don’t like typos or bad line breaks any more than print readers. Badly-formatted ebooks are often returned.
  29. 29. In some cases, pirated ebooks are superior to professionally-produced ones.
  30. 30. Official ePub edition has weird line breaks.
  31. 31. Pirated version has bi- directional TOC links, footnotes and endnotes even though it was scanned from paper. Nice color cover:
  32. 32. Ebook QA checklist • Reconsider releasing ebooks from early proofs. • Eliminate unnecessary front-matter. • Check on at least one commercial ereader. • The first chapter is your marketing plan.
  33. 33. Thanks. Liza Daly Threepress Consulting Inc. http://threepress.org/ liza@threepress.org Twitter: @liza

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