Monday, January 30, 2012

Fun With Kindle

The good news is, I managed to upload both books to Kindle US, Kindle UK and Smashwords without too much difficulty.  The bad news is, there was difficulty.
There is no room for complaint, really; I did the formatting and cover tweaking for both books in the space of an afternoon and still managed to fit in a cigar break, so this should tell you how easy it is to upload an eBook (and why I get so incensed when I see people or companies charging hundreds or thousands of dollars for the "service").  But easy as it is, it is not without pitfalls.
Take the cover for my original PC book.
After my publisher returned the rights and told me I was free to do as I wished with it (i.e. self-publish it), I wrote back and asked permission to use the cover.  He never answered.  So, assuming no response is as good as a "Yes" I nicked the cover.
The copyright gods must have been angry, however, because this is what I uploaded to Kindle:

And this is what appeared on Kindle:

Repeated uploads—using different graphics—yielded the same result.  Eventually, I managed to get one to "take" and it now looks as it should.  But it was a perplexing week, and a bit frustrating when you take into account that, after each upload, there was a delay of up to 24-hours before the book appeared and I could see if the cover was all right.
And then there was the matter of the font.
I used the same template I used for More Postcards and even copied all the text from the manuscript, pasted it into Notepad and then copied it into the template, effectively removing all of MS Word's formatting.  But after setting the book up for Kindle and Smashwords and uploading them, both versions came out in Arial font.
Now, Arial is a fine font, and each version looks fine and reads okay in that font, but it is not the font I formatted the book in, and it is not the font I uploaded.  The fact that they both turned to Arial tells me there is something wrong in the template, but I cannot imagine what.  But seeing as how they look all right, I can't be arsed to track that particular formatting anomaly down; I would be at it all week and it simply would not be worth it.
The best thing, however, is finding out how Amazon Kindle deals with having two books on the site with exactly the same name and exactly the same cover.
My publisher told me they had "unpublished" the book, but you can still find a Lulu version of the book I removed from publication back in 2007, so I don't expect their version to go away anytime soon.  I am merely hoping my readers are smart enough to purchase the $0.99 version (which retails for $1.59) instead of the $9.89 version.  Otherwise, they are identical, except the new one has more reviews.

Two books, same name, different price--pick the better value
For some reason, Amazon has put all but one of the reviews gathered on the old version of the book onto the new one.  I am truly grateful for that, but I can't think of how that might have happened, or why, if they did move them, they didn't move them all.
Like the rogue font, however, it doesn't merit looking into; it's better just to accept it and move on.

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