Thursday, December 10, 2009

Start of Transition Time

Today marks the beginning of a transition period in the life of our project to publish the Leica D-Lux 4 book. I took the final steps to carry out the plan to have Lightning Source, the print-on-demand company, print copies of the book as needed and distribute them to the major online sellers, such as The books and other writings about using this company (often referred to as LSI) warn that the process can be difficult for a neophyte like me, but it wasn't really too bad, maybe because I was expecting worse. I didn't have to ask anyone from the company for help, though I had received e-mails from several people with LSI giving their phone numbers in case I needed assistance.

After double-checking my Adobe InDesign file with the book's layout for formatting and any problems, I used InDesign's built-in Export function to export a pdf file, using the standard of PDF/X-1a:2001, which is what LSI requires. I also used LSI's cover template generator to request a cover template. That process was a little trickier; after I gave the the number of pages and other specifications (color cover and interior; trim size of 5.5 by 8.5 inches, etc.), LSI e-mailed me an InDesign cover template with a bar code containing the ISBN and price of the book. I then had to insert the graphic elements of my cover design onto that template. That was a bit tricky for me, but Clenise helped me, and eventually we got the cover looking just like it looks now, with everything in its place.

Now, unless LSI finds any problems with the cover or text files I uploaded, we will receive a proof copy of the book within a week or two. Once the proof is approved, the book should start being distributed to any online seller that requests copies. Also, I can order copies myself, so I can keep selling the book on Amazon Marketplace and on my web site if I'm so inclined.

The book won't be in bookstores, because I selected to have a "short discount" of 20%. Bookstores require a discount of something like 40% or more, so you probably won't find this book in Borders or Barnes & Noble stores, at least in the near future. Who knows what could happen later on.

Orders through Amazon Marketplace and my own site have continued to flow in at a fairly steady pace of roughly six or eight per day, though I have put my Google AdWords campaign on pause. It gets tiring to keep filling individual orders, and I will be glad in a way when LSI starts to handle printing and distribution.

Today we had two more orders from Sweden, after one other recently, and one from Finland the other day, so I guess there may be some sort of announcement about the book on a Swedish web site that I'm not aware of.

I'm still offering the color and black-and-white versions of the book; I haven't made an official count, but I would estimate that sales of the color version are about ten times the sales of the black-and-white version. I'm sending LSI only the color version, and once LSI starts printing the books, I will have to decide what to do about the black-and-white one. One possibility would be for Clenise and me to keep producing that version on our printers, because the cost of black toner would be manageable, and the volume of sales probably would be low enough to be manageable also.

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