Thursday, December 16, 2010

Making Transition to WordPress Site; Improving Web Site; D-Lux 5 Book Status

I am in the process of setting up my new, easier-to-maintain web site using the WordPress system. You can see the new site at  This blog will also migrate to that site, though I haven't figured out all the details of how to accomplish that yet. For now, I'm writing my blog posts on Blogger, then I'll import them to the WordPress site.

Today I sent Amazon a message asking them to link the Kindle edition of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book to the print edition of the book, which they haven't done yet, 48 hours after the Kindle edition went live the other day.

I found out good news today about the print edition of the book about the Leica D-Lux 5 camera; I checked at the Lightning Source site, and found that both the text file and the cover file that I submitted have been accepted after their technical inspections. The next step will be for the company to print a proof of the book and send it to me overnight for approval. I hope to receive the proof copy by early next week, and hopefully approve it quickly; after that, the print version of the D-Lux 5 book will start becoming available gradually on, then, more slowly, on and other Amazon (and non-Amazon online retailers') sites.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sales of Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book; Status of Leica D-Lux 5 Book

The book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera is selling fairly well. Actually, it may be selling somewhat better as an e-book for download than as a physical paperback. It is getting a reasonably good sales rank on for the Kindle version, which just started selling yesterday, and it is still selling some PDF copies.  The newest book, the one about the Leica D-Lux 5, has started selling fairly well in PDF, which is the only version available right now.  The last time I checked with the printer, Lightning Source, the files for the printed D-Lux 5 book were still in "premedia," meaning the technicians are checking the files to make sure they meet all the required standards before the book can actually be printed. That process should take no more than another day or two, unless a problem is found with the files.

Today I noticed that the Lumix LX5 book is also selling in a Kindle version in the U.K., on There are separate sales of Kindle versions on the US and UK Amazon sites, for some technical reason; a US Amazon user apparently can't purchase a Kindle version from the UK site, and vice-versa.  Anyway, Amazon still has not linked the print editions to the Kindle editions; their help system says to give them 48 hours to make those links, and then let them know of the issue.  I'll send them a message tomorrow if the links have not yet been made.

For now, here is the link to the LX5 Kindle edition in the UK, for any readers in the UK who would like to purchase that edition of the LX5 book.

I'm also in the process of getting ready to switch my web site and this blog over to a WordPress-based system, which I hope will be easier for me to maintain.  So, if you see the web site take on a very different appearance in the near future, that will be the reason.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book Now Available for Kindle on Amazon

I submitted the Kindle file for the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book to Amazon on Sunday, December 12, and it became live and available on Amazon for sale this afternoon, by about 2:00 Eastern time.  That was pretty fast. The only problem now is that the Kindle version is not linked to the paperback version, so someone who finds either version on Amazon won't be aware that the other one exists without doing a separate search. I'm not sure if Amazon will automatically create that link; if not, I will send them a message asking them to link the two editions.  Here is a link to the Kindle edition of the Lumix LX5 book.  The Kindle edition sells for $9.99, about the same as the PDF, which is sold through my web site at  It will be interesting to see which of those two e-book versions sells better.

I'm very grateful to Guy Parsons in Australia for his help in providing comments on the final draft of the Leica D-Lux 5 book, which has gone to the printer.  Guy also pointed out some issues with my web site, which I have corrected, though the appearance of the site still could use some more work. Guy is a frequent contributor to the forums at, particularly the Panasonic Talk forum, and he also maintains his own excellent web site about the Panasonic LX3 camera and related topics, as well as about other cameras and photography topics.

As for the availability of the Leica D-Lux 5 book, it is available now in PDF format through my web site, and I'm hoping that the paperback version will be available on starting within a week or two from now; that schedule largely depends on how quickly Lightning Source, the printing company, starts producing copies.

Monday, December 13, 2010

D-Lux 5 Book Should Be Available Soon in Print; PDF is Available Now

Tonight, with a lot of help from Clenise in putting the finishing touches on the book's cover, I finally got the PDF files uploaded to Lightning Source, the print-on-demand printing company, for the book about the Leica D-Lux 5.  Now I will keep my fingers crossed that the files get accepted and processed without any problems. If that happens, I should get a proof copy shipped back to me from LSI within about a week. If the proof looks okay, then the book should start to gradually become available on, then and other sites.

The downloadable PDF version of the Leica D-Lux 5 book started selling this morning, but a glitch occurred that caused me some unhappy moments.  This evening, as I was getting the PDFs ready to upload to LSI, I noticed that an image on one page of the book's text had shifted slightly, and was covering up a couple of lines of text on that page.  I hoped that mistake wasn't in the PDF version that was already on sale, but that was not to be.  The error was staring me in the face.  Luckily, only about 5 copies of that PDF had sold by then, so I quickly got a crash course in how to replace the PDF on the server of the company, FastSpring, that handles sales of the PDFs for me. (FastSpring has been an excellent company to deal with, by the way -- a very efficient operation with excellent customer support.)

I quickly sent e-mails to everyone who bought one of the PDFs with the problem, and then followed up with an e-mail with a new link to download the corrected file.  One of the purchasers sent me back a message saying he had downloaded the new file, so hopefully that solution worked out okay for everyone. It was a good learning experience for me, though I already knew that, no matter how much I check things, something can always go wrong.

Anyway, the corrected PDF is up for sale now, and the double- and triple-checked PDFs for printing have been uploaded to the printer; now it's a matter of waiting a few days to see when the printed D-Lux 5 books become available to sell.

One other bit of news today -- I notified the administrator at Leica Rumors ( about the release of the PDF version of the D-Lux 5 book, and he, who has been great, very quickly posted a nice notice about the book. Later on, when the print book is available, he may run a giveaway contest for a copy of the book. Having the book mentioned on a site like that is great for getting the book noticed, and I really appreciated his responsiveness.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The D-Lux 5 Book is Now Available in PDF

Well, today, partly spurred on by comments and e-mails from a few people asking when the D-Lux 5 book would be ready, I worked steadily through the day at proofreading and fine-tuning the book.  A few minutes ago, I set it up for sale in a PDF version, at my web site,  The ordering page and other information on the site don't look quite as good as they did earlier, because I had a professional designer create the site originally; for today, I had to just go in with Dreamweaver and struggle until I got it to work. Later on I plan to learn more about web design, and I'm going to try to switch to a system I can better handle by myself, so I can make changes quickly without the site looking like it was attacked by vandals.  Anyway, I believe the links are all working. I'll provide a link here directly to the purchase page for the PDF version of the book, in case anyone doesn't want to have to navigate all the way through the web site.

Also today, I received word from the company that does Kindle conversions for me that they have finished their work of converting the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 for the Amazon Kindle reading device.  So, my next task tonight will be to check over that finished product and, if it looks okay, upload it to Amazon for sale through their Kindle store.

And, of course, I still have to put together all the files and other work to get the paperback version of the Leica D-Lux 5 book into production, which will probably take a few days more. So, plenty of work to do, but things are progressing well.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Home Stretch for D-Lux 5 Book; Some Progress in the U.K.

Today I finished what may be the final draft of the book about the Leica D-Lux 5 digital camera.  I fine-tuned it, read through it, and spell-checked it, and generated the index and table of contents one more time.  I took new photographs today for the illustration of the the three different histograms -- for underexposed, overexposed, and properly exposed images. I also took a new portrait of my wife, Clenise, for the illustration of the Portrait category under Scene mode, and I extracted a new example of the purple lines that sometimes show up in videos on the D-Lux 5. I could go on taking new photos and tweaking existing ones, but I think I'm essentially done now. I worked on designing the book's cover, and sent a PDF version out to one camera buff who's been very helpful in reading drafts of earlier books. So, if I can pull all the last-minute details together, I may release the PDF version within the next day or two.

As for sales of existing books, there was a minor step forward today at  They initially listed the LX5 book as unavailable, then available within 2-4 weeks, and recently as available within 2-3 weeks.  Now it's listed as available within 1-3 weeks, which I guess is progress of a sort. They do say it won't arrive before Christmas, though.

For the PDF version of the LX5 book, there have been six sales today, to buyers from Australia, the UK, Italy, and the Philippines, in addition to the US. The book's sales rank at has been staying fairly steady, in the range of about 11,000 to 15,000.  The book is still being sold by Amazon for the full retail price of $24.95.  Amazon did receive my shipment of 12 books for the Advantage program today, but I'm not sure if that small number of books (which are discounted quite heavily) will have any effect on pricing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finishing Up D-Lux 5 Book

Today there was not much new in the sales area -- several sales of the PDF version of the Panasonic LX5 book; the book is selling some copies on Amazon also. Today my main focus was getting the new book about the Leica D-Lux 5 ready to be published. I'm making good progress, and hope to have it done within a week. I'm working on making the PDF version more interactive, with hyperlinks where possible.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shipping Lumix LX5 Books to Amazon; Finishing D-Lux 5 Book

Yesterday I received an order from for 286 copies of the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book.  This order came through the "Amazon Advantage" program, which lets smaller publishers send books to Amazon for Amazon to sell directly. This can be a useful program, except that Amazon requires a hefty discount for the books it buys.  In my case, this discount means that I lose money on every copy of the Lumix LX5 book that I send in. Anyway, I don't have 286 copies of the book, so I filled the order partially, with the 12 copies I had available, and shipped them off yesterday.  I don't need to send books to Amazon this way, because the books are being printed by the print-on-demand company, Lightning Source, and they supply all the books Amazon needs.  I wanted to send in this one shipment, though, to see if it has any effect on the pricing.  Maybe with the heavily discounted books, Amazon will charge less than the list price of $24.95, which I think may be holding down sales.  We should see in a few days, after those books arrive at their destination.

I've been able to focus more of my attention on finishing up the book about the Leica D-Lux 5, and I may be able to have a final version ready within a week, if all goes well from here on. I would like to have it available at least in PDF form before Christmas, and that seems like a realistic possibility at this point.

I have stopped selling books on as a third-party seller, because several other sellers are offering the LX5 book there at a reasonable price, so there's no need for me to do so, and it's expensive to ship the books from here in Virginia to the UK and Europe; I only get paid the UK rate for those shipments.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book Sales Update; Leica D-Lux 5 Book Update

Not too much news tonight --  I had to work on something else, so I wasn't able to make any progress on the book about the Leica D-Lux 5, though I hope to work on it again soon. I still hope to have it finished within a week or two.  Today there were pretty good sales of the PDF version of the Panasonic LX5 book -- 14 copies have sold to buyers from Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Belgium, in addition to several U.S. states. The sales vary a good deal from day to day.  It's hard to tell how many are selling in paperback form through Amazon, but I would say probably around 5 copies per day as a rough estimate, so sales seem to be better for the downloadable version at least as of now.   If that's true, the reason is at least in part that Amazon still is not discounting the book at all, and I have no way to get them to start discounting it.  Also, Amazon in the US still does not keep the book in stock, so the listing there says "additional shipping time" is required; and, in the U.K., the shipping time is still listed as 2-3 weeks, which might easily cause someone to get the PDF version instead of waiting for a paperback to be shipped.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Response to Comment and General Update

A commenter asked earlier today if I might write a guide book to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 camera.  I have occasionally had people send me e-mail messages with similar questions about other cameras.  I appreciate your asking, but unfortunately I don't have that particular camera in line for a book; I'd love to do more books, but I don't have enough resources to do more than a few per year, at least for the present.  There is good news for users of the Panasonic GF1, though -- there is at least one very good book that covers that camera in detail -- a guide written by David Busch and Dan Simon.  I have had the opportunity to assist David with some of his other books, and I know firsthand that his books are very well done and provide a lot of excellent information. So, you may want to look into that book, and there may be others available also.

As for the update on my current camera books, today there was a little bit of a change at  For the past several days, they had listed the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 as "Usually ships in 2 to 4 weeks."  Now, for whatever reason, it is listed as usually shipping within 2 to 3 weeks. That is some improvement, I guess, though I really wouldn't want to have to wait 2 weeks or more for a book I purchased to ship.  I expect the actual shipping time is getting shorter and shorter, but it won't be really satisfactory until purchases some books to keep in stock, so they can ship them overnight.

I hope to make some more progress on the Leica D-Lux 5 book tonight; I believe I'm still on track to get it done within the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Concentrating on D-Lux 5 Book; LX5 Sales Improving

Today I finished up some other work and now I can concentrate more closely on finishing up the book about the Leica D-Lux 5 camera.  The existing book about its near-twin, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5, is starting to sell a little better on Amazon now, judging from the changes in its sales rank. On the US site,, the book is listed as "in stock," though with a note that it needs "additional shipping time." But this is better than in the UK, where says the book usually ships within "2 to 4 weeks."  Still, the book seems to be selling somewhat on I 'm just hoping the usual shipping time there will be reduced before too long.

I've had several people ask me when the D-Lux 5 book will be available, and I've been saying I hope to have it out in downloadable PDF by mid-December, and then in paperback not long after that.   I think I'm still on course for that schedule, though I definitely don't want to rush it out and have its quality suffer.  So, I still hope for a December release of the D-Lux 5 book.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book is Now More Available at

I'm not sure if "more available" is the best way to put it, but that was the best short phrase I could think of.  Today, the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera is shown on as usually shipping within 2 to 4 weeks.  I guess that's better than "Temporarily Unavailable," which was its status for the past several days, though I'm not sure.  Two to four weeks sounds like a long time to wait for your order, especially for those who are ordering with Christmas in mind, now 3 weeks away. But this listing shows the gradual progress a book makes on the various Amazon sites, going from unlisted to unavailable to somewhat available; eventually, it should be listed as in stock and ready to ship for overnight delivery, but I don't know how soon that will happen.  In the meantime, there are still some third-party sellers offering the book on the UK Amazon site (including me), who will ship the book much more quickly than 2 to 4 weeks.

No progress today on the D-Lux 5 book, because I had to work on another project for a day or two, but I hope to finish the other project up soon, and then I should be able to concentrate on getting the D-Lux 5 book finished, possibly by mid to late December, first in PDF and later in paperback.

Friday, December 3, 2010

More Lumix LX5 Books for

Today I was glad to get an e-mail message from the owner of ordering more copies of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book. They are an excellent specialty online seller of camera books of all types, and I'm glad to have them carry my books.

Other than that, not too much news today. The LX5 book seems to be selling a bit more steadily now on in the U.S., since it is now shown as "In Stock."  In the UK, at, it is still shown as "Temporarily Out of Stock," but they are taking orders, and there are now a few third-party sellers listing the book at reasonable prices, so sales seem to be picking up there a bit, based on the sales rank.

I made more good progress on the D-Lux 5 book today, though I still have several more days of work to do on it, and I have other projects that need to be done in the same time frame, so I'm still shooting for getting the PDF version ready before the end of December, and the paperback version as soon after that as possible.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Selling Some Books on eBay; No Discounts Yet on Amazon

Now I have a good supply of the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera; I ordered 26 copies from the printer so I could sell them on and until those sites started showing the book as in stock and ready to ship.  Well, as it turned out, very quickly has gotten the book's status to the point of being shown as in stock, but taking some extra time to ship. On, orders are being taken, though the book is shown as "Temporarily Out of Stock." However, there are several third-party sellers there now, so I really don't need to sell the book on either Amazon site at this point. So, tonight I listed the book on eBay again, as I did last week, to give it one more avenue for people to find it. I have already had one sale, to a buyer in NY state.

One reason I may have made a sale on eBay is that I listed the book at $19.95 instead of the regular list price of $24.95, which is what it sells for on Amazon.  For some reason, Amazon has not discounted the book at all. In the past, with my similar books, it often sold them at $19.95, and sometimes even for $17.95.  It's much better for me when Amazon sells the books at a discount. I get the same payment for the books no matter what price Amazon sells them for, but they naturally sell considerably better when the price is discounted. There's nothing I can do about the pricing; as long as Amazon pays me (or the printer, in this case, who then pays me), they can charge the public whatever they want. I just hope that some competition will arise from other retailers selling the book, so Amazon will eventually sell it at a discount.

On the D-Lux 5 book, I made good progress today.  If everything goes well, I hope to have it ready to start selling later this month.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Steady Progress on Amazon; New Shipment of Books Arrived

As of today, the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera guide book is listed on as "In Stock," but with the notice that it takes extra time to ship, so people need to order early if they want it for Christmas. Actually, I believe it would ship quite quickly now, because the print-on-demand company is now fully geared up to print the book with the revised PDF files.

At, the progress is still slow; the book is listed as "Temporarily Out of Stock," but now there is one other third-party seller (besides me), a company located in the UK that can ship the books quite quickly. So, in that sense, the book now is in stock for shipment in the UK. No one has ordered one from me lately, so if any are being sold in the UK, it's by with orders that they will fill later, or by the other third-party seller.

I'm making fairly good progress on the book about the Leica D-Lux 5, but it looks as if it will be a few more weeks before I can finish it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Availability of Lumix LX5 Book is Improving; a Good Review on Amazon

Today the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera was listed as "In Stock" at, and not with the "shipping in 1 to 3 weeks" language -- just "In Stock," though the listing does say the item takes longer than other items to ship. But at least it's not listed as "Temporarily Unavailable," as it was for a week or so before now.

Also, at, things have now improved so the book is listed there as "Temporarily Unavailable," but they are taking orders, which is a considerable improvement over "Unavailable," with the added language that they had no idea when or if it would ever be in stock!  I have listed some copies on as a third-party seller, but none of them have sold, maybe because Amazon now says it will take orders.

Also, I received a very nice five-star review on the LX5 book today on, which may help get the book selling a bit better.  Sales have been pretty slow so far, partly because of the availability issues, I guess.

Monday, November 29, 2010

More Panasonic Lumix LX5 Books Are on the Way

I was very pleased a few moments ago to receive an e-mail message from Lightning Source, the print-on-demand printing company, saying that my new order of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 books is on the way, and will arrive here on Wednesday, December 1. The book is still listed as "Unavailable" at, and I have had some people e-mail me to ask when it will be available there. For some reason, no third-party sellers are selling the book on Amazon in the UK right now, but I will list them there as soon as they arrive and I have them physically in hand. I may also list some on Amazon in the US, though the book is now listed on that site as shipping within 1 to 3 weeks, and it does appear to be selling some copies there.

I am continuing to work on the book about the Leica D-Lux 5 as time permits.  Yesterday I updated the table of contents to be an automatically generated one in Adobe InDesign, which will make it much easier to finalize the text -- I won't have to keep adjusting the table of contents manually as changes are made. Also, when I generate a PDF version to sell online, the page numbers in the table of contents will be hyperlinked to the pages they represent, which will make the book easier to navigate for the reader.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book is Back in Stock at

The system for getting the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera back in production seems to be working well. The revised proof of the book's text was just approved two days ago, on Friday, and this morning the book's listing on shows that the book ships within 1 to 3 weeks. That doesn't sound so great, but it's a lot better than "Temporarily Unavailable," which is what the listing said for the past week or more. Now the availability should improve gradually over the next several days; fairly soon it should say "In Stock" and eventually, I hope, will make the book available for overnight shipping.

Things don't look so good yet at, the United Kingdom site, where the book is still listed as "Unavailable," with no one selling it. I will list some copies for sale myself as soon as I receive them from the printer, but that won't be until later in the coming week. Eventually, the print-on-demand system will get the books automatically available in the UK, but it seems to take quite a long time for that to happen, possibly a few more weeks.  I'll be monitoring the situation there, because there are usually a good number of people in the UK who are interested in photography books, and I will try to make the book available there as much as I possibly can.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Proof Approved; More Books on the Way

I was very pleased to see that Lightning Source was as good as its word in getting the revised text file of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book reviewed and approved quickly. I received word earier today that it had been approved, and it just needed my approval, which I quickly gave.  Now, in a matter of a few days, the book should be back in production and then should start showing up again as "available" on and  I tried to keep it available on myself by selling copies as a third-party seller, and I have sold about 5 copies that way, but I don't have more copies to sell, and without me selling them the book is listed as "unavailable" on the UK site. I have ordered another shipment of books to be sent to me from Lightning Source, and as soon as I receive those I will list them again on, unless Amazon has started shipping them itself by then.

Today I ended my experiment of selling books on eBay.  I sold one book to a gentleman from Argentina who sent me a couple of friendly messages asking about the book before he ended up buying a copy. I shipped it this morning. I took the other copies off of eBay, though, so I would have some to sell on and Actually, the cost of shipping the books to the UK and other countries is quite high, and I don't get fully reimbursed, so I may be losing money on some of these sales, but I believe it's important to get the book out to those who want to have it, and maybe some of them will post reviews on the Amazon sites that could help sales. Also, I don't like the idea of there being people who want to read my book, but can't find a copy.

Soon, I hope to get back to work on the D-Lux 5 book, but I have been busy with other things.  I may be able to return to that project during the coming week.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Shipment of Books Arrived Today; Waiting for Lightning Source

It's a good thing I ordered another shipment of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 books from the printer, Lightning Source, last week.  The books arrived today, so I can sell them on and as a third-party seller, and today I also listed them on eBay as Buy It Now items, so there will be more chances for people to discover the book.  It's a good thing, because the book is still listed as "temporarily unavailable" at and most of the other online outlets. That's going to be the case for at least the next few days, because, at the suggestion of my customer service rep at Lightning Source, I submitted a slightly revised text file yesterday, and it will take a few more days for it to work its way through the system so that the book is in full production again. It's undoubtedly good in the long run to have a more solid text file in production, so, once the process has gotten back up to speed everything should be fine.

Not much else to report. Tomorrow I'll pause for Thanksgiving with the family, then back to working on book production, etc.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Elusive Goal of a Book that is Always "In Stock"

Well, the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 is still listed as "temporarily out of stock" on It seems to be unavailable on any of the various Amazon sites except, for some reason, in Canada, at  I have communicated with my representative at Lightning Source several times today, and she has been very helpful and responsive. I submitted a revised interior text file today, and they have already checked it and found it to look fine. They will put it into production as soon as possible, hopefully within a few days, though Thanksgiving will slow things down a bit. Then, maybe by next week, the book will show up as "available" and "in stock" again at Amazon.  At least I hope so.  Though, as far as I can tell, Amazon continues to take orders for the book, and will ship them out as soon as more books are printed.

Also, tomorrow I will be receiving a shipment of books that were printed recently, before the switchover to the new file.  (The books will look the same as before; the file change was just for a technical reason that doesn't affect the appearance of the books.) So, I will fill orders as a third-party seller, for anyone who wants to order from me.  I have had one or two orders on and one order on so far; I realize many people prefer to order from Amazon directly; I'm like that myself, partly because of the very quick shipping with Amazon Prime.

So, stay tuned for further developments, but now I believe it will be anywhere from several days to a week or more before the LX5 book becomes fully "in stock" at

Monday, November 22, 2010

Amazon Mystery Solved; Reply to Comment

First, I'll reply to a commenter, who asked a reasonable question about why you can't just attach a filter to the Panasonic Lumix LX5's lens rather than having to use a conversion adapter. The answer has to do with the nature of the lens on the LX5, which extends outward when you turn on the camera. If you attached a filter directly to the lens, it would block the lens, and the camera could not operate. You see this situation if you turn on the camera in recording mode with the lens cap attached -- the camera comes to a stop and gives you an error message about removing the lens cap.  So, you need to attach the conversion adapter, which provides a space into which the lens can extend, and the filter or wide-angle lens is attached at the end of that space, beyond the end of the lens.

Now, on to the Amazon situation.  I had been quite concerned because was listing the LX5 book as "unavailable."  I thought at first that was some glitch with Amazon's inventory or computer system, but this morning I e-mailed my customer service rep at Lightning Source, the print-on-demand company.  I expected her to say there was some issue with Amazon, and they would fix it.  To my surprise, though, she replied within a couple of hours, telling me that the book had been pulled from production because of an error with a corrupt font. That was a surprise, because the pdf file with the book's text had passed all of the technical tests before being approved for printing.  I don't know how the error cropped up further down the road.  Anyway, the printing experts at Lightning Source somehow fixed or worked around the problem, and the book was back in production by the time I got my response.  The rep suggested I send a revised text file anyway, though, to avoid any future problems.  I prepared a new file tonight, and I'll probably upload it tomorrow, if it can be done without interrupting the printing process any more.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Amazon Can Be Hard to Figure Out at Times

I have been trying my best to make sure the new book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera is available as widely as possible to people who would like to buy it. I have been contacted by some potential buyers who couldn't find it at a reasonable price in the U.K., and, as I mentioned here recently, I have now signed up as a seller on so I can make the book directly available to purchasers from that site. As of now, I am the only source of this book on the Amazon UK site, but no one has bought a copy yet. I guess they may not like the idea of waiting for the book to be shipped from the US to the UK, though I do ship quickly via First Class Mail International, which should not take much more than a week.  And, I have to ship for the domestic (UK) postage amount, not what it actually costs me to ship to the UK. Oh, well.  Maybe some sales will come eventually.  I think things may pick up when finally starts selling the book directly itself from the print-on-demand system, which is slow getting up to speed.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S. . . .   things are a bit hard to understand here, also. Amazon had the LX5 book listed as "In Stock" for a couple of weeks, but then, as of yesterday, they started listing it as "Temporarily Out of Stock," advising buyers they can order now and the book will be shipped when it is in stock again.  I don't understand what causes this sort of situation -- the print-on-demand company is supposed to supply Amazon with as many books as it needs whenever it orders them. There must be some sort of glitch or hangup in the mechanism, which hopefully will get sorted out very soon.  Here again, I went ahead and listed the book for sale as a third-party seller on, because I do have some (not many) copies in stock, and will ship them quickly if anyone orders one.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm Now a UK Seller on Amazon, and Search Inside the Book is Finally Working

I feel I made substantial progress today in the two areas mentioned in the title of this post. To take the more routine one first, the "Search Inside the Book" function finally started working on Amazon in the US for the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera book.  This means that potential buyers of the book can look at various pages in PDF format, including the Contents, Index, and the first few pages.  Also, they can enter a search term and see any reference to it on a page of the book.  Some authors and publishers don't use this feature because they're afraid people won't need to buy the book if they can search through it on Amazon, but my opinion is that it helps people decide whether or not the book is one they're really interested in buying.  Anyway, I have set this up for all three of my books on Amazon.  This time it seemed to take a long time for the PDF files I submitted to be processed and to show up in the book's listing; I submitted them on November 7 and it took 12 days.  Anyway, I'm glad it finally worked out.

The bigger news, at least from my point of view, is that, a little while ago, I finally succeeded in setting myself up as a seller on  I never had any intention of doing so, but recently the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 was listed as "Unavailable" on Amazon in the UK.  For a while there were a few third-party sellers selling it there, then just one, selling it at an outlandish price of more than 1,000 pounds, and then, for the past few days, the book was listed as "Unavailable."  I hated seeing that word, so I worked through the system to get listed as a seller on the UK Amazon site.  I probably was doing something wrong at first, so it took me quite a number of tries until I succeeded.  When I finally did, the process was quite smooth. After I entered my basic information, including addresss, phone number, bank account, e-mail, and credit card, I receive a call on my cell phone from a British voice (a recording) asking me to enter a 4-digit PIN that had shown up on my computer screen.  I entered the number, and, within a few more steps on the computer, I had the LX5 book listed for sale. Here is the listing for the LX5 book in the UK.

I know there have been some potential buyers in the UK who were frustrated at not being able to purchase the printed book at a reasonable price. Of course, now the book has to ship from here in the US to the UK.  The good part for UK buyers, though, is that, because I am listed as a UK seller, I'm required to ship the book to UK buyers at the domestic postage rate, not the international rate, so they will save a good deal on shipping costs.  I ship quickly, within one business day after receiving an order, so hopefully this system will work out okay for the buyers and for me.  We'll soon see, I guess.

Otherwise, today has been very quiet.  I have had only one order for the downloadable PDF.  There's no way of knowing why things quieted down so much; hopefully they will pick up again before too long.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Frustration at Getting Books Sold in the U.K.

Today a potential buyer of the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera sent me a message asking why the book has been priced so high on  Until recently, it was priced somewhere in the range of £26 or  £30 and above; one or two sellers had it listed at more than £1,000.  In the U.S., the retail price is $24.95, which translates to roughly £15.50.

I replied, telling him that I am just as frustrated as he and other potential buyers in the U.K. may be at the high price of the book there.  The problem is, all I can do is make the book available and set the list price, which I did; I believe I set it at £16.95.  As of now, is not selling the book on its own; evidently the print-on-demand mechanism is not yet sufficiently geared up to have the book printed and available for sale there.  I have an agreement with the printer, Lightning Source, to make the book available in the U.K., but it seems to take much longer for the book to become officially available through Amazon itself over there than here in the U.S., where it has been available for some time.

The book was available at through some third-party sellers, as I noted, but they are able to choose their own prices, which they did, none of which was the actual list price.

What's worse is that now, no sellers are listing the book for sale on, so Amazon is listing the book as "unavailable."

I tried to sign up as a third-party seller on, but have so far been unable to do so; I got part of the way through the process of listing the books for sale on the site, but then I got an error message, with no good information on how to proceed.

So, for now, here is all I can say to buyers in the U.K. or elsewhere who want to buy the book from  First, the book is now in stock and available through, an excellent small business in the U.S. that sells photography books online.  They do an excellent job with international orders, so you can order from them at the list price of $24.95 plus shipping.

As another alternative, I have listed a couple of my own copies of the book (brand new from the printer) at in the U.S., where I am able to sell items with no problem.  My seller name there is alexstrawhite, and I am selling the books for $24.95 plus shipping.  Of course, the cost and time to get to the buyer will be greater than if the books were being sold from the UK, but at least the price is the list price.  Also, I am a fast shipper; I will ship the books out via First Class Mail International the next business day after an order comes in.

So, although I expect to start having the book available for direct sale before too long, in the meantime, there are at least two other ways for anyone who wants the book to order one at the normal list price.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reply to Comment; Latest Situation with Amazon Sales

Well, I guess it was inevitable that someone would, as they did in a comment late yesterday, ask me to get embroiled in the raging debate over whether there is actually any difference between the images taken by the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera and its near-identical sibling, the Leica D-Lux 5. The short answer is that I don't have a good answer. I have followed many discussion threads on this topic in the Leica Talk and Panasonic Talk forums on  There are numerous photographers who are more expert than I am on technical matters relating to image quality and firmware, and there have been various opinions stated fairly strongly on both (or more) sides of the issue.

My own informal opinion is that there is no major difference between the cameras in image output, but I have not  tried to make any serious study of the matter.  When I have some time, I may try to post images of the same scene from both cameras, though I'm not sure if that would prove much, especially at the low resolution of images seen on the computer screen.  As I work on the book about the D-Lux 5, I certainly see some differences between the cameras.  For example, the Leica camera has no Conversion menu option, because Leica does not advise you to attach a wide-angle conversion lens to the camera, as Panasonic does. On a more minor note, the LX5's menu item, "Optional Viewfinder," is called "Monitor Mode" on the D-Lux 5.  The two menu items have the same function, though -- to enable you to turn off the LCD screen when it's not needed.

Anyway, I didn't want to ignore this comment, but I'm not ready to tackle this major issue -- at least not right now.

On the Amazon front, I'm somewhat puzzled by the fact that is now listing the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book as shipping in 1 to 3 weeks.  That should not be the case, because the book is available at any time from the print-on-demand printer, and it should not take more than a few days for the book to ship.  I'm monitoring the situation, and will check with the printer if the situation doesn't resolve itself within a day or two.

Also, still no "Search Inside the Book" on Amazon.  I'll be working on getting that feature implemented.

Finally, because of a request from one person who wanted the LX5 book shipped sooner than 1-3 weeks, I listed a couple of my copies on as a third-party seller, using my seller name of "alexstrawhite."  If anyone orders one of those, I will ship it the next business day to anywhere in the world that Amazon takes orders from.  So, that's one option, at least until those two copies sell out. (I don't have any more copies available at this point, though I may get some more from the printer if the Amazon situation doesn't improve fairly soon.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Happened to the LX5 Book on

A little while ago I posted information about the seller on who was listing the Lumix LX5 book as "Used" but actually selling new copies at a reasonable price.  Well, I just went there to check again, and that seller's books have disappeared!  I don't have any idea why, but now the only sellers that are listed have it on sale for more than 1,000 pounds again!

So, one solution I can offer to those in the UK who want to buy the paperback version of the LX5 book is to choose one of the U.S. sellers on, some of whom will ship internationally. Another option is to order the book from, an excellent business located in Oregon that specializes in photography books.  They will be receiving a shipment of the LX5 book tomorrow, November 17, and they are very good at shipping books internationally with reasonable shipping rates.

I'm still hoping that the various Amazons will soon settle down to having this book available more widely and at reasonable prices, but I have no control over that process, and obviously it will take a while -- probably another week or more.

Sales Are Picking Up a Bit

Today there was a pretty good flurry of sales of the PDF version of the book on the Panasonic Lumix LX5, and still one or two sales of the PDF version of the book about the Lumix LX3. It's always interesting to me to see what countries the buyers are from -- today there were sales to buyers in Finland, Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Norway, as well as various United States buyers.

As for the paperback version of the LX5 book, the only way I can gauge its sales on a daily basis is by checking its sales rank on Amazon. Today it was doing fairly well, but I'm still hoping for Amazon to take several steps, including activating the Search Inside the Book feature, making the book available for overnight shipment, and discounting it somewhat. Also, it would be nice if Amazon in the UK, Canada, and Europe would start selling the book directly in a timely manner, rather than leaving it to third-party sellers, some of  whom charge incredible prices.

On, I should point out that there is one third-party seller who lists the book in the "Used" category, but if you look at the actual description, the seller states that the book is brand new, print-on-demand, which of course is accurate -- I strongly doubt that there are any actual used copies out there yet.  So, if you want to buy one in the UK, you can get one from this seller in a reasonable time at a reasonable price.  On the German site,, the book has a sales rank, indicating it has sold some copies, but it's still listed as shipping in 5 to 7 weeks, which is too bad.  So, I continue to wait for things to accelerate a bit more, but overall, I'm pleased that the book is getting noticed to some extent.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Replying to Comments; Situation on Amazon

I'm not sure if there' a better way to reply to comments; if there is, someone please let me know. Anyway, I do appreciate all the comments I have received so far.

In response to K2, I'm glad you're interested in the Leica D-Lux 5 book.  I'm trying to work on it when I can, between other projects. As you saw from yesterday's pictures, I am making some progress, and I'm encouraged by your comment, so I'll press forward as soon as I can.

In response to Esa, I feel badly that is quoting such a long time to get the book.  I don't think it should take that long, but the process of getting a new book distributed takes a while to settle down. I don't know if you would want to order from instead and cancel the other order; the UK site now has a third-party seller who is selling the book for a reasonable price, and will deliver within a week or so, at least within the UK.  The book has actually started selling in the UK, and on also; you can tell it has some sales because it now has a sales rank on both of those sites.

Speaking of Amazon, I'm still wondering why Amazon in the U.S. has not activated the "Search-Inside-the-Book" feature, for which I submitted the files more than a week ago.  Hopefully that will happen soon, but I have not heard back from them since I e-mailed to ask them if there is a problem.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some Leica D-Lux 5 Photos

Today I took a break from working on camera books so Clenise and I could take a photo expedition out to a local county park. It was a beautifully sunny, crisp autumn day and we picked a park we had never been to before. It turned out to be a good choice, with a great variety of scenes and activities to photograph, including farm animals, trees with leaves at their peak of autumn colors, a preserved historic farm house from the 1860s, and a pond with a fountain. There also was a blacksmith's work area, a log cabin, and quite a few other attractions. The four photos here are ones I took with the Leica D-Lux 5, which is Leica's version of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5, the subject of my latest book. I took some of these photos today to put them in the new book about the D-Lux 5, which I hope to have completed by the end of this year, if I can find enough time. So, today gave us a chance for a very pleasant excursion, with some great photo opportunities included.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

One Reason for Slow Sales

I don't have a lot to discuss today, but I have been thinking about why sales of the three camera books I have available -- on the Leica D-Lux 4, Panasonic Lumix LX3, and Lumix LX5 cameras, have not been going all that well. One factor that is largely outside of my control is the discount that Amazon uses when it sells the books directly from its site. For example, all three of my books have a retail price of $24.95. Amazon can charge that price, or it can charge less. I get the same wholesale amount, no matter what Amazon charges. So, it doesn't do me any good if they charge the full retail price; in fact, it means slower sales.

So, one problem right now is that Amazon is not discounting either of the two Panasonic Lumix books very heavily right now. They are charging $22.45 for the LX3 book and the full $24.95 for the LX5 book. I wish they would discount them both to $19.95, which is what they're charging for the Leica D-Lux 4 book, but I have no way to make that happen. I'm hoping that eventually some other sellers, like Barnes & Noble, will list the LX5 book at a lower price, so Amazon will drop its price.

That's all I have time for today. It's early in the life cycle of the LX5 book, and I expect sales to pick up eventually.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Still Waiting for Sales to Pick Up

Things were somewhat slow today with the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book. A few PDF copies have sold, to readers in Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, and the United States. The book's sales rank on Amazon has been dropping pretty steadily. I wish it would start selling on; there is still just one third-party seller listing the book for more than 1,000 pounds. Soon Amazon should start selling it directly, and that should help.

Today I took several copies of the Lumix LX5 book to the Post Office and sent them to the readers who commented on a draft, and to a few potential book reviewers. I have been tinkering with my Google AdWords account; I don't have good analytic tools for figuring out whether those search ads are helping or not; someday I need to dig into the details and see how many times a click on an ad actually leads to a sale.

I'm also waiting for Amazon in the U.S. to get the "Search Inside the Book" feature operating for the LX5 book. I submitted the necessary PDF files for the text, front and back covers, and spine back on November 7, and the feature has not yet been activated. I think that feature is important, because it lets potential buyers of the book do some searches and check out the inside of the book before deciding whether to buy it. I know some publishers don't use it because they're afraid people will just do searches using that feature and never buy the book, but I think, for this kind of book, if someone has the camera they are probably going to want to have the actual book for reference. Anyway, I'll have to follow up with Amazon if that feature isn't active within a few more days.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fluctuations in Sales; Sending Out Review Copies

I don't really have a good understanding of what causes sales of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book to fluctuate. Over the past few days the PDF version of the book was selling well through my web site, but today, for some reason, only 5 copies have sold during the whole day. I did reduce my Google AdWords account spending limit, but I wouldn't have thought that sales would drop that sharply. Sales are not that great for the paperback through, either. I did get one more positive review on Amazon today, from someone who reviewed a draft, and to whom I sent the final PDF when it was released. I'm hoping to get a few more good reviews over the next few weeks.

One good thing is that it looks as if the book is getting closer to being listed as available at Actually, today it is listed as available, because a third-party seller is selling it. The problem is, for some reason, they have set the price at more than 1,000 pounds. I know that sellers sometimes put outrageous prices on books, apparently just to have listings, but it doesn't make sense to me. Anyway, I hope the LX5 book will be listed for sale in the UK direct by Amazon within a day or two.

Tomorrow when the Post Office re-opens after today's Veterans' Day holiday, I will mail review copies of the book to several places -- Midwest Book Review, What Digital Camera magazine, and ePhotozine, which reviewed my Leica D-Lux 4 book last year. I'll also be mailing out copies of the book to several other people who reviewed a draft for me.

That's it for today. I hope today was just a slow day for no particular reason, and that sales will pick up again in the near future.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Books Arrived; Progress with Sales

Today my shipment of Panasonic Lumix LX5 books printed by Lightning Source arrived at my home, so I can now send copies out to people who commented on a draft, and to reviewers. Also, I now have a book ready to send out as the prize for the contest being run at the Photo Rumors site. I will include a free pair of 3D glasses with each book that I send out from home; I ordered a large batch of the glasses, which, as the book states at page 222, I will send out to any purchaser of the book who requests one, because the book has one 3D image, and has instructions for how to make your own "anaglyph" 3D images using the LX5 camera.

Today was the first time I could find the book at all on the web site, the British version of I had to enter the ISBN (9780964987593) as the search term, but the book did show up, listed as "unavailable." That's actually a good sign, though, because now the title is in the database in the UK, and fairly soon it should start showing up as available.

Up until about 8:00 p.m. Eastern time in the U.S., I have had 16 orders for the PDF version of the book. The orders have come from Singapore, Australia, Spain, Poland, and the United Kingdom, in addition to various U.S. states.

I have been adjusting the amount of money I spend daily on Google AdWords, which is the system that puts up a small ad for the book whenever someone types a particular search term into Google, if I have signed up to bid for the right to display my ad when that term appears. At first I thought my spurt of sales yesterday came from my AdWords campaign, but today I increased the ads, and sales dropped off. I think that sales are either more random, or more likely are sparked by things such as announcements appearing on new web sites, such as the contest that started on Photo Rumors yesterday.

Here is photo of the box of books that arrived today, taken by the LX5 using the lighting in my home office:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Trying to Get the Word Out; Making Some Sales

Today sales of the PDF version of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book started out with a rush -- 18 copies sold from the early morning hours up to early afternoon, Eastern U.S. time.  Then they stopped dead.  I haven't figured that out.  It's been about six hours now since a PDF copy of the book has sold. (I get notice for every PDF sale, unlike the case with paperbacks, which as of now are being sold only on Amazon.) I am using Google AdWords to publicize the book during Google searches, and it's possible my account limit was reached, but I'm surprised that the PDF sales stopped so suddenly.  Anyway, 18 sales is still great, and they went to buyers in a good assortment of countries. Besides the U.S., buyers were from  Australia, Austria, Israel, Singapore, India, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, and the United Kingdom. I'm very glad that the book is going to such a wide variety of locations; it makes me feel more like a part of the international community!

Also, a few hours ago I made contact with the administrator of the Photo Rumors web site and he was nice enough to post an announcement about the LX5 book, and to run a contest, giving away a copy of the book to someone who posts a comment on the site and later gets randomly selected. Here is a link to the Photo Rumors page:

Otherwise, not much has changed. I'll be receiving my printed copies of the books tomorrow, and will send some out to those who commented on an early draft and to potential reviewers. I'm also ordering some copies to be sold by, an excellent online seller of photography books, located in Oregon.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book is Starting to Sell Some Copies

Things are starting to improve for sales of the new Panasonic Lumix LX5 book.  So far today, up to early evening, it has sold 14 copies in PDF format, to buyers from Singapore, Malaysia, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, in addition to several from the United States.  Also, today for the first time the book's listing at is reachable through a search -- in other words, if I go to and type "Lumix LX5" in the search box, this book shows up.  Before today, you had to use the special link to the product number that I posted here and on my web site at  The book has had one review so far, and I hope it will get some more in the near future.

I have had one or two really nice comments on the book so far, and I really appreciate that. It is a very good feeling to know that at least some readers are finding the book to be useful, and to help them figure out how to get the best results from the camera. I will say that I have used many different digital cameras, and I usually had problems following the instructions that come with them.  Although those instructions probably have all or most of the technical information about using the camera, they really are not written in a way that lets you understand how to take pictures in the most useful way, unless you have had previous experience with similar cameras or are generally quite knowledgeable about photography and/or technology.

Now that the book is more easily accessible on Amazon, it has started to sell somewhat in the paperback version. The only way to tell how it's doing is to check its sales rank on Amazon, which was 4,550 just now. That probably doesn't sound great, but it's actually pretty good, at least by my standards. I have another book on Amazon that is ranked below the one million mark!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Amazon Link is Now Working for Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book

Amazon's procedure for gradually making new books available is working as expected, and the new book on the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera now has a fully operational link to the Amazon ordering page, though there is no official image of the book cover there yet. (I uploaded my own image as a customer; eventually I'll try to figure out how to get a more "official" cover image uploaded.)  Anyway, if anyone would like to order the paperback version of the book for shipment directly from, here is a link:

If you would like to purchase a downloadable PDF version for $9.95, please use this link to my web site for that purpose.

Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book is Starting to Become Available on

As I said in my last post, has a gradual process for making a new book available for ordering, at least for a book like Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX5, which is printed by a print-on-demand publisher, and gets added automatically to Amazon's database once the printer has it set up for printing. I have been checking on Amazon periodically. As I mentioned yesterday, as of right now you can't find the book on Amazon's site by doing a standard search by title or even by the book's ISBN (International Standard Book Number). But, there is a page in Amazon's site that lists the book. As of this morning, that page says the book is in stock and available for shipping by Amazon. I placed an order for the book in my shopping cart on Amazon, and it looked like a regular order (naturally, I didn't go all the way through to pay for it).

So, if you want to order the paperback edition of the new Lumix LX5 book from, here is the page with the ordering link: You can place an order there now, and Amazon should get the book shipped out fairly soon, though it's not clear right now how quickly they will ship it; it may take several days or even a week before the ordering machinery is fully aware that this book is ready to be printed and shipped.  But, once the order is placed, you should definitely be getting the book in a fairly short time. Starting in a week or two, the book should be available for Amazon Prime shipping, with two-day or one-day shipping times for Amazon Prime members.

I haven't updated the web site with the ordering information yet, because the book can't be found on Amazon through a normal search.  Once the book is easier to find on Amazon's site, I will update my own web site's ordering page to give a link to Amazon for purchasing the book.

Also, the book should start becoming available on other online sites fairly soon, such as,,, and others.  It also should start showing up on Amazon's sites in other locations, such as,, etc.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Still Waiting for Amazon

Today only a few copies were sold of the PDF version of the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5, to buyers from the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. There has been some movement towards the book's becoming available in paperback on and elsewhere. I still can't find it on Amazon by searching for the title or keywords, but if I enter the 10-digit ISBN in an internet browser in a certain format, the book's title shows up on an Amazon page, saying it is not yet available. Here is the format to enter it in: Eventually, this listing will show up saying the book is available, probably within 10 days or two weeks at first, and gradually it should show up as being available within a few days, and hopefully eventually it will be available overnight.

Also, today I received an e-mail from Lightning Source saying they have shipped my order of books directly to me, so I can send them out to reviewers and have a few to sell on Amazon or elsewhere myself.  I don't expect those books to arrive until late next week, possibly November 11 or 12.

Responding to Comments

First, I should add a couple of countries for purchasers of the downloadable PDF of the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 -- Australia and the Philippines. I guess it makes a lot of sense for people from that part of the world to purchase the PDF, because the shipping cost to send the paperback book would be quite high, and it would take quite a while for the book to get there. Though I imagine that, as more and more people read PDFs on their iPads, iPhones, and other devices, the PDF versions of books (as well as newspapers, magazines, etc.) will become increasingly popular. I still will be selling a version of the LX5 book for the Kindle, but not until December, because that version needs to be converted to the Kindle format by someone who is an expert at that process, and he is backed up until December.

I'm also still waiting for the paperback version of the LX5 book to show up on Amazon; I guesss it will take a few more days for the listing to get from Lightning Source's computers to Amazon's.

One commenter asked whether you have to get permission from a company to write about its cameras. I haven't sought a formal legal opinion, but in practical terms this doesn't seem to be an issue. I'm not using any copyrighted materials that belong to Panasonic, including any text or photographs; I take all my own photographs and write all my own words. In more practical terms, Panasonic and other camera companies must realize that having books like this available can only help them, because the books should help people use the cameras more effectively.

And, of course, it seems unlikely that an author would write a book of this sort about a camera that he or she was going to criticize generally; I can't see writing a guidebook such as "How to Use (or Attempt to Use) the Horrible Excuse for a Camera by Company X".  And, if someone wanted to write a book that criticizes a particular brand or model of camera for some reason, it's hard to see how that would lead to legal problems, unless it disclosed trade secrets or violated some other specific provision of law.

Anyway, these are interesting questions, and if anyone has better answers it would be good to hear them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

First Day of Sales of Book About Panasonic Lumix LX5

Last night I started selling Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX5 in PDF format through my web site,, using the FastSpring service to manage the downloads. That system has worked well in the past with the books about the Leica D-Lux 4 and the Panasonic Lumix LX3, and it seems to be starting out well for the LX5 book.  As of now, about 24 hours after I posted the link for downloading the PDF file, I have sold about 10 copies, to buyers from the Netherlands, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany, as well as several from various parts of the United States. I contacted the gentleman who runs a Lumix LX3 site,, and he was nice enough to post a link to my site for the download. I am also reaching out to other photography blogs and sites to try to get the word out to potential buyers of the book.

Of course, I know many people would prefer to have a paperback copy of the book, and I keep checking Amazon to see if the book has made it into their catalog, but as of a little while ago it had not done so. I hope it will get there within another few days.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

White Knight Press Web Site Has Been Updated for Lumix LX5 Book Download

A little while ago I posted on this blog, saying that it might take a few days to update the White Knight Press web site to announce the availability of Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX5.  It turned out not to take so long, after all, and the site has now been updated.  So, for anyone who is interested in purchasing a PDF version of the book for download, you can go to the site at and click on the link for the Lumix LX5 page.

The LX5 book is still not available for sale in paperback form through Amazon; I hope that will happen within the next few days.  I'll update the web site and put an announcement in this blog when the paperback version is shipping.

Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book is Now Available for Download as PDF

I'm still waiting for the new book about the Pansonic Lumix LX5 camera to start showing up for sale on the web site and other sellers' sites. I'm also waiting for paperback copies of the book to be printed and shipped to me by the printer, Lightning Source, in Tennessee.  In the meantime, after receiving some inquiries by e-mail, I have decided to make the book available for sale in PDF form by download. For now, I will include the link to the PDF purchasing page at the end of this blog post.  In the near future, I will get that link added to my web site, That may take a few days, so for now, if you are interested in purchasing the PDF version, please use the purchasing button at the end of this post.  That linked button takes you to the purchasing page, which is managed by FastSpring, a very reliable company that has been handling downloads of my other two camera books (about the Leica D-Lux 4 and the Panasonic Lumix LX3) for several months, with excellent results.

The purchasing process is simple and secure.  The price for the PDF download is $9.95 (plus any applicable tax), the same as for the other two books.  Payment can be by credit card, PayPal, or several other options. This PDF has high-quality graphics, and it has a full, 18-page index, whose page numbers are linked back the pages in the book, for easy reference. (There also is a full Table of Contents, but the page numbers in the Table of Contents are not active links.)

If you have any questions about the PDF version or the purchasing process, please send me a message at  Here is the link to the PDF purchasing page:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book Should be Available on Amazon Soon

I've had a few people send me e-mails asking when the new book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera will be available. I don't have a definite date, but it should be soon. Now that the proof has been accepted, the printer, Lightning Source, will list the book in a database that goes to and other online booksellers, and those sellers will pick up the listing in the normal course of their operations, some sooner than others. It should be a matter of a day or two, or maybe several days, and then the book will show up if you do a search for it online. In the meantime, I have ordered a few books from the printer to be shipped directly to me, and I will make some of those available if anyone needs a book before it becomes available on Amazon. The book probably will not be available in any bookstores, because it is quite expensive to print, and so I can't offer a large enough discount to make it worthwhile for bookstores to carry it. I'll keep posting updates here, and then on my web site once the book is actually in stock at Amazon or elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Proof Copy of Lumix LX5 Book Arrived and Has Been Approved

This is a photograph (taken with my Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera) of the proof copy of the new book about the LX5, as it arrived today via UPS. The photo also shows the standard card that came from Lightning Source advising the publisher (me, in this case) to check the copy over for things like correct pagination, typos, positioning of the elements on the pages, correct ISBN, etc., before approving it. Everything looked very good to Clenise and me, so I went online earlier this evening and approved it with Lightning Source. It will take a few days, but soon the book will automatically start to show up as available for sale on and other sites. In the meantime, there's plenty of other things to do. I will order some copies from Lightning Source so I can send them out to reviewers and the people who helped me by commenting on the book, and I may ship some to one or more bookstores that may order them from me. I also need to plan some amount of marketing and publicity activity, so people who may be interested in the book will know it exists! So, the book production phase ends for now, and the marketing phase will take over for a while.

Before too long, though, I plan to do another version of this book that is oriented to the Leica D-Lux 5, the new model from Leica that is essentially the same as this Panasonic camera, except for some cosmetic changes and different software, among other things.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Proof Copy of Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book Has Shipped

Within the past hour I received an e-mail message from Lightning Source saying they have shipped out the proof copy of the book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 digital camera. I will receive the proof tomorrow, and if it looks okay I will log on to my Lightning Source account and approve it. Then, hopefully within a few days, the book will start to show up as available on and other sites. I will also order a few copies from the printer to be shipped directly to me, so I can send them out to reviewers and to several people who provided helpful comments on drafts of the book. I may also make some available for sale myself, if Amazon is slow to start showing the book on its site.

In response to a comment, the only problem I have had with the CMYK colors of these books was when there were compatibility problems between Adobe Acrobat and the Macintosh Snow Leopard operating system, resulting in a botched conversion of the file to PDF format. I use Adobe InDesign CS5 software to lay out the books, and the RGB images should be automatically converted to CMYK by Acrobat, but on some occasions the conversion apparently didn't work properly. This time, everything went well, as far as I know.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dealing with Printing Issues for Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book

In response to a comment, I'll say a little bit more about some of the issues that come up with sending PDF files to Lightning Source (LSI). With each of my two previous books (about the Leica D-Lux 4 and the Panasonic Lumix LX3) that were (and still are) printed by LSI, I had my files rejected at least once for technical problems. The publisher (me, in this case) has to submit two PDF files for each book: one file for the text of the book, and a separate file for the cover. These 2 PDF files have to meet a set of precise specifications, including document size, bleeds, ink coverage, etc., some of which I really don't understand at all well. For example, all colors in the files have to be CMYK, which stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black, which are the colors used by printers (the machines, that is). Generally, when you or I work on the computer, the colors are considered RGB, for red, green, and blue, which is the color system used by monitors. When you create the PDF from the original document, you have to make sure all RGB colors are converted to CMYK. This process can make the colors look a bit different; blues may look more purple, for example. Some publishers undoubtedly have equipment and software to calibrate their equipment so they can see what the end result will look like on paper, but I don't. This issue is generally taken care of by generating the PDF using the proper process. In this case, the proper process, starting with a file in Adobe InDesign, is to print the file to a PostScript printer file, then process that file into a PDF file using Adobe Distiller. This procedure has considerable complications, especially for someone like me who uses a Macintosh with the Snow Leopard operating system, but I eventually was able to work through them and generated the files properly.

Another issue I have run into is with the resolution of images. LSI wants the photographs in the text and cover to be generally 300 dots per inch, which is a good, high resolution for printed work. In the past, I received notices from LSI saying my text file contained images that were considered low resolution, but they would print them anyway. The lowest resolution they will accept is 72 dots per inch, which is the resolution for most images when viewed on a computer monitor. Those images looked okay in the printed books, but this time, for the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book, I was more careful to generate images with at least 300 dpi resolution in Photoshop. I must have succeeded, because this time around I did not receive any error messages from LSI about low resolution images.

Those are the major issues I have run into, though I'm sure other publishers have had other issues in meeting the specifications for LSI printing. You can get more details at, where there are various publications available about their printing process and their file creation requirements.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Status: Proof Has Been Generated

I probably shouldn't keep going on to the Lightning Source web site to check on the status of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 book; after all, they say a watched pot never boils. But I needed to take a break from doing some fairly tedious work in Photoshop, so I loggged on to my account just to take a quick look, and the status had been updated. The status as of today is: "Proof has been generated." My interpretation of this status is that they have printed out a copy of the book and its cover, and it's waiting to be inspected by the quality control people; once it passes inspection, it will be shipped overnight to me so Clenise and I can review and (hopefully) approve it.

Of course, there's no way to know what the exact schedule will be, but as of now it seems possible that the proof could ship out on Monday or Tuesday, and get to us in Virginia on Tuesday or Wednesday. So, if all continues to go well, the book still seems to be on track for becoming available for sale by late next week or thereabouts.

In the meantime, here are a couple of photos taken by the LX5. The first one is included in the book; the second one did not make it because of space limitations.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Book About Panasonic Lumix LX5 May Be Ready Next Week

Today I received an e-mail message from Lightning Source advising me that my order for a proof copy of the Lumix LX5 book has been confirmed. I then went on their web site and checked the status of the book; it reported that the "book block" and the cover have both been "accepted." That was good news! That means that there were no technical problems with either the interior text of the book (268 pages, including Table of Contents and Index), or with the cover. There are quite a few technical problems that can arise (and have in the past), such as incorrect document size, some fonts not embedded, wrong resolution of the images, colors that don't conform to the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) standard, etc. Now the book's status is shown as "print ready." I just have to wait until Lightning Source puts the book in one of its printing queues and produces a proof copy. They will then ship it to me overnight for approval. If it looks OK, I will approve it online, and that releases it for distribution through and other sellers. Based on past experience, I think the proof may get to me by about Wednesday, November 3 or thereabouts. If it is in good shape, Amazon may start selling the book by the end of next week. Of course, everything is out of my control at this point except approving the proof copy. I will be very quick at that step, once I receive the proof copy.

By the way, here is what the cover of the book looks like:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

So Far, So Good -- LX5 Book Should be Available Soon -- Here is An Excerpt

I checked today on the Lightning Source site, and the status report is that Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX5 is in "premedia," which means the technicians are checking the PDF files for the interior text and the cover to make sure they comply with all of the technical requirements, before the files are set up to print on the company's printing equipment. If the process continues to go smoothly, they will print a proof copy and overnight it to me, maybe by early next week. Once I approve the proof copy of the book, the book will start gradually to become available at and other online sites.

For now, I have uploaded to this blog a link to a PDF excerpt with Table of Contents and the first few pages of the book about the Panasonic LX5 so you can get an idea of what subjects are covered and what the text and illustrations look like. So, take a look at the excerpt that I have included in the links section of the blog, and see what you think.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Panasonic Lumix LX5 Book Has Gone to the Printer

Finally, after the past few days of sometimes-frustrating proofreading by Clenise and me, a little while ago I uploaded the PDF files to the printer, Lightning Source.  The book, Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX5: Getting the Most from Panasonic's Advanced Digital Camera, should start showing up as available on within a week or so, if all goes well. In the past, I've had problems with PDF files that did not meet the specific requirements of the printer, though this time I think I did better than previously, having learned from my mistakes, and having been very careful to follow all the steps exactly to produce compliant files.

I did change the file with the text of the book a couple of times today, as I spotted last-minute problems in the layout.  In one case, the photos of the HDMI cable connecting to the camera were misplaced next to the discussion of connecting the regular (non-HDMI) cable. That was a pretty small thing, but I don't like to have any mistakes in the book, if I can find them. Inevitably there will still be some typos or other glitches, but I did my best to find and eradicate them.

As of now, the book will be available only in printed form, though I have it scheduled to be converted for the Kindle in December (the formatting company always has a hefty backlog), and I may make it available on PDF within the next few months, depending on how things go with the printed version. The book is already listed on (Barnes and Noble's site), because I submitted the information about the book through the Bowker company, which runs Books in Print. has it listed at a substantial discount, but, based on past experience, they won't actually fill any orders at that price, and will cancel them if anyone pre-orders the book, because the book is not going to be available at that price.  I believe BN just assumes it will be, because most books are heavily discounted by the publisher to get them into stores.  In my case, I can't offer a heavy discount, because it costs so much to print each book, partly because of the color photographs. It will eventually be available at, at a more regular price.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The New Book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5 is Almost Here

I've mentioned briefly in response to comments that I'm working on a book about the Panasonic Lumix LX5, the successor to the LX3 (the number 4 was skipped because it is unlucky in Japan, according to members of the Panasonic Talk forum). I got the camera as soon as I could in late August, and I've been working on the new book ever since. It's a great camera, very similar in size and features to the LX3, but it has a longer zoom range, much stronger movie-recording capability, and quite a few other new or enhanced features, such as a My Color shooting mode that gives a strong range of color and monochrome effects. The camera is certainly different enough from the LX3 that it needs a new book to do it justice.

Right now I have the text and illustrations (163 color photographs) finished, and my wife is proofreading what I expect to be the final draft. Then, either tonight or tomorrow, I will send the PDF files to the printer. After that, with good luck it will take about a week or so before the book becomes available on and other online sites.

Once this book is out and available, I hope to start on a new version that covers the Leica D-Lux 5, which is very similar to the LX5, but has a different outer body and different look for its menus. Depending on how busy things are otherwise, I hope to get that book done by the end of this year. In the meantime, though, the LX5 book should be of considerable use to D-Lux 5 users, because there are no really significant differences in the operation or features of the two cameras, at least none that I'm aware of as yet. (I've only had my D-Lux 5 for few days, and haven't done that much with it yet.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dealing with Book Reviews

I said I would write about some experiences with book reviews, so here goes. At the moment I'm talking exclusively about reviews on It's not clear to me how much effect those reviews have on prospective readers of books. I would think it's a safe bet that it depends on various factors, including what kind of book is involved, why someone would be buying it, how many reviews are on Amazon, etc. For example, if there are hundreds of reviews, there are likely to be some five-star and some one-star reviews, so the reader won't be swamped with any single opinion. And, if it's the only book available on a particular subject, a reader may decide to ignore negative reviews on the chance that the reviewer was overly critical.

In my case, I'm dealing with reviews of only one book at present, Photographer's Guide to the Leica D-Lux 4; my second book, Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX3, has no reviews on Amazon right now. Well, actually it had one review, but that one is gone. I'll talk about that review in a minute.

I'm going to talk first about a recent review of the book about the Leica D-Lux 4. That was a one-star review, in which the reviewer said the book was a complete waste of time; it apparently didn't tell him (her?) anything new, and seemed to be a re-hash of the camera's user's manual. The reviewer had purchased the book for the Kindle, Amazon's e-reader, and had been so displeased that he (she?) got a full refund from Amazon.

Well, that review really bothered me. For one thing, I had worked very hard to dig up good, solid information about the camera that is not covered in the user's manual. I did many hours of experimenting with the camera's various settings and purchased quite a few flash units, adapters, and other accessories to test them with the camera. I covered topics, such as infrared photography, street photography, and others that are not mentioned at all in the user's manual. And the reviewer made a nasty remark about me personally, which did not seem appropriate for a book review.

So, although at first I considered just posting a comment on the review as an opportunity to make some of the above points and state my case, I asked Amazon to remove the review, which they did, within 24 hours of my request. I have found Amazon to be quite responsive in this area; I have now asked for two reviews to be removed, and both were removed quickly. Of course, I don't make that sort of request lightly. As I noted, in the recent review of the Leica D-Lux 4 book, the reviewer made what I took as a personal slur against me. In the other case, a reviewer of the Panasonic Lumix LX3 book stated, completely erroneously, that the book was out of date because it covered version 2.0 of the camera's firmware (internal programming), when the latest version was 2.2. That was not true at all; the book was completely up to date and covered version 2.2. The clincher was that the reviewer said that it was too bad the book was out of date, because he (I assume it was a he) really had wanted to buy this book!  Well, of course, my basis for asking to have the review removed was that the reviewer admitted he had not read (or even seen) the book!  The review was removed promptly.

Since I've gone through this process as a writer of these books, I have become more sensitive to the impact of bad reviews.  Today I saw a one-star review of a book I had just bought, The Wild Side of Photography.  I found the book to be excellent, so I posted a five-star review to counteract the negative effects of that lone, thoughtless review.  In that case, the reviewer was upset because the book, which was translated from the German, included a reference to a German web site for further information about one of the many topics in the book. Well, that may be a glitch, but it certainly doesn't warrant a one-star review of the whole book!

I'll get off my soap box now and get back to work on other things.  I need to write some more books, so I'll turn my efforts in that direction for a while.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Amazon Connection is a huge factor in my publishing experience, so I'll talk a little about some aspects of my interaction with Amazon. There are some things not to like about the company, but on the whole my connection to it has been a tremendous benefit.

The main benefit comes from the fact that I can get my books sold through Amazon without jumping through a lot of hoops, using the direct distribution that comes from having the books printed by Lightning Source, Inc. (LSI).  I spoke about that system several months ago, but it's worth repeating -- for self-publishers or small, independent publishers, an excellent way to get your books distributed with a minimum of effort is to sign up with LSI, a print-on-demand company, which prints the books as orders come in from Amazon (and others, such as, the online arm of Barnes & Noble). All the publisher has to do is sit back and collect the proceeds -- whatever is left over after the printing costs. Of course, there's a good deal of work to do up front. Anyone who is interested in pursuing that option should get copies of Aaron Shepard's two excellent books, Aiming at Amazon and POD [Print on Demand] for Profit.

Once the books are available through Amazon and other online retailers, it's hard not to become somewhat obsessed with tracking their progress. For example, I find myself going on Amazon several  times each day to check my books' sales ranks.  It may be somewhat of a waste of time, but it does give me some idea of how well the books are selling. For example, the newer of the two recent books, Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX3, is starting to catch on somewhat after being available for about a month. It's now available through, the United Kingdom site, as well as, and its sales rank is now sometimes in the five digits, rather than the dreaded six digits. The other book, Photographer's Guide to the Leica D-Lux 4, continues to sell some copies, though both books are probably nearing the end of their most substantial sales, as the cameras they discuss are being superseded by newer models. (The new Leica model is anticipated, but not announced yet; the new Panasonic model, the Lumix DMC-LX5, has recently started shipping in Canada and the United Kingdom, but not through U.S. dealers quite yet.)

That's all for now.  I need to talk about customer reviews on Amazon; I'll try to get to that topic in the near future.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Slowing Down as the Summer Ends

Well, the summer doesn't officially end for almost a month, but it feels as if it is ending this weekend. My daughter heads back to college tomorrow and school is starting back up for some local kids. Camera guidebooks are not selling too well at the moment, at least not the ones I'm involved with. I'm hoping it's just a late-summer lull as people finish their last week of vacation and get ready for the Labor Day weekend.

I have gotten several things done lately; my new, professionally-designed web site is up and running nicely; it's still at, but now it has a much cleaner look. My new book, Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX3, is available there in paperback through links to and, and the PDF version is also available through my site. The paperback and PDF versions of  Photographer's Guide to the Leica D-Lux 4 are also available through the site.  The experience of selling the PDF versions has worked out fairly well. This past week I had two or three customers who e-mailed me about having problems downloading the PDF after they had paid for it, but those were quickly resolved. The downloading system, using, has worked very well overall, and fastspring's technical support has been very responsive and helpful.

I have found it interesting to see the locations of the buyers of the PDF versions of the books. Quite a few have been international buyers.  Here are some of the locations for the recent purchasers of the PDFs: besides various U.S. states, I have had buyers from Spain, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Netherlands, Russia, Israel, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Oman, Cyprus, France, Sweden, and Portugal. Sales of the print versions of the books have been tapering off lately, which I suppose is not surprising given that the new version of the Panasonic camera, the Lumix DMC-LX5, has recently started shipping, at least in Canada and the United Kingdom. I have placed an order for one myself, and hope the U.S. shipments will start soon. I do have a tentative plan to write a new book about the LX5, and possibly a new book about the Leica version of that camera, assuming that Leica eventually does produce one, which presumably would be called the Leica D-Lux 5.

Well, that's the update for now. I have also been working on books with David Busch, and the latest one, on the Sony A550 and A500 DSLR models, has recently started selling on and elsewhere. I'll try to do more frequent updates to this blog as things continue to develop.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lumix LX3 Book is Available on Amazon

A few days ago the print-on-demand paperback edition of my new book, Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX3, started showing up as available on  They have it listed at $24.95, the full retail price. The price may be keeping people from buying it; I believe it has sold about one copy in the five or so days it has been available; as of a few minutes ago its sales rank had dropped into the 800,000 range, which is not too good.  I have listed a copy on Amazon as a 3d-party seller for $19.95, and it hasn't sold either.  Oh, well -- the camera's replacement (the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5)  has been announced, which must be a factor.  Ironically, though, the Leica D-Lux 4 camera seems to have been officially discontinued, though the book about the D-Lux 4 is continuing to sell fairly well.  Neither book has sold any PDFs lately, though.  I have a web designer working on re-designing my home-made site, but the point of that exercise is fading, because no one is buying the books!  Maybe the redesigned site will help.  I'll try to post another update in a few days.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's Been Quite a While, But I'm Back to Post Once Again

My last post was in January, after Clenise and I had finally ended our home-based printing enterprise and moved on to having Photographer's Guide to the Leica D-Lux 4 printed by Lightning Source, Inc., a major print-on-demand company. The arrangement with LSI has been fantastic. After an initial waiting period of 3 months, I get paid by direct deposit shortly after the first of the month for the books that were sold three months previously. I have set the back up for sales both by in the US and in the United Kingdom. The book sells fairly well in Britain, where amateur photographers are very active and take their hobby quite seriously.

I have just finished an updated and revised version of the book, geared to the Panasonic camera that is almost identical in features and functions to the Leica D-Lux 4.  That book is called Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX3.  Rather ironically, I approved the proof copy of the book yesterday, which happened to be the same day that Panasonic officially announced the replacement model, the Lumix LX5. Well, I knew that was coming, but I still wanted to get the second book done, for those readers who still will be buying and using the existing model for a few more months, I hope.  The new book is updated to cover the features added in the upgrade of the camera's firmware to version 2.2; that updated information also applies to the Leica D-Lux 4.

On another front, after writing the Leica book, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to co-author some other camera guides, with David Busch, who is a very established and well-respected author of numerous guides and other photography books. That has been a great experience, and I hope to be continuing in those endeavors.

Well, I wanted to add this brief update to let people know that I have not totally disappeared. I will try to add more updates from time to time as things progress.