Thursday, December 16, 2010
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 Amazon.com, then, more slowly, on Amazon.co.uk and other Amazon (and non-Amazon online retailers') sites.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Today I noticed that the Lumix LX5 book is also selling in a Kindle version in the U.K., on Amazon.co.uk. 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
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 www.dpreview.com, 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 Amazon.com 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
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 (leicarumors.com) 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
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
As for sales of existing books, there was a minor step forward today at Amazon.co.uk. 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 Amazon.com 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
Thursday, December 9, 2010
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 Amazon.co.uk 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
Monday, December 6, 2010
As for the update on my current camera books, today there was a little bit of a change at Amazon.co.uk. 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 Amazon.co.uk 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
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
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
Other than that, not too much news today. The LX5 book seems to be selling a bit more steadily now on Amazon.com in the U.S., since it is now shown as "In Stock." In the UK, at amazon.co.uk, 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
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
At Amazon.co.uk, 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 Amazon.co.uk 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
Also, at Amazon.co.uk, 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 Amazon.co.uk 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 Amazon.com, 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
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
Things don't look so good yet at Amazon.co.uk, 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
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 Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. 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
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
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 Amazon.com and one order on Amazon.co.uk 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 Amazon.com
Monday, November 22, 2010
Now, on to the Amazon situation. I had been quite concerned because Amazon.com 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
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 Amazon.com, because I do have some (not many) copies in stock, and will ship them quickly if anyone orders one.
Friday, November 19, 2010
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 Amazon.co.uk. 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
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, Amazon.co.uk 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 Amazon.co.uk 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 Amazon.co.uk, so Amazon is listing the book as "unavailable."
I tried to sign up as a third-party seller on Amazon.co.uk, 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 Amazon.co.uk. First, the book is now in stock and available through www.camerabooks.com, 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 Amazon.com 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 Amazon.co.uk 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
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 Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com 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
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 Amazon.com, some of whom will ship internationally. Another option is to order the book from http://www.camerabooks.com, 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.
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 Amazon.co.uk, 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, Amazon.de, 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
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 Amazon.de 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 Amazon.co.uk 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 Amazon.de 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
Saturday, November 13, 2010
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
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
One good thing is that it looks as if the book is getting closer to being listed as available at Amazon.co.uk. 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
Today was the first time I could find the book at all on the Amazon.co.uk web site, the British version of Amazon.com. 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
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 camerabooks.com, an excellent online seller of photography books, located in Oregon.
Monday, November 8, 2010
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
If you would like to purchase a downloadable PDF version for $9.95, please use this link to my web site for that purpose.
So, if you want to order the paperback edition of the new Lumix LX5 book from Amazon.com, here is the page with the ordering link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0964987597/. 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 www.whiteknightpress.com 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 powells.com, bn.com, booksamillion.com, and others. It also should start showing up on Amazon's sites in other locations, such as amazon.co.uk, amazon.fr, etc.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
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.
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
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is the link to the PDF purchasing page:
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
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 Amazon.com 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
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
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 www.lightningsource.com, where there are various publications available about their printing process and their file creation requirements.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
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
By the way, here is what the cover of the book looks like:
Thursday, October 28, 2010
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
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 bn.com (Barnes and Noble's site), because I submitted the information about the book through the Bowker company, which runs Books in Print. Bn.com 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 BN.com, at a more regular price.
Monday, October 25, 2010
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 Amazon.com 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
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 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 BN.com, 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 Amazon.co.uk, the United Kingdom site, as well as Amazon.com, 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
I have gotten several things done lately; my new, professionally-designed web site is up and running nicely; it's still at whiteknightpress.com, 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 Amazon.com and camerabooks.com, 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 fastspring.com, 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 Amazon.com and elsewhere. I'll try to do more frequent updates to this blog as things continue to develop.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
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.