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.