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.