Read an E-Book Week

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I have seen how the foundations of the world are laid, and I have not the least doubt that it will stand a good while.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

We are smack dab in the middle of Read an e-Book Week!

More and more Americans are gaining access to the internet through WiFi. No longer tethered to desktop computers, communicating through digital devices in most communities, is possible even when we are on the go. Many people have traded in their telephone landlines for wireless phones. Smart Phones and i-phones are very handy for accessing electronic bookstore catalogs if you do not have a Kindle, a Nook or any other brand of digital reader.

If you have a hand-held device already, why not join in on Read an e-Book Week? It involves no monetary investment at all. There are plenty of e-books you can download for free or for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. A trip to the bookstore or to the library is no longer necessary to pick up a good read. You probably have what you need to locate and download a fulfilling book right in your hand!

What do you like to read? Fiction, non-fiction, mystery, chick lit, mind-body-spirit, detective stories or comic books? E-books are now available in most genres or categories of literature. Books for young readers and academic textbooks in are available in digital format, too.

Think what sustainable publishing will mean to this new generation of readers as they grow up. They are witnessing the building of a strong foundation for green publishing now.  Print on demand publishing and e-books means a reduced number of books will end up in landfills. That is a good thing!

Although Read an e-Book Week is designated from March 4 to 11th, the beauty of independent on-line bookstores is you can gain access 24/7! No locked doors at any time. Pick up a book whenever you want – the store is always be open.

It is a very exciting time for independent publishers. Do you have story to tell? Join in!

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Beyond Name Brand e-Readers

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 “The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”
John Wooden 

Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook and the Sony Reader are becoming household words in e-readers. However, there are other brands that are geared for specific uses and target markets, too. Don’t discount the lesser known e-readers that are available. Check all your options when searching for an e-reader, you might find one that may be better than the others at fulfilling your particular needs. 

For example, Jet Book K-12 from Ectaco, Inc. is a digital reader made specifically for schools. Standard applications include state reading lists from schools, Oxford English dictionaries as well as other language dictionaries, a handheld scanner that allows for documents to be scanned directly into the device and a scientific graphing calculator. 

There is also a recipe reader, the Demy by Key Ingredient Corp. for culinary customers who find it easier to go to a digital reader to locate recipes they are looking for rather than leafing through volumes and pages of cookbooks. This slim digital reader can hold up to 2500 recipes all on spot, in one small space atop the kitchen counter. No need to worry about splatters of food ruining pages of a cookbook, anymore. 

Looking for a digital note e-ink screen and touch screen, all in one combo.  The entourage eDGe allows users to write handwritten notes on one side and has an e-reader on the other. This dual-sided e-reader came out in 2010, and now has a downsized Pocket version as well. 

The Story HD from Iriver is called the world’s highest-resolution 6 inch e-reader. This is device supports ePub and PDF files and uses 63% more pixels for better resolution. 

One more gadget new to the market features a full color, non-reflective screen great for out-of-door reading. Mirasol’s PocketBook has a 7 inch screen and runs on Android 2.0 on a wireless network. 

Remember, if you purchase an e-reader, there are also lots of free independently published e-books on line. How do you locate free e-books? Here is a source

Happy e-reading, everyone! This blog brought to you by Specializing in E-Commerce and E-Marketing for Independent Publishers.

Getting Drawn In

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Gardens are a form of autobiography.” ~Sydney Eddison 

The other night, I read my first e-book! I don’t have an e-reader yet, but I downloaded Kindle onto my laptop (yes, it is possible!).  I decided to give digital books a whorl, by taking advantage of a free e-book, available until Labor Day. “When Hummers Dream” was my book of choice.  It is on the Kindle best selling free e-book list.

You might ask –“Did you like reading by digital format, rather than having a book in hand?”  I dunno! I was too involved in waltzing through a painting of a gorgeous garden created by words of author Mara Purl to notice. Which, I suppose supports the argument that if a book is fulfilling, it really does not matter which format you use. Good books come via hardcover, paper bound volumes, audio and digital forms. The choices have been expanded by one more platform with the addition of e-books. 

There was one drawback, however, to downloading Kindle on my laptop computer, rather than having an independent e-reading device. I was too tempted to quickly peek to find out if I had any urgent emails.  I overcame that urge by deciding to fully enjoy my stroll through the place of enchantment where hummingbirds dream. I followed along the path of the little winged creature as it flew among hollyhocks, soared above the blue and purple flags of iris and indulged in the essence of the scented flora. 

Let’s face it – the distractions are there when reading books in print, too. Thoughts of a decadent ice cream treat, a steamy cup of tea ……a sound of an intriguing voice can interrupt a journey through a wonderful storyline of any book.  But a good read will always draw you back in, time and time again.

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Speaking the Language of Books

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This morning I had the honor and privilege of interviewing the award-winning writer-producer-performer Mara Purl. For the back story of Mara’s professional career, please visit yesterday’s blog Portrait of a Consummate Artist. Mara is on a month long virtual book tour to promote What the Heart Knows” which will be released in hardcover next month.

The Interview: 

Sue: Mara, we met when my company, Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, LLC  joined the Colorado Independent Publishers Association as a vendor member. You were President at the time. Can you tell us what you learned as an independent publisher that led you to a new publisher, Bellekeep Books?

Mara: Primarily, I have always been an author.  I had gotten an offer from the  London office of Random House books many years ago and because of very complex situations between an agreement with the BBC relating to my radio drama series and some changes that were going on with Random House I felt it was not a good time to engage in a contract with them.

So, I and five other authors and our teams independently published our books through Haven Books. It really began as a test marketing phase of the books and to get to know who our readers were. What I didn’t know was NY publisher Eric Kampmann was watching me. He was a very wise man.  He recognized the trend that began the implosion of the larger publishing companies and saw that good books were getting lost because they weren’t getting into the system. He founded Mid Point Trade Books , and has now roughly 400 imprints under his umbrella. He became a distribution arm for the independents, including my new publisher Bellekeep Books.

Sue: What did you learn from first independently publishing your books?

Mara: I learned after rejection that there were some publishing elements that were important and missing. Every field has some language and that was rapidly evolving. I always thought I was a fiction writer but really I was writing women’s fiction. Then I began studying displays at book shows and in bookstores. I learned that my book covers did not speak the language of the women’s fiction code. I learned about developing a vision for my brand and each decision I made for my books were art projects designed to make sure they fit the genre and they would catch the eye of the buyer of women’s fiction.

Although my new publisher Bellekeep Books did not require that I rewrite my book, I did go through “What the Heart Knows” with my editor and brought some story elements foreword which added 100 pages to the hardcover book. I also learned that the cover of my book, which was a line drawing, did not fit with the character of my protagonist, Miranda Jones, who was a painter. So the hardcover has a new cover design. Mary Helsaple, who has been my art research expert and is a nationally known artist, painted a watercolor cover for my book. I loved it! Now the cover design matches the integrity of the inside of the book.

Sue:  As you well know, independent publishing is continuing to grow and now represents over 50% of all publishing revenue. Where do you see the publishing industry going and how do e-books fit into your assessment of this new generation of publishing?

Mara: I notice that people are reading incessantly. As I travel, I see people reading hardcovers, on laptops, trade paper books, hard cover books and using e-readers. E-books are just another platform. People still love the tactile experience of holding a book. They are tracking book sale trends and surprisingly, those that like an e-book are treating them as a morsel for a real book. If they really liked it, they want to purchase not the paper back but the hardback version to keep on their bookshelves as part of their permanent collections.

Mara: People value time they can carve out for themselves and they use that valued time to read on all different kinds of platforms.

Sue:  Mara, many lives are changed through reading non-fiction, but many say that women’s fiction has the same ability to change lives. How do you go about getting messages across to women through a fictional narrative?

Mara:  Well…non-fiction is about facts and fiction is about truth. Through non-fiction you can’t access every nuance.  You can only record the facts. For example: If you are telling a story of violence –  facts are sometimes distasteful and you can use fiction as a lens to magnify theoretical cases and go inside the mind of the victim and perpetrator.

In the case of a positive issue of relationships – through fiction you can follow the development of a romantic attraction and the personalities involved. Through fiction writing you can present a picture for people to understand what is going on inside the story.

Read the rest of our in-depth interview with on Tuesday, August 23rd when Mara will be back on All Things Fulfilling to discuss her career and how she has incorporated her love for the Arts into her books. 

That is it till Monday, folks!

Lightening Loads for Students

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The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Students today, they have it made in the shade!!! More and more schools are beginning to think “sustainability” and are using e-books to educate their students. Fewer back breaking backpacks to haul around. One little tablet, sometimes with dimensions of as little as six or seven inches, across and down, and an inch or two thick has the capacity to download any textbook a student needs. 

As this e-book phenomenon continues to grow, it will be interesting to see the integration of e-readers into classrooms. The question remains, what is the best e-reader for college needs and can students learn as well using e-readers as those who use books in print? For more information on this issue, please go to this USA Today article.

School will be starting in another few weeks. I remember each new school year began with trepidation. The new teacher, unfamiliar faces in the classroom, homework, the tests, the term papers…..I never really made friends with any of it until I hit college, and then I really thrived. I became a decent student and enjoyed my classes and studies. But even in college, there was one thing that weighed heavily on my mind and on my back that I disliked about school – carrying the dreaded backpack filled with heaps of books.

I never could reconcile in my mind why after decades and decades of printing and binding textbooks, publishers never figured out a way to make lighter books.  Now they have! 

As far as sustainability goes, e-readers will indeed save backs of children from being stressed by carrying too much weight and lessen the burden and dilemma of what to do with no longer needed textbooks, too. 

Why didn’t someone think of digital reading devices when I was still a  student?

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