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Publetariat Dispatch: Top Self-published Kindle Ebooks of 2011 [Report]

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, publishing and tech pundit Piotr Kowalczyk presents his analysis of the top self-published Kindle books in 2011.

Will self-published books continue to expand? Is $0.99  price tag wearing out? Can we expect new success stories from  independent authors?

2011 was an exciting year for publishing, full of events changing the  landscape of the industry. Self-publishing exploded and became one of  the most important factors to shape digital publishing in the near  future.

I’m excited to share the report with as much facts and figures as  possible to help forecast how the self-publishing phenomenon would  evolve in the years to come. To get the bigger picture, read also 2011 self-publishing timeline.

The report is based on figures from Kindle Store bestsellers archive and consists of five parts. You can jump directly to each one of them from the links below:

1. Highlights – most important facts & figures

2. Tables & charts – based on yearly and monthly lists

3. Description – how the data was collected

4. Overview – analysis of important events and trends

5. Conclusions – predictions for the future

1. Highlights

– Average price of a self-published book in 2011 was $1.40, vs. $8.26 for all books in Top 100

– There is a downward trend in both the number of books and the average price

– John Locke is the author with the highest number of books in a single monthly list (8 titles)

– Five authors stayed in Top 100 for at least 6 months (Barbara Freethy, Darcie Chan, John Locke, J.R. Rain and Michael Prescott)

– There are 18 self-published titles in a yearly Top 100 for 2011 (not a single self-published book in Top 100 for 2010)

Read the rest of the report, which includes many tables and charts displayed more clearly than we can present them here, as well as detailed analysis, on Ebook Friendly.

Publetariat Dispatch: 6 Tips and Tricks to Use Kindle for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author and digital media watcher Piotr Kowalczyk offers tips and tricks for using the Kindle Reader app on mobile devices.

Kindle for iOS has just been updated to version 2.8 (iTunes link), which complies with Apple’s new in-app purchase rules.

Kindle Store button was removed from the home page – it was obvious. I’ve  also checked endings of free samples to see what Amazon did with their Buy Now link, which in older versions was switching to book’s Kindle Store page in Safari. Buy Now button is still there (as well as See details for this book in the Kindle Store). However, both links show an alert: “We’re sorry. This operation is not currently supported.”

Apple and Amazon are playing games, which are more and more annoying.  Status for today: Apple won’t earn money, Amazon won’t lose money. The  only losing part is the reader.

Below you’ll find tips on how to make the most of Kindle on your  device – especially after making our lives harder by removing any option  to buy a book from within the app. A good thing to do is to change  attitude: Kindle on iPad or iPhone is not only about using a Kindle application.


1. Browse Kindle Store in Safari

After 2.8 update it will be reasonable more than ever to browse and  buy books right away from Safari browser (without bothering to open  Kindle app). Never tried it? Don’t worry. Amazon mobile site looks  really well on iPhone/iPod Touch. On the iPad a regular site is  displayed, works well, I haven’t noticed any flaws.

2. Add Kindle Store to your Home Screen

Add Kindle Store to your Home Screen

It’s good to add Kindle Store either to a list of bookmarks in Safari  or to a Home Screen. On the iPad just go to Amazon site and select  Kindle Store from a drop list.

If you’re on the iPhone/iPod Touch, go in Safari directly to this address http://amzn.to/fW2ffk.  It’s Kindle Store’s site optimized for small screens – not the same as  regular one. You can add it as a bookmark to Home Screen (see picture on  the right) and a nice icon will show up.

Find more information about it here.

3. Browse free Kindle books in Safari

In fact, you can use the browser to add books from other sources than Kindle Store. What’s very important, you can add them directly to Kindle for iOS. This is possible since 2.5 update.

What you have to look for is books in mobi format, without DRM. To  add a book to Kindle app, tap on a link to a book file, ending with  .mobi.

Best sites with free Kindle books, optimized for mobile reading, are: Feedbooks, Project Gutenberg, Smashwords and ManyBooks.

Read more about this topic here.

4. Add books to your Kindle for iOS – not only via iTunes

iTunes is a default way to add content to applications, but happily  it’s not the only one. As I’ve written above, you can add books from  Safari.

There are two more options available: via e-mail (just send a file to  yourself and open it with a native Mail app) and via cloud storage apps  like Dropbox.

Find out more about the topic here.

5. Discover books on Twitter and add them instantly to Kindle app

It’s my favorite topic. If you spend a lot of time on Twitter, using  Twitter iOS applications, why don’t you try to find Kindle books there?  It’s actually pretty easy. Just look for a keyword Kindle or a tag #kindle and you’ll find out a lot of tweets with amzn.to links.

Or if one of Twitter friends is recommending a Kindle book, just tap  on a link and you’ll be redirected to mobile Safari (either within  Twitter app or outside it) and you’ll decide whether to download a free  sample or buy a book.

For more information read this post.

6. Use Kindle application as a free dictionary

Finally, Kindle for iOS can also work as a great dictionary  application, so there is no need to buy another one. This is possible  thanks to the The New Oxford American Dictionary installed.

You’ll find more information about it here.

* * *

I hope you enjoyed the tips. Please share in the comments what’s  missing. If you want to keep up with what’s going on with Kindle on iOS  devices, get free updates of Ebook Friendly Tips (via RSS or e-mail) where I focus on sharing simple Kindle tips.

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends. Get free updates by e-mail or RSS, powered by FeedBurner. Let’s meet on Twitter and Facebook. Check also my geek fiction stories: Password Incorrect and Failure Confirmed.

This is a reprint from Piotr Kowalczyk‘s Password Incorrect.

8 Myths About Reading Books On Mobile Phones

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, Piotr Kowalczyk addresses common myths about using smartphones as ereaders.

According to Wikipedia there are 4.6 billion mobile phones in the world. It’s a huge number. But people don’t try to read books on them. In this post I’d like to address some of the most popular reasons, which prevent us from doing it.

The screen is too small
This is true – if you still own a 5-year old phone with black&white screen large enough to show in full length only a phone number (if you’re lucky). But things change, and one of the quickest developing ones are mobile phones. More and more people buy smartphones. They have screens large enough to make their producers cry: “Hey you can even watch movies on this phone!”

I’ve heard many times that reading on a mobile phone is a disaster. Now try to watch a movie. It stops every 5 seconds, as it takes a lot of time to download it. THIS is a disaster.

Let’s compare sizes. For a book, you have an A5 format (average paper book) vs a phone screen. For a video, you as a reference we can use a 21″ TV screen. If we can shrink our video world that much, why we can’t do the same with books?

Another comparison. On average the screen of a smartphone has the width of a text column in a newspaper. If the size of a text field in a paper edition of The New York Times is not enough for you, then you can also complain about a mobile phone.

This is bad for eyes
This is truly mysterious point of view. If you read on your 21″ desktop computer monitor – this is bad for your eyes. But the smaller the device is, the less it affects your eyes.

The font is too small
This argument comes usually with a first one, but I guess it’s also connected in some way with a general perception of what the e-book is. There are still a lot of people who think, that an e-book is a fixed pdf document, and that you need to scroll and zoom a lot to see anything.

It’s not true any more. More and more e-books are made with mobile devices in mind. They have a proper format (like ePub), which enables a user to change a font size, among many other features. That means you can enlarge a font to the size you want. Kid book size needed? There you go.

There are few books available
People with the knowledge of modern e-book formats, still think that the number of publications is very limited and they are hard to find.

The truth is that any major e-bookstore now offers books in mobile friendly formats. Do you have an account at Amazon? All books in Kindle e-bookstore are well readable on smartphones. That means you log in to your Amazon account from your cellphone and start reading an e-book in minutes. Same with Barnes&Noble or Borders. What’s more important, there are sites devoted to mobile reading, like Feedbooks or Wattpad. Go there and you’ll see how many good books you can download to your mobile phone – for free.

Extra effort is needed to get a book
If you have a smartphone, you can easily turn it into an e-reader – I wrote a short post about it. What you need is to choose your favourite method. The most popular and the easiest way is to download an application. For iPhone OS you have Stanza. Free books for Android are available via Aldiko application. Kindle and Kobo have apps for both mobile OS-es.

Another way is managing and reading books via a mobile browser. This is what Google Editions is going to bring to an e-book world in the coming days. Reading books will be even easier. No special app needed, you’ll use your smartphone’s browser.

One thing is clear. You absolutely don’t need to learn anything about format-to-format conversions to start reading books on your mobile phone.

It costs money
Most e-book reading apps are free of charge. What you need to pay for is books themselves. So if you think, that turning your mobile phone into an e-reader will cost you an extra money –  you’re just wrong.

What you may want to know is that there are two kinds of apps in the applications markets. One is a program to read and manage books downloaded to it. The other one is a book-app – a book sold as a separate application.

If you want to give the e-books a try at no cost the best way is to download Stanza for iPhone or Aldiko for Android. They both give you the access to free resources from Feedbooks – public domain books as well as new titles from self-published authors.

It’s inconvenient to manage a book library
Some of us think, that building a book library based on a mobile phone is a useless work. Managing all the books from a small device is hard to imagine.

You don’t need to assume that any more. With cloud-based services you can access your library from a lot of devices, like a computer, a tablet, an e-reader – and a mobile phone.

You don’t need to manage your library from a mobile phone – just pick up the most convenient device for that.

Phones will be replaced by better-suited devices anyway
Not true. Tablets, e-readers and phones will be used simultaneously. I’m sure that with the availability of bookshelves in the cloud, anyone will want to have a comfort to access books from whatever device he’s got at hand. The big decision to make will be “tablet or e-reader”, but smartphones? We have them anyway, they can be easily turned into e-reading devices.

And they can be used to read books on the go, anywhere where there was no reason to take a bigger device – but there is time to read books.


This is a reprint from Piotr Kowalczyk‘s Password Incorrect.

Publetariat Dispatch: Self-Publishing, A Source Of Innovative Thinking And How To Benefit From It

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, Piotr Kowalczyk discusses what all of us can learn about innovation from self-publishers.

This post, from Piotr Kowalczyk, originally appeared on his Password Incorrect site on 3/3/11 and is reprinted here in its entirety with his permission.

The presentation you’ll see below was prepared for Ebook Lab Italia conference. I wanted to highlight a prevailing characteristic of self-publishers, not yet discovered and fully utilized by publishers and readers. It’s the innovative thinking.

In digital times, times of over-content, the front line is the attention of a reader. Technology leads to equal chances. Both big publishers and self-publishers use the same on-line tools and services to find the reader and convince him to buy the book. But obviously there is a difference: it’s the money at disposal.

Self-publishers usually don’t have money, so they use all their energy to be creative and innovative. In a presentation there are several examples of innovation in both a self-promotion run by single authors and joint actions taken by self-publishing community:
3D1D project (3 days, 1 dispatch) – a draft of a novel written live in under 72 hours,

– Bathrobe Guru – a short story written using Google Wave,

Indie Call to Action – authors cross-reviewed and promoted their books using social media,

Friday Flash – a large group of writers share their new flash-fiction stories on Twitter with a tag #FridayFlash.

Truth is that not every self-publisher is as successful as Joanna Penn. She made her debut novel, Pentecost, a bestseller within 24 hours from launch.

What can self-publishers do if royalties are just not enough? Again, they are innovative enough to find other ideas for earning money. You’ll also find the examples in a presentation.

This year self-publishing is on the rise. In January there were as much as 18 self-published books among top 50 bestsellers in Kindle Store. There are big chances that self-publishers will be noticed and get the attention they deserve.



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