L&L Publishing eBooks

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/07/12 07:59 PM

The pdf of Classic Magic (Jennings) is a simple scan of the pages (and searchable).

Considering the amount of work involved in performing OCR on all of the text, scanning all the illustrations and photos one at a time, and redoing the entire layout in order to prepare an older title for a more flexible appearance on various e-platforms--as a publisher I can tell you that it's unlikely to happen. Our market is too small.

It's extraordinarily labor intensive to recreate a book, and the potential economic return doesn't seem that it will make the investment of time and money worthwhile.

I was looking at my own titles on my iPad this afternoon (I do have pdfs of some of them), and they are perfectly and comfortably readable without any side-to-side scrolling when the iPad is in landscape orientation. Some of them, like 5 x 5: Japan, were perfectly easy to read when the iPad was in portrait orientation.
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Postby LL Publishing » 05/07/12 08:15 PM

It should also be pointed out that besides the economic reasons Richard mentioned, reformatting has the potential for moving the illustrations/photographs to undesirable places in the text unless the entire book was recreated from scratch. Even if that were feasible from an economic standpoint, it would still be unlikely that there would be zero issues on every PDF reading device.

The iPad is the dominant tablet and these PDFs look really good on it with absolutely no scrolling necessary in both portrait and landscape.
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Postby JordanB » 05/07/12 08:52 PM

I have been the first to criticize in the past, but let me be the first to congratulate. I think this is great. I have been looking for a decent price on some of the OOP titles for a while and will be snapping up the ebooks as soon as possible.

I understand the allure of the paper book, and given equal circumstances, I prefer a hard copy....but the bottom line is that I'm interested in the information.

I think Michael Close was way ahead of his time with the Closely Guarded Secrets book. Lybrary also had something similar with the Card College ebooks. The integration of video into the text is really great. I love it with iGenii. Hopefully we'll see more of this in the future.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/07/12 09:13 PM

There's a difference here between ebooks and other forms of "enhanced" texts which Jordan cites.

There is no video or audio here: ebooks can't support much of that (I've investigated.) I've been waiting for the technology to improve because I have some great A/V to integrate into my older titles, but the tech isn't up to it yet if you're going to deliver the product via download.

And this is TRUE: "reformatting has the potential for moving the illustrations/photographs to undesirable places in the text unless the entire book was recreated from scratch."

And that was my point. It is not cost effective to recreate my enormous books from scratch.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 05/08/12 12:21 AM

I used to think Chris was wrong about PDF vs. eBook format but after using an iPhone,iPad 1 and iPad 3, Blackberry Playbook and Kindle Fire I have to agree with him. PDFs can be very good on a larger screen, but on 7 inch tablets (and smaller) PDFs are a sad second place to a real ebook format, if you are reading on multiple devices. One of the best things about ebooks is reading them on your phone whenever you have a few minutes free. That's why Kindle books 'remember' your page so when you pick up your phone you are on the same page you were on your Kindle, PC or iPad. That may be less of an issue with magic books, than with regular reading materials though...

You can get Adobe Reader for the iPad for free and spend the five bucks you save on one of these books.

Even so, I'm happy to see digital versions of some of these books even if I already own them in paper.

Lake Tahoe Card Magic is a small gem and given the price it's a must have. If you want a copy of The Coney Island Fakir though, buy it from Amazon in Kindle format. It's cheaper and you get a real ebook version.
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Postby John Signa » 05/08/12 12:33 AM

The term e-book applies to a variety of formats, including PDF, ePub, enhanced ePub, iBook, etc, each with different levels of support for embedded media and reflow.

See Comparison of E-book Formats

Richard & Bill, you both were probably referring to ePub?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/08/12 01:00 AM

I was referring to straight pdf files, not ePub.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/08/12 02:58 AM

I would disagree with the idea that embedding video is not 'there' yet; for example, I was able to get around 42 minutes of video into my ebook on the pass, and a similar amount in the top change book.

The main hurdle is the iPad's refusal to run Flash, since all video embedded in PDFs (version 9 and above) is automatically converted to FLV. While this may seem daft to some, it eliminates the need to install codecs on the target device, and standardises the video. (For example; Mike's books used embedded Quicktime MOVs, which required Quicktime to be installed. I experimented with embedding MPG files, but the quality was far below what was acceptable.

The second problem is one of layout; in order to embed the video clips it would be necessary to re-layout the book (although it would, technically, be possible to drop the videos files into scanned pages, I can't see it looking good). As we've seen, this is labour intensive and probably not worth the effort. A cludge to get around this would be to have a bunch of video pages at the back of the book, and link to these in the text...
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Postby mrgoat » 05/08/12 03:03 AM

Ian Kendall wrote:The main hurdle is the iPad's refusal to run Flash, since all video embedded in PDFs (version 9 and above) is automatically converted to FLV.


You can embed any file format you want into a PDF. Flash is dead. Move on from that. MP4/h264 ftw.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/08/12 03:41 AM

Is that in Acrobat 10? My version 9 automatically converts anything you embed into FLV.

If you can embed MP4 then that's great news. I wonder what the upgrade price is, though...
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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/08/12 04:39 AM

Bloody hell, Adobe helpline is purgatory. I've one simple question and I'm on hold for my third transfer...

For the record, though, the website lists 'flash compatible video' embedding for Acrobat X.
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Postby mrgoat » 05/08/12 05:26 AM

Ian Kendall wrote:Is that in Acrobat 10? My version 9 automatically converts anything you embed into FLV.

If you can embed MP4 then that's great news. I wonder what the upgrade price is, though...


I've no idea why you would make a pdf with acrobat. It's a disgusting piece of software.

Use InDesign!
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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/08/12 07:10 AM

A) I cannot afford InDesign.
B) I make the PDF in either Word or PagePlus first, then import it into Acrobat to embed the videos (which have to be done that way).
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Postby mrgoat » 05/08/12 07:26 AM

Ian Kendall wrote:A) I cannot afford InDesign.
B) I make the PDF in either Word or PagePlus first, then import it into Acrobat to embed the videos (which have to be done that way).


Oh Christ. How awful. I feel bad for you having to do book layouts in Word. /me shudders.

There are open source alternatives to InDesign if that is out of your budget. I don't know which are good on a PC, but it would be worth playing with a few. It would make your life so much easier!
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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/08/12 08:17 AM

Isn't it fun how quickly something can get off topic when everyone on that side is still asleep :)

Oh, and PagePlus is a good alternative to InDesign.
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Postby mrgoat » 05/08/12 08:43 AM

Ian Kendall wrote:Oh, and PagePlus is a good alternative to InDesign.


And can embed mp4 files.
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Postby Jeremy Greystoke » 05/08/12 09:28 AM

Nudging this back from the .pdf creator software threadjack, I'm curious if the three volume Pallbearer's Review reprint is scheduled for issuance as an e-book. That's a purchase I would most definitely be interested in making. The bound reprints are great, but being able to have a full file on my iPad would be wonderful. M.I.N.T. Volume 1 is another eagerly awaited title. Looking forward to seeing how this progresses.

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Postby Oddly Bent » 05/08/12 12:25 PM

LL Publishing wrote:iZip will send the PDF to iBooks and that will allow you to read the PDF.

The PDF files are not password protected or watermarked. There are no DRM restrictions. Most DRM protected files do little to protect the file from unauthorized use/copying/sharing and just makes it inconvenient for the honest people who have respect for the material.


Well, I would get them password protected and make the PDF copy protected. Otherwise you will find them on torrent sites the week after you release them. That is what happened to one of my books.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/08/12 12:32 PM

They're going to end up on torrent sites anyway.
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Postby mrgoat » 05/08/12 12:36 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:They're going to end up on torrent sites anyway.


Indeed, if they are worth having, they will be pirated.

Password protection on a PDF is trivial

http://www.google.co.uk/search?client=s ... 7P4QTw6ogH
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/08/12 12:54 PM

If you want your works cited - ie of value to those who are attempting due diligence when putting new works into their place in context of our literature:
1) in print or available by PDF
2) vetted

Or it can just be 'rediscovered' and wind up on YouTube
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Postby LL Publishing » 05/08/12 12:57 PM

mrgoat wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:They're going to end up on torrent sites anyway.


Indeed, if they are worth having, they will be pirated.

Password protection on a PDF is trivial


There are a lot of magic books out there already - L&L's, Kaufman's, lecture notes, etc.

PDF "protection" is a joke and as was posted before, it just annoys the honest people. Any sort of digit rights management typically punishes the real customer. The thief is going to get it anyway.

The person who would steal a file was never going to be a customer. Most of these guys grab anything and everything just to have it. They're getting very little benefit from it, except bragging rights that they have it. Most likely they will never read the book and even more unlikely would ever practice or perform the material. They have no respect for themselves, so they're not going to respect the material by giving it the work it deserves.

What it comes down to is that it's just not worth worrying about.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/08/12 12:59 PM

The value added in getting a work from its publisher or (better yet?) author includes a gain in direct access and open dialog.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time
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Postby mrgoat » 05/08/12 01:07 PM

LL Publishing wrote:
mrgoat wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:They're going to end up on torrent sites anyway.


Indeed, if they are worth having, they will be pirated.

Password protection on a PDF is trivial


There are a lot of magic books out there already - L&L's, Kaufman's, lecture notes, etc.

PDF "protection" is a joke and as was posted before, it just annoys the honest people. Any sort of digit rights management typically punishes the real customer. The thief is going to get it anyway.

The person who would steal a file was never going to be a customer. Most of these guys grab anything and everything just to have it. They're getting very little benefit from it, except bragging rights that they have it. Most likely they will never read the book and even more unlikely would ever practice or perform the material. They have no respect for themselves, so they're not going to respect the material by giving it the work it deserves.

What it comes down to is that it's just not worth worrying about.


Couldn't agree with you more.
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Postby mrgoat » 05/08/12 01:08 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:The value added in getting a work from its publisher or (better yet?) author includes a gain in direct access and open dialog.


Indeed. Interaction in the key. That is something you cannot pirate. Which is why live web cams have taken over from recorded content in my industry.
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Postby Mike P » 05/08/12 01:23 PM

I have seen two companies that did a good thing to combat the piracy your talking about.

Mark Tams made his files with the name of the person who purchased it and changed various aspects of the PDF file to identify it should it ever be pirated or upped to a torrent site.

Vanishing , inc also did a good thing by embedding the purchasers name in the file. I have only seen one of those files that was pirated and it had the offenders name on it. I will have to ask Josh what they did to the guy who purchased and then upped the file to the web.

Where there is a will there is always a way to pirate something. This is as old as dirt it seems.

Marlo worried about his works being copied and sold way back in the 40's and 50's.

Secrets are not so secret.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/08/12 01:37 PM

"Vanishing , inc also did a good thing by embedding the purchasers name in the file. I have only seen one of those files that was pirated and it had the offenders name on it. I will have to ask Josh what they did to the guy who purchased and then upped the file to the web."

The only thing they can do to the guy is refuse to sell him stuff in the future. They don't have the money to prosecute him for copyright violations or "piracy." So, it amounts to nothing more than a smack on the hand.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/08/12 01:54 PM

To be fair, Jamie Badman in the Underground Collective tagged the PDFs you bought with your email address when you bought it, and also password protected them. This was several years before Andi wrote to code to tag their videos.

I think that's a good disincentive, providing you can set up the Acrobat server. Might be worth a chat with Jamie, for people who are moving into this realm.
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Postby erdnasephile » 05/08/12 02:15 PM

Question: under the licensing agreements with most magic ebook publishers, can the original owner sell that ebook to someone else at a later date (after deleting it from their own hard drive)?

If so, wouldn't having your name stuck in the file be a disincentive to do so? (since you don't know what subsequent buyers down the line might end up doing later)
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/08/12 02:17 PM

e* I would not be surprised to see it go the other way
- IE actionable to have your name or personal information inbeded into a piece of property that can wind up in the hands of an identity thief.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 05/08/12 04:04 PM

LL Publishing wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:They're going to end up on torrent sites anyway.

What it comes down to is that it's just not worth worrying about.


How refreshing to see such a realistic/commonsense take on the matter.
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Postby the Larry » 05/08/12 04:38 PM

I find marking a product with a customers name, email or other identifier is completely counter productive. When that original customer sells his products on the second hand market somebody else will now have a product with his name. That person is now free to upload it to pirate sites and will not only be shielded by that name, but will actually direct the blame to the original buyer. This then also means that anybody is free to pirate it even with their name on because they can now always claim that they sold it to somebody else who must have uploaded it. Complete non-sense. I can't imagine any serious company actually doing this. On top of it how hard is it to use some fake name to register a customer account?
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Postby mrgoat » 05/08/12 04:40 PM

the Larry wrote: I can't imagine any serious company actually doing this.


No serious companies do do it.
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Postby the Larry » 05/08/12 04:56 PM

Name names.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/08/12 06:45 PM

Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time
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Postby Gordon Meyer » 05/08/12 06:50 PM

Another voice chiming in to the thank L&L for this initiative. So nice to have simple PDFs that I can read without hassles.

No need to get iZip to install the files on your iPad, GoodReader and Readdle (a superior PDF reader, imo) both handle zipped files without helpers.
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Postby JordanB » 05/08/12 09:29 PM

I agree and think the DRM is a waste of time and that you shouldn't worry about it too much.

I would guess that the marginal cost of an ebook is $0, so you only have to deal with the fixed costs of royalty fees, licensing, scanning the books, etc.

I think the trick is finding a good price point that will cover the fixed costs and provide a nice return while discouraging people from pirating. In the Steve Jobs bio they talk about the iTunes model and how successful it was....a lot of it due to the pricing model.

Just curious....I'm not in the publishing business, but what would the cost be to outsource reformatting to a true e-book? I don't even know if it's possible to do, but when I was in public accounting we would have clients use services where service providers in another country would bid on projects....and frankly....many had fantastic results. We had clients get web development and other technical projects done quicker and MUCH cheaper than if they had hired somebody here in the US.

While I love the searchable PDF, I would be willing to pay a slight premium for a reformatted e-book. Not sure if others feel the same way.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/08/12 10:14 PM

Nothing has a cost of $0.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 05/09/12 02:11 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Nothing has a cost of $0.

That's only true if you are looking to the right of the decimal. When you pay a flat free for service, and bandwidth, the cost can get so low that it is effectively zero. See:
http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2 ... eased.html

The author would argue that some things cost more to charge for than they sell for... sort for like digital celery.
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Postby mrgoat » 05/09/12 07:08 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Nothing has a cost of $0.


If you're smart with your digital workflow, you can format once, and write for many devices. I produce a monthly magazine for free. After I have made it, I can export the PDF, then export an epub version. The epub version costs me literally $0 to produce.
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