Ebooks - the pros & cons...

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mrgoat
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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby mrgoat » January 31st, 2010, 1:23 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:
The other is to offer something undownloadable. The adult industry is choosing interaction to do this. You cannot pirate a live 1-2-1 cam show.

Equally, with your stuff, one couldn't pirate a live cam tutorial between you and on the turnover pass. You could upload the file, but the important part, the interaction between you and me would be lost. The questions I asked would not be interesting to someone else. etc.


The problem here is one of staff. I can't pay a bored Polish student to teach the pass, so time becomes an issue. If ten people want a video chat every day, I'll never get anything done.

To some extent I do have a level of interactivity, as my customers can, and do, email me with questions. Luckily I'm still small enough to be able to do this personally, but there is a point at which I spend most of an evening replying to questions.

The plan, however, is to provide a learning experience that is complete enough so as not to require any additional help. This goes back to the idea of embedding video - if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth at least twenty pictures with a few hundred words thrown in. The ability to describe, show and then demonstrate is a massive step forward for teaching, but only if the teacher knows how best to use the format. You can't make a bad teacher into a good teacher just by adding video (in fact, most of the time you make it worse).

Take care, Ian


Fair points all. Although the idea of a house full of bored Eastern European skinny girls doing card sleights on cam amuses me no end.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Ian Kendall » January 31st, 2010, 1:31 pm

Although the idea of a house full of bored Eastern European skinny girls doing card sleights on cam amuses me no end


And why does that not surprise me...

Time for your meds again.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 31st, 2010, 2:03 pm

Doesn't sound bad at all to me. :)
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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Ian Kendall » January 31st, 2010, 6:20 pm

Fairy nuff...

Coming soon on the Virtual Sessions - East European magiciennes give lessons on pretty much anything, cos you'll not be really concentrating on the cards...

Take care, Ian

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby mrgoat » January 31st, 2010, 6:51 pm

Finally I can combine my two passions. The adult industry and magic.

magi-bation.com is available...

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 31st, 2010, 7:24 pm

You'll have to give credit to Ricky Jay, where he used a nude female model in the photos of Cards as Weapons for absolutely no reason at all. Could be the start of a trend.
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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 31st, 2010, 7:36 pm

Alton Sharpe's Expert Card Mysteries also had some fun pics.
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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Ben Harris » January 31st, 2010, 8:35 pm

As an aside (seeing as we are onto magic and porn) the little quirk I discovered in Apple's iphone OS and applied to magic (X-Ray MONiCLE) is now being used for porn. Why didn't I think of that! LOL. Here's a link:

http://x-raystars.com/

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Tim Ellis » January 31st, 2010, 8:35 pm

mrgoat wrote:

I don't think it's a cost, as I don't believe a pirated copy of your book necessarily equals a lost sale.

imho.

Damian



One example. A friend of mine owns a magic shop. She had a group of university students come in to buy some magic. She showed them DVDs and they said "I have this one, this one, this one.." etc.

She asked where they got so many.

They said they're on the internet for free.

She then explained to them the whole process of making a magic DVD. How the performer spends years developing the material, a lot of money making, manufacturing and marketing the DVD. Then, if they sell a lot, they MIGHT make their money back.

This sunk in to the students, who love magic and respected the performers, and over the next few months they bought legitimate copies of all the DVDs they'd downloaded.

Yes.

Pirated books, and DVDs, do result in lost sales.

Not all the time, but often.

To say they don't is naive.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 31st, 2010, 8:44 pm

There is not at this time a definitive argument made one way or the other about whether bootlegging costs sales.

The obvious, and intuitive answer is that it must.

The counter-intuitive answer, which is based on the twisted logic that governs the behavior of internet users in our new age, is that it does not.

Frankly I think it's too soon to give a clear cut answer to the question because the behavior of people themselves in this situation is not always clear cut.
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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Pete McCabe » January 31st, 2010, 9:54 pm

Ian Kendall wrote: The problem here is one of staff. I can't pay a bored Polish student to teach the pass, so time becomes an issue. If ten people want a video chat every day, I'll never get anything done.


The idea is that teaching the pass by internet video chat would be your job. You'd be getting your job done.

I'm not saying you have to want to do this. But that's the business model, or one of them. The technology that makes it possible for people to copy your videos also makes it possible for you to offer online lessons to anyone in the world. I think this could be quite lucrative for the right magician.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Ian Kendall » February 1st, 2010, 3:26 am

Pete,

As for as a business model goes, I don't think it would pay enough to feed the family. I'd love to be able to charge my private lesson rate to teach someone in Da Es Salaam card sleights, but realistically I have to look at other avenues.

Remember in the early days of magic videos, the ad copy would say 'equal to personal instruction'? This is what I am aiming for, and what I believe all magic teachers should be aiming for.

I know I harp on about correct teaching all the time, but this is a good example. Let's say the average magic video comes out, and it's an hour and a half of someone showing how something is done. There's a good chance that the student would have some questions about something that was not explained fully or clearly. In a private lessons scenario this would not be much of a problem since the student could stop and ask the teacher for clarification, but this is not available for most, and the student can get frustrated, or worse, learn poor technique.

Now, let's say the teacher has properly planned the lesson and explains not how the move is done, but _how to do the move_. Let's assume that they have anticipated all the likely questions that the student may have and addressed them in the lesson. And that they have used the available technology to the fullest to enhance the learning process.

It's not a perfect solution, but it does mean that when properly executed there's less need for the student to look for clarification.

Take care, Ian

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby mrgoat » February 1st, 2010, 5:50 am

Personal opinions are great from Mr Ellis and Mr K about how it's obvious piracy harms sales. Opinions they are though. Here is some actual research that seems to suggest the opposite is true:

Piracy has no impact on CD sales in Canada. However, in the subset of Canadians who do use P2P services, file-sharing was found to increase CD purchasing

http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_ ... 921bd1f176

And an older article which looked at students:

http://www.unc.edu/~cigar/FILESHARING_M ... 5April2004).htm

Despite streaming films and piracy, box office returns at all time high

http://www.zeropaid.com/news/10041/what ... ket_sales/

The lost sale myth
http://www.methylblue.com/blog/software ... lways-bad/

10x increase in bought music from pirates
http://www.pollstar.com/blogs/news/arch ... 63094.aspx

Books - online piracy increases offline sales:

One of Coelho's fans posted a Russian translation of one of his novels online and sales of his books increased from 3,000 to 100,000 to 1m in three years

http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/ ... les-441677

Another book author claims increase in sales

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/200910 ... 6425.shtml

Etc etc etc

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby David Britland » February 1st, 2010, 6:05 am

I'm not sure it is easy to compare the small magic market with the wider public market for books and dvds. However, thriller author Joe Konrath has a remarkably candid blog in which he reveals the part that piracy, digital sales and other marketing factors impact on his work and income. He even includes a glimpse of his Amazon sales figures.

Absolutely worth a look if this issue interests you:

J A Konrath Blog

He covers a variety of topics including the distribution of free ebooks for marketing purposes, how Amazon royalties on ebooks will soon be 70%, and why he thinks most publishers are out of touch with the download market. Fascinating stuff.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby mrgoat » February 1st, 2010, 6:11 am

David Britland wrote:I'm not sure it is easy to compare the small magic market with the wider public market for books and dvds. However, thriller author Joe Konrath has a remarkably candid blog in which he reveals the part that piracy, digital sales and other marketing factors impact on his work and income. He even includes a glimpse of his Amazon sales figures.

Absolutely worth a look if this issue interests you:

J A Konrath Blog

He covers a variety of topics including the distribution of free ebooks for marketing purposes, how Amazon royalties on ebooks will soon be 70%, and why he thinks most publishers are out of touch with the download market. Fascinating stuff.





I specifically included niche book publishers in my list of research links above to make a closer parallel to magic publishing.

However, none of this was saying the old line about musicians making up in gigs what they lose in piracy. It was about how piracy explicitly has increased sales.

Thanks for that link though. Excellently written. The guy should be an author.

Damian

PS Just to emphasise again, I am not saying piracy is A Good Thing. I am saying it is unstoppable, so sensible people are working out how to deal with it and use it to their advantage. Obscurity is a bigger threat to a content creator than piracy.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Joe Pecore » February 1st, 2010, 7:56 am

I thought this short article had an interesting point about the cost of making an ebook http://www.examiner.com/x-6683-Apple-Pr ... and-iBooks:

"First, let's eliminate the assumption that ebooks are cheaper to make. They aren't. Right up to the point where the file is shipped to the printer, the costs for a conventional mass-market, trade, or hardcover and an ebook are identical, because the process is identical. Moreover, the major costs of publishing a book, including a printed book, occur before the book goes to press / digital distribution. Finally, there are additional costs to ebook production. Licensing terms for images tend to be higher, if DRM is used there tends to be a licensing fee, there may be a fee for image compression, and, while ebooks don't have to be shipped or stored in warehouses, or stripped and returned or remaindered, they do have to be stored on servers and there are substantial distribution and software costs, as well as personnel costs, to distributing ebooks."
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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Ian Kendall » February 1st, 2010, 8:26 am

First off, I never said downloads harm my sales. I'm pragmatic enough to realise that if someone is going to download one of my lessons, either they were never going to pay and it's not a lost sale, or they can't afford to pay and then hey, it's a gift from me. Although if they can't afford ten quid, they should probably get a cheaper hobby...

Joe's quote is interesting, but I can't agree with the idea that it's no cheaper to make an e-book. I've researched hard book publishing lately, and I was looking at an additional three to five thousand dollars to print a book, and that doesn't include warehousing costs.

they do have to be stored on servers and there are substantial distribution and software costs


That sentence blew any credibility out of the water right away. The cost of storing a PDF on a server (or one of my computers) is negligable - it's been there from the start. Even if you use Payloadz to distribute your content the monthly costs are a fraction of your sales. Personnal costs are also negligable once your file is uploaded. The idea that additional costs for ebook production outweigh printing costs for a real book is ludicrous.

If you want to get really picky, there's also the reduced cost of shipping, no wasted packaging, and the benefit of instant access. And embedded video, too :)

Take care, Ian

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby mrgoat » February 1st, 2010, 8:29 am

Joe Pecore wrote:Licensing terms for images tend to be higher


Citation needed.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jim Maloney » February 1st, 2010, 10:15 am

Joe Pecore, quoting from Examiner.com wrote:if DRM is used there tends to be a licensing fee


Simple solution: eliminate DRM, thereby saving costs and making your customers happy. ;)

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby mrgoat » February 1st, 2010, 10:26 am

BREAKING NEWS

Amazon has caved in re MacMillan.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2010, 10:38 am

Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby mrgoat » February 1st, 2010, 10:46 am

Ah yes, putting in useful links often helps people realise I am telling the truth.

Although I imagine the number of ChickenLickens who read any links I put up will be awfully low.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2010, 10:49 am

IMHO the products (ebook/book) have distinct enduser utility. The student can learn from the ebook - also fine for research. The bibliophile/hobyist/collector wants something to enjoy as a more sensory based experience (touch of pages etc).

As the basic issue in economics is population (number of people with unlimited wants) - the basic issue in OUR little market is courtesy. That's right, not "secrets" but actual courtesy to respect the connection of the item to its inventor via the market. As I see it, the more we pander to the trick addicted and the "secrets" aspect of the market - the more likely we will find the material floating out in the open now that the floodgates are open.

I'm waiting for the tlonsits to discover more works by an ElronH type and offer scans of their faucheology as entries into our historical record. Say Hofzinser's ACAAN using a trick table with fifty two packs (or 32 in his day?) and a Poem mnemonic to help the performer recall which pack to hand to the volunteer - that kind of thing found in a letter that someone ...
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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jim Maloney » February 1st, 2010, 10:50 am

mrgoat wrote:BREAKING NEWS

Amazon has caved in re MacMillan.


Which was basically going to happen no matter what. See John Scalzi's blog for some insight: All The Many Ways Amazon So Very Failed the Weekend (Also check out his other posts on the subject, as he's been covering it all weekend.)

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby mrgoat » February 1st, 2010, 10:56 am

Jim Maloney wrote:
mrgoat wrote:BREAKING NEWS

Amazon has caved in re MacMillan.


Which was basically going to happen no matter what. See John Scalzi's blog for some insight: All The Many Ways Amazon So Very Failed the Weekend (Also check out his other posts on the subject, as he's been covering it all weekend.)

-Jim


This guy writes brilliantly!

Note to Amazon: Real people do not give a [censored] about your fight with Macmillan. Real people want to buy things. When your store takes them to a product page on which they cannot buy the thing on the page, they will not say to themselves, Hmm, I wonder if Amazon is having a behind-the-scenes struggle with the publisher of this title, of which this is the fallout. I shall sympathize with them in this byzantine struggle of corporate titans. What they will say is why cant I buy this [censored] book? Because, you know, they are there to buy that [censored] book. And when you dont let them buy that [censored] book, they arent going to blame Macmillan. They are going to blame you.

I have subscribed to his blog. Thanks for the link!

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jim Maloney » February 1st, 2010, 11:35 am

mrgoat wrote:This guy writes brilliantly!


One would hope. It is, after all, how he makes his living. ;)

I have subscribed to his blog. Thanks for the link!

I just recently subscribed as well, not long before this whole thing blew up.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2010, 11:52 am

Jim, Damian, Ian,
you're close to arguing for blogs as replacement for magazines. By extension we'd have topical, historical and personal sites for specialized content. That would make linkage and permissions to access the pages (by subscription) the economic matter.

Workable?

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jim Maloney » February 1st, 2010, 12:17 pm

I'm not arguing for anything, just pointing out some writing that I enjoy.

But, if you're asking whether it's financially viable to run a blog then, yes, there are people who have been able to turn their blogs into something profitable enough to make it their full-time job.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2010, 12:33 pm

At a guess the next biggie is the time-value of the data. How much delay a subscriber base would tolerate between the online ONLY and the downloadable/physical product. IMHO advertisers would want the most dynamic environment possible to announce product releases and display demonstrations - testimonials. The longer term product life cycle moves the product toward the customer for whom the time value shifts toward the artifactual as opposed to the novelty. So just how long is there between that rush of the new and the joy of discovery?

*the dumbed down version might be this: A few years ago the battle between paper and digital for timely (novel) data was won by the digital. The event most people noticed was likely the phone-camera video of siginficant events which was then shown on the TV news and stills published in magazines. The mass-media acknowlegement of this event was part the movie "Cloverfield". Does this mean that those who enjoy thumbing though magazines and having books on their shelves are "wrong" - IMHO no. But like folks who think dressing up involves wearing spats and wearing a cane ... perhaps that's just not the leading edge of our larger social reality anymore and may have be addressed in a specialty market of its own. Good time to explore options in bookbinding and publishing on handmade paper etc IMHO.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Ian Kendall » February 1st, 2010, 12:43 pm

"you're close to arguing for blogs as replacement for magazines"

I'm doing no such thing. My position is that correct teaching allied with technology can produce a more in depth learning environment. And that anyone who would download something instead of paying ten pounds for it was unlikely to pay the ten pounds in the first place.

I have a great affection for the magazines in our niche, and I read at least four of them each month.

I have an old friend here in Embra who lives off the proceeds of a couple of blogs. He was one of the first people to use the word 'podcast' in the YooKay and has won a BAFTA for his podcasting work. His name is Ewan Spence if you want to google him.

This constant suggestion, brought up time and again, that the interweb will kill print is pointless - there is room for both and I truely hope both will stay, at least for my lifetime.

Take care, Ian

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby mrgoat » February 1st, 2010, 12:58 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Jim, Damian, Ian,
you're close to arguing for blogs as replacement for magazines.


What's a blog nowadays?

If going niche and micro niche is what you mean, then yes. I am all for that. Don't just do content on magic, not just on cards, but JUST on the pass. Add in great photographs and video and you have a wonderful learning device. As Mr Kendall has given us with his brilliant book on the pass.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2010, 1:02 pm

Sad to see magicians arguing for what does not exist. Let's save that for our audiences, okay? What makes an ebook useful and what makes the format sufficiently accessable to be marketable are the questions here, not whether it's okay to like reading on paper.

What makes a market is supply and demand.

IMHO the market for informational novelty is distinct from the market for recreational reading. IMHO The questions that the readers market face are those of time-value and fine craft production for what may be almost identical content. Finding media specific ways to enhance that content may be the longer term answer to these questions.

As noted - blogging can be a career. So what does that mean for the reader/customer in terms of timely access and perhaps archived access (pdf, magazine, book)???

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Ian Kendall » February 1st, 2010, 1:42 pm

Which matters not a jot. A new move that is published in six months is still as valid as one published in two hours. We're not talking about current affairs here, which is where I think you are getting confused.

If the current crop of material is anything to go by, rushing to press with instructional material is never a good thing. A good lesson takes time to prepare, plan and execute. I would much rather read a book that has taken someone a couple of years to write than watch a video that someone threw together in two hours.

Jon, you may have a point when it comes to the timeliness of news - hearing the sad news about Ray Grismer this week instead of two months from now is a good example - but it's not what we are discussing here.

Sad to see magicians arguing for what does not exist. Let's save that for our audiences, okay? What makes an ebook useful and what makes the format sufficiently accessable to be marketable are the questions here, not whether it's okay to like reading on paper.


I think Damian was saying that such a thing does now exist...

Take care, Ian

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2010, 1:52 pm

Tim Ellis wrote:We have had great success with our Lecture Notes, selling hundreds during tours and getting great feedback from people who say they've really enjoyed them.

Now we're on the verge of releasing them as Ebooks but fellow creators tell me it's the wrong way to go...What are your thoughts?


At a guess it's really a point of sale (POS) transfer of value question. Do you sign the DVD/CD containging the EBook(s)? What do your customers have inhand after they give you the money? How is the transaction handled? IMHO It's really all about how people feel.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby David Alexander » February 1st, 2010, 3:36 pm

Here's what the Big Boys did over the weekend in a game of "Who has a bigger pair?" regarding the pricing of ebooks.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=30270&tag=nl.e539

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Tim Ellis » February 1st, 2010, 4:36 pm

Well that's reassuring to hear that piracy has no impact on actual sales.

Hopefully now lecturers will no longer have the embarrassing situation of being asked to signed obviously pirated copies of their own DVDs in future.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2010, 5:40 pm

Tim Ellis wrote:Well that's reassuring to hear that piracy has no impact on actual sales.

Hopefully now lecturers will no longer have the embarrassing situation of being asked to signed obviously pirated copies of their own DVDs in future.


How did you get from the first statement to the second?
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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Ian Kendall » February 1st, 2010, 5:51 pm

I think he's being sarcastic.

Tim - if you have any fears, or resentment at your product being pirated then don't put it out electronically. It's not worth the grief.

Electronic distribution is its own advantage - you get to send your product, essentially for free, to anywhere in the world in a blink of an eye.

If you are adding nothing to the PDF, distribution is the biggest bonus. But it's not worth the stress if people downloading it will cause you sleepless nights.

Take care, Ian

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mrgoat
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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby mrgoat » February 1st, 2010, 6:13 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:If you are adding nothing to the PDF, distribution is the biggest bonus. But it's not worth the stress if people downloading it will cause you sleepless nights.

Take care, Ian


It's not just the pirates worrying Mr Ellis. It's the evil people with iPads maliciously BUYING his content too that troubles him.

Sleepless nights with worry must be the standard MO in the Ellis household.

I agree. He shouldn't publish them if it concerns him so.

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Re: Ebooks - the pros & cons...

Postby Joe Pecore » February 1st, 2010, 6:36 pm

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