Friday, October 30, 2009

Adding EPUB format to most of my ebook catalog

I've begun the slow process of adding the ebook format known as epub to my catalog. For years I have been selling ebooks in multiple formats, and I have decided that the time has come to add another one to the mix.

The epub format has been developed in the attempt to offer the publishing industry a standard format for presenting digital reading materials. This is a great idea but I took a wait and see approach over the past year to see if the format actually emerged as a standard. Having watched more and more ebook reading devices add support for the epub format recently, I thought it would be reasonable to start offering more titles in this format.

A standard ebook format that can be read on a variety of devices has appeal to people because they would be better able to preserve their digital libraries even if they bought a new reading device. (This usually only works as long as the ebook file is not restricted with digital rights management.) Some people also read on more than one device, so they would like to buy an ebook that can be loaded to both devices.

The majority of dedicated ebook reading devices now work with the epub format, with the notable exception of Kindle from Amazon. A popular reading application for the iPhone called Stanza also loads epub format ebooks.

Until today, the only titles I offered in epub were the four novels of my original fantasy series The Rys Chronicles, but today, I added an epub option to The Art of War by Sun Tzu. As the weeks go on, I'll peck away at the rest of my catalog and add the epub option to other titles.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Amazon is not the only source of ebooks for the Kindle

The Kindle ebook reader from Amazon has introduced hundreds of thousands of people to the experience of reading books on a digital device. A big selling factor for Kindle has been the device's ability to wirelessly purchase and download content from Amazon. Although this is a little too convenient for my budget, immediate wireless ebook purchases supply instant gratification, and people like getting what they pay for right away.

Although Amazon naturally corrals its customers into solely buying ebooks from Amazon, Kindle is not limited to only adding ebooks wirelessly. Kindles have USB cords that can be connected to a computer and used to load ebooks from the computer to the Kindle. This capability means that personal documents, as long as they are in a compatible format, can be loaded onto the Kindle for portable reading. It also means that unique ebooks not available from the Amazon Kindle store can be loaded onto the Kindle as well, like my fantasy series The Rys Chronicles.

To accomodate Kindle readers, I offer my fantasy novels in the .prc format from Mobipocket that works just fine on a Kindle as long as it does not have digital rights management restrictions on the file. To load a file from a computer to a Kindle, a person uses the USB cord and, once the device is recognized, opens the documents folder where ebooks can be added.

Formats of ebooks that will load onto a Kindle are:

.azw - the format specific to Kindle
.txt - a basic text file that can be made with any text editor or word processor program.
.mobi - mobipocket
.prc - also mobipocket

This process is obviously not as easy as wireless shopping, but it is nice that the Kindle has an alternative method for adding ebooks to it. This capability has allowed Kindle users to access my novels. I admit I get tempted to add my novels to the Amazon Kindle store, but the lousy sales terms restrain me on principle.

If you are a Kindle user and a fantasy reader, my novel Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I is completely free. It can be downloaded here:

free fantasy ebook

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Free fantasy ebook available to read on iPhone and iPod Touch

As a writer serving the digital marketplace, I seek to deliver my novels in as many popular ebook formats as possible. This is actually a rather onerous task, but I hate the thought of people wishing to read my work but not having a file available that will work on the platforms they like to use. When I heard that the iPhone was actually being used to read ebooks, I was quite keen to make my novels available for this device.

The publishing company Smashwords came to my rescue. Writers who sign up to include their works in the Smashwords catalog are automatically added to the ebook catalog for the Stanza ebook reading application for the iPhone or iPod touch. The Stanza reader has proven very popular and the application is well reviewed.

The first novel in my epic fantasy series "Union of Renegades" is totally free and people who like to read ebooks on their iPhone can access it for free through Stanza. Look for "Union of Renegades" by Tracy Falbe in the Smashwords catalog within the Stanza application.

Some people might wonder why people want to read ebooks on their cell phones. The answer is that having access to ebooks within the cell phone lets people have some handy entertainment in all kinds of places, especially when they are stuck waiting somewhere. An ebook on a cell phone certainly beats the germ-infested magazines at the doctor's waiting room.

For iPhone and iPod Touch owners who already have an ebook reading application loaded, they can download my fantasy novel directly from Brave Luck Books and add it to their reading collection.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Finally finished my website remodel

Today I uploaded the new and improved pages for my main website where I sell books and ebooks. I'm very happy with how it turned out and that it is finished. I've been wanting to clean up the Falbe Publishing and Brave Luck Books TM websites and cull old content all year, but all the moving I've done over the summer really put the project on hold. Overall, my dear little business has been outright neglected for months, but I'm settled again and getting back in gear. Sales have been trickling in all these months, but it's time to start advertising again and get some action going. The winter months are usually good to me, so hopefully a better presentation will make a big difference in sales. Recession be damned. I offer affordable entertainment.

My completion of this project just makes me want to sing, but a little blog post will have to suffice because shouting out the door "My website is done!" would likely give my new neighbors the wrong impression.

Visit the splendidly renewed Falbe Publishing or Brave Luck Books TM. I'm going to go work on a new novel.

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