Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Virus Turns, and I Get a Surprise

I couldn't resist checking the web logs for the last two days to see if people were downloading Neptune Crossing. Sure'n, they are. Seems word's spreading faster than I'd hoped: I got an email from a reader telling me he'd seen a notice about it at Teleread—a very nice write-up by Chris Meadows. And he'd learned about it on Baen's Bar, where someone had posted a note. I tried to post a note about it on, but couldn't get past some stupid Fatal Error every time I tried to submit. Despite that, the viral distribution seems to be off to a good start! Keep it up, please!

Oh—and this summary of a kerfuffle on is pretty interesting, mainly because of what it says about human nature. Seems some people are pretty peeved with Tor for giving them free ebooks when they didn't have the sequels ready yet for ebook distribution. (I'd better watch it.)

Meanwhile, I was pretty surprised to see the breakdown of downloads by format. I have fallen in deep like with the MobiPocket format, and the eReader format seems very good, too. On the other hand, I've never much liked PDF, which is slower and less clear on a handheld device, and I'm still working on the problem of getting a clean file that also allows the text to reflow to a smaller screen. (Making progress. I have a file that looks good, but is huge.)

So as of midnight tonight, here's what the comparative stats looked like for the last couple of days, the inaugural days of the download page:

Palm/eReader - 19 downloads
RTF - 26
Mobi - 40
HTML - 62
PDF - 381

What?! Hey, I'm happy for people to take it in any form they want. But if you haven't tried downloading a free Mobi Reader or eReader, give it a try. They're good.

"Dude! Writing's hard, dude!" —Anonymous

Labels: , , , ,


At 1:30 PM, Blogger Chris Meadows said...

Do you suppose I could prevail upon you to go back into the eReader markup of your book and mark the chapter headings? If you were marking up the file manually a chapter heading would look like

\c\x\BChapter 2\B\x

If you were doing it with eReader's application, they probably have some kind of WYSIWYG method for marking chapter headers and such.

The reason I ask is that eReader uses chapter headers to build a table of contents—and the iPhone eReader app does not have any other sort of "jump to page" function, so it would be nice for the book to have a table of contents.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver said...

Hi Chris -- I'd have to do it by hand, since the free conversion tools don't appear to automate it in any way. It probably wouldn't be too hard, but as I've now done several "corrected" uploads after discovering hidden text in Word that was no longer hidden in the ebooks, I'd want to make sure I was really done with that nonsense. (Entering these codes would be the last step before producing the .pdb file.)

Thanks for the info on how to do it. I'll try to make that part of my process in the future. (I never figured out how to do a ToC in Mobi, and gave up.)

And thanks again for your nice write-up. I haven't gotten over to post yet, but I will.


At 4:06 PM, Blogger Chris Meadows said...

You're quite welcome.

I've done a fair bit of marking up in eReader—I've created a couple of my own eReader e-books, using a text editor and the Linux command-line book compiling tool. I'm prone to do searches and replaces even to put in left and right smart-quotes. It's not so hard if you have good search-and-replace tools. (Any " with a carriage return or a space immediately before it becomes a left-quote, and any others become right-quotes. :)

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver said...

I'm using word2pml and Dropbook. I admit I've spent more time fussing with the Mobipocket version, since I like that reader, and that's the most popular download for me now after PDF.

Way after PDF.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Chris Meadows said...

I haven't messed with word2pml (Emacs and the Linux book tool are what I use) but if you'd like to send me the raw PML file once you've ironed out all the typos and hidden text, I could see what my little search-and-replace tricks could do for you. (At the least, I could mark up the chapter titles.)

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver said...

Sure, that would be great. You want to send me your email? You can send to jeff at starrigger dot net.


Post a Comment

<< Home