We're always excited when publishers in our network win awards, but this one goes beyond our wildest expectations. The Huffington Post's "Beyond the Battlefield" series -- published as an eBook through BookBrewer in December -- just won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
The book is a collection based on a 10-part series by journalist David Wood about the physical and emotional challenges facing American soldiers severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan during a decade of war. The stories are available as an eBook for the Kindle, Apple iBooks and Kobo, as well as in a special section on Huffingtonpost.com.
This is The Huffington Post's first Pulitzer, and the HuffPost staff couldn't be more proud.
"We are delighted and deeply honored by the award, which recognizes both David’s exemplary piece of purposeful journalism and HuffPost’s commitment to original reporting that affects both the national conversation and the lives of real people," said Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group on their site.
"From the beginning, one of the core pillars of HuffPost’s editorial philosophy has been to use narrative and storytelling to put flesh and blood on data and statistics, and to help bear witness to the struggles faced by millions of Americans. We are very grateful to have won for this series, the culmination of David Wood’s long career as a military correspondent, and an affirmation that great journalism is thriving on the Web."
Get Beyond the Battlefield for your eReader or app of choice from these retailers:
We couldn't be more happy to welcome the Atlanta Journal Constitution as our most recent red carpet publisher on BookBrewer.com. They're starting off with a delicious looking print book and eBook called "The Atlanta 50: Where to Eat." Written by famed food writer John Kessler, this is sure to be the definitive source of the best cuisine in Atlanta.
As the offshoot of a Knight Foundation News Challenge project in 2008, we've enjoyed getting back to our roots by working with more and more journalists and news organizations who are monetizing their content by selling it in book form.
What's that? You work at a news organization? Well drop us a line and let us know what you want to do. We love to help journalists reach new audiences through eBooks, and help them get paid for their hard work through book sales.
Every year 30,000 fans of technology, film and music gather in Austin, Texas for the SXSW festival. This year BookBrewer is thrilled to be part of not just one, but two major SXSW events. If you're going to the conference we hope you will stop by and say hello.
Events to plan for:
TechCocktail #Startup Life First, we'll have a table at TechCocktail's #Startuplife Celebration at The Stage on Sixth, 508 East 6th Street. Think of it as a hip cocktail party mixed with a bunch of really interesting startups showcasing their stuff. The party is free for attendees, but you have to register to get in. It sold out quickly last year so don't wait until the last minute.
SXSW Accelerator Second, we're attending as an "alternate" in the SXSW Interactive Accelerator on March 12 & 13 at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin. More than 670 companies applied, and 66 were chosen for the opportunity to present. You can view the full list of finalists here. Should we make it into the presenter list, we'll be promoting a new NewsBooks program that we've piloted with The Denver Post and The Huffington Post.
Of course, nobody would care about BookBrewer if it weren't for our amazing authors who now number in the thousands. We'll be taking copies of some of the best BookBrewed books, both in print and on eReaders, to show you off to the public. Let us know ahead of time if there's something about your book that would make it of interest to the SXSW crowd and we'll do our best to include it in what we showcase.
This morning you're probably hearing a lot about SOPA and PIPA, which stand for Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act. You can read more about them on Wikipedia.
Wait, did that link work? Not if you clicked it on January 18, 2012. Wikipedia has temporarily shut down its site in protest to show what would happen if these laws were passed. They and thousands of other sites that allow anyone to publish content could cease to exist due to SOPA provisions that let copyright holders block sites that they accuse of aiding piracy.
BookBrewer is a self-publishing service, so that includes us.
We're not shutting BookBrewer down in protest today, but we do feel it's important to take a stand on SOPA and PIPA with respect to eBook publishing. We fear that SOPA would largely nullify the "safe harbor" copyright provisions that allow us and other companies like us to operate self-publishing services. That could effectively stop the eBook self-publishing movement in its tracks -- a real travesty given the proven potential for eBooks to fund content creation.
How Current Copyright Law Makes BookBrewer Possible
BookBrewer and services like it exist expressly to help anyone publish content to sell as eBooks and on-demand paperbacks. Like Wikipedia and Facebook, our publishing tools are set up to allow you to work on your content without external interference. We don't -- and in fact, we can't -- review and edit every book that goes through our system (and you don't want us to). That's what makes us a publishing service and not a traditional publisher.
In our 15-month history we have only received one such DMCA notice, despite having thousands of books go through our system. Following the DMCA process, we promptly removed that eBook from circulation and nicely informed the author of the claim. It turns out she had inadvertently used "Dummies" in her book title (a term trademark owned by Wiley), so she renamed the book and republished it. It was an easy, straightforward and fair process for everyone involved.
How SOPA Would Change Things
How would this story change under SOPA? That one complaint could cause BookBrewer to be labeled a piracy site, and the author as a pirate. Our domain name could be blocked, effectively shutting down BookBrewer, and payments we receive through PayPal could be shut off.
The same could happen to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo and all the places where the eBook is sold. In fact, selling content with copyright violations is even more dangerous than distributing it due to the potential for monetary damages. We wonder if eBook retailers would even accept self-published content anymore.
Say Goodbye to In-Book Links
But believe it or not, it gets even worse. BookBrewer includes an RSS import feature for bloggers that lets them quickly import their blog posts, edit them and publish eBooks from their blogs. That includes the links from the imported blogs.
SOPA requires sites in the U.S. that link to offshore "rogue web sites" to remove those links or face legal action. Since an eBook is essentially a mobile Web site, who's the pirate in this case, and what's the Web site? Is it the eBook?
Let's look at blogger Brad Feld, who agreed to let us use him as an example in this post. He's published two books in the past (Do More Faster and Venture Deals) through a traditional publisher. His third book about Entrepreneurial Communities will be self-published.
Since the eBook is based on Brad's blog posts over the years, you can bet that it will include plenty of links to external sites. If he happened to link to something that contains copyrighted material that was used without permission, guess what? Brad's eBook itself could be considered a party to piracy. Say "Arrrr," Brad!
To those who say that SOPA applies to Web sites and not eBooks, we beg to differ. Every eBook is essentially a self-contained Web site that you can copy to your device of choice. How many already published eBooks would need to be rewritten to remove hyperlinks? Could we as BookBrewer continue to host them? Could anyone? The legal liability would be too high.
In the End, It's About You
We've explained how SOPA would impact BookBrewer and our business, but that's not what bothers us the most. We worry about what will happen to you, the self-publishing authors who are redefining what it means to "get published."
It's one thing for a startup to get shut down, but even worse for an honest individual to be made out as a criminal. The average self-published author is over 40 years old, and is someone's mom, dad, grandmother, uncle or teacher. We're increasingly seeing books from college students and teens, and even a few art eBooks from elementary school kids publishing with their parents' permission.
We understand that piracy is a real problem for large publishers, but there are more effective and fair ways to deal with it. Tying the hands of honest writers and allowing them to be labeled as criminals is not the solution.
The Post is using our platform to create and distribute its first-ever eBook: How Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos Made 2011 a Season to Remember. We're also distributing the print version of the same book with the help of our partner, Consolidated Graphics. Bronco fans can pre-order the books through Denverpost.com.
BookBrewer serves a wide variety of customers, from first-time novelists to bestselling authors who are self-publishing their backlists. After a little more than a year, we have an audience just shy of 10,000 people who are either working on publishing a book, subscribe to our newsletters or follow us in social media. While our focus remains on helping anyone to get published, we're also developing a track record around helping journalistic organizations reach new audiences through eBooks.
For example, The Huffington Post, one of our earlier news partners, just published its fourth eBook about the Occupy movement, and the book shot up to #500 on Amazon in just a few hours. Right before Christmas they published Beyond the Battlefield, a heartwrenching book about Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
Journalism is a natural development for BookBrewer, which grew out of a Knight Foundation grant for innovation. Our CEO Dan Pacheco worked in the news business for more than a decade at places like The Washington Post, Knight Ridder Tribune and The Bakersfield Californian, and was the recipient of an NAA "20 Under 40" award. With the support of the Knight Foundation we will be exhibiting at their Media Learning Seminar in Miami this February.
We look forward to seeing more journalists and news organizations experiment with eBooks and invite them to register for a free account and start working on eBooks today using our intuitive self-serve tools. But also, we'd like to hear directly from you.
Are you a journalist, or work for a news organization that's serious about eBook publishing? Fill out this form and tell us more about you and your organization. If we think there's more we can do to help you make a splash in the ever-evolving eBook publishing world.
As an author or publisher, you know that we all owe a debt of gratitude to libraries. They help new writers get discovered, make books available to everyone regardless of their ability to pay, and preserve history in a way that can never be replaced.
When you think about your local library, the term "eBook" may not come immediately to mind, but it should. Most libraries now offer eBook lending to patrons in their communities, but they have a problem. They need more content. It's not uncommon for 100% of a library's eBook inventory to be checked out, leading to long wait times for new titles.
There's a reason for this. Current eBook lending vendors are very expensive for local libraries, and the libraries can't keep up with demand. As just one example, the state of Kansas recently faced a 700% annual increase in fees due to the program's popularity with patrons, with other libraries reporting similar increases. These programs also require libraries to pay an annual fee for each book they lend out, something they don't need to do for print titles.
Libraries Want to Buy Your eBooks
As a result of these opportunities and challenges, libraries are beginning to contact BookBrewer asking for the ability to buy copies of self-published eBooks which they can lend to patrons using their own licensed Digital Rights Management technology. DRM controls how many copies of a book a library can lend out at any one time -- just like with physical books. When demand for a specific book increases, they typically buy more copies of those books to respond to demand.
"Our goal is to replicate the current print-purchase model libraries have had with publishers like you for centuries with e-content ... we want to buy e-content from you."
We think this is a great opportunity for both authors, and for the libraries, the most pro-author organizations around.
How to Library-Enable Your EBook
If you've created or distributed an eBook through BookBrewer, you can make it available for purchase by Douglas County Libraries -- and future participating libraries -- by filling out a short form. We will then make your eBook available for participating libraries to purchase. We'll introduce a more straightforward way to join in the future.
BookBrewer will provide 85% of the sale of each eBook back to the author, and these sales will be tracked and paid via the same methods and schedule used for retail sales.
We also invite other libraries who are interested in following Douglas County's model to contact us about their own direct-purchasing programs. Inquiries can be sent email@example.com.
Getting a book published -- whether as an eBook or Print on Demand -- is just the first step. Distribution and marketing are key! So we're excited to announce two new programs for BookBrewer Print on Demand customers.
First -- for a $29 annual fee, we can now list your book on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Payment and checkout are handled by Amazon & B&N, but your books will still be printed and shipped by BookBrewer.
Second -- for an additional $26/year, we can also list your POD title in the new Facebook Shopping Mall powered by Payvment, and our new BookBrewer Facebook store. This is a great new way to drive social discovery of your book to Facebook's 800 million members, and encourage them to share the news about your book to their friends.
Once your POD book is available for sale on Facebook, we also include one free promotion to members of our BookBrewer fan page and send a request to Payvment to list your book in their larger mall. As long as your book adheres to Facebook's terms, it should be approved for placement in the Payvment mall, but be aware that Payvment reserves the right not to list any title that they feel violates Facebook's basic terms.
These new options are currently only available to customers who have set up a book for Print on Demand by BookBrewer. If that means you, you can sign up for these new promotions by filling out this short form, agreeing to distribution terms and paying annual fees for the services you choose.
You've written your book, gotten it copy edited and found someone to design a cover that pops. Now you're ready for the next step: getting it published. Where to start, and how to make sure you're getting a good deal?
BookBrewer to the rescue! We're a self publishing service designed to remove the complexity and unnecessary costs around publishing and distributing your book. For as little as $19.99, you can create your eBook online and have it sent to 6 major eBook retailers. For less than $60 you can turn it into a beautiful glossy paperback that comes to you in a FedEx envelope a week after submission. Want someone to design your eBook for you by hand? We can do that too for as little as $200.
We do this all with simple, self-service tools that put the control squarely in your hands. With more than 6,000 writers in our community, you know you'll be well taken care of. We're all about helping authors.
What's that, you say? You've already been published? Our Red Carpet Author Program lets high sellers keep 95% of every post-retail dollar, and if your sales are high enough you pay nothing up front. We even give you discounts on other services, such as cover designs and layout services.
And if you have a lot of books with many more on the way, you can even get your own eReading app through AuthorApps. With an app, you can let readers download samples of every book in your collection in one package, then choose which ones to buy with the tap of a finger using the iPad's in-app purchasing system. You can catch a glimpse of AuthorApps in action in this post by Good eReader from the Self Publishing Book Expo.
Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned writer who's eager to take more control, we have a plan for you. Visit our website and feel free to contact us for more information. We're looking forward to getting your book into readers' hands.
Today, along with the rest of the world, BookBrewer mourns the death of Steve Jobs -- the Leonardo da Vinci of our digital age.
Without his constant ingenuity going back over 30 years, authors would probably still be stuck writing their books on IBM typewriters. Everything from desktop publishing to rich, proportionally-spaced computer fonts may never have been widely adopted, and the once audacious idea that anyone should be able to publish a book, a song or a movie to anyone else in the world may not have caught on.
Even people who use Windows computers owe a debt of gratitude to Jobs, since the Windows interface was based on the original design of the Macintosh. And while Amazon popularized the eBook through the Kindle, even they -- along with Barnes & Noble and Kobo -- are following in the footsteps of Steve Jobs by introducing touchscreen eReaders and tablets that mimic the iPad. As we look at the plethora of digital devices on the market, most of them using touch interfaces, we can see a little bit of Jobs' influence in all of them.
The world is a more interesting, egalitarian and fun place thanks in large part to the influence of Steve Jobs, and he will be greatly missed.
But what we love most about Steve Jobs is not his tech genious, but that came from very humble roots -- just like many self-published authors today. His story is an inspiration to every writer, artist and entrepreneur with a dream, regardless of background.
To see what mean, we encourage you to watch this commencement speech Jobs gave at Stanford University in 2006 after winning his first fight with pancreatic cancer.
He talks about how he was adopted by parents who never attended college, and as a result had to drop out due to the family savings running out. But during his brief college stay, he took a class in calligraphy and developed a lifelong love for typefaces and fonts. This led to the first widespread adoption of rich fonts on the Macintosh computer.
Fast forward to today, where the iBooks app and other eReading apps for iPhone and iPad let readers change their fonts on the fly, and you can see how Jobs' appreciation for the subtleties of art and design influenced everything he did.
But even more to the point, Jobs' Stanford speech shows how his own faith and belief in what he -- and all of us -- could do is what made new things possible. We think many self-published authors will be inspired by this sage advice from Steve Jobs:
"You can't conntect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference."
Steve, thank you for believing that the dots would connect, and connecting them for all of us. Rest in peace.
You may be aware that Borders has sold its intellectual property to Barnes and Noble, and the entire Borders.com site is now a redirect to Barnesandnoble.com.
Some of our authors who previously published books to Kobo have asked us if this means that their Borders-published books will now automatically go to Barnesandnoble.com. This is a concern for authors who may publish to Barnesandnoble.com through a different channel, or who simply don't want their books on B&N.
We posed this question to Borders and were told that the answer is no. Any books which were distributed to Borders actually went first to Kobo, and books in Borders' inventory are not being sent to Barnes and Noble. They are still available through Kobobooks.com.
Remember also that we have always distributed books directly to Barnes and Noble when authors have asked us to. Any such books will also remain available for sale through BookBrewer, and you will continue to receive sales and get paid per the terms of your BookBrewer author agreement.