September 30, 2011

Sacred Heart School Director Offers "Deeply Apologies" After Nazi Fiasco

From Prachathai - Notice the Strange Picture of John Lennon

I don't mean to pile onto the misery in Chiang Mai at the moment, because it is experiencing serious flooding that has destroyed a lot of people's homes and crops. However, the recent sports day event at Sacred Heart College where students dressed up in Third Reich regalia and marched around deserves some attention. It certainly drew a lot of scorn from the American, German, French, and British Consulates in Chiang Mai (article is in ภาษาไทย).

Obviously, the children did not deliberately mean any ill-will toward the millions murdered under the scourge of National Socialism and military imperialism. Judging by the letter from Sacred Heart College Director [pdf], I don't think the teachers meant any intentional. Rather, it appears to be a case of complete ignorance of one of the worst genocides in history. Sure, it's easy to get up on a high horse, but this is a serious problem with education in Thailand.

This is not the first time Nazi symbolism has been used as fashion in Thailand. You can walk into Chatuchak market (one of the biggest markets in Bangkok) and see tons of weird t-shirts with Hitler wearing sunglasses and the like. Also, popular band Slur has a video where they dress up in Nazi gear like some kind of joke.

A commentary in the Bangkok Post said that Thailand is over-militarized. I disagree. It's another example of why education is important, and with four Thai kids, I can only blame myself if they end up goosestepping.

September 28, 2011

How to Format Your eBook for Kindle, NOOK, Smashwords, and Everything Else

Warning This Content is Out of Date. Please head on over to the BB eBooks Developers Page for the most up to date information on eBook creation.

As a self-publisher I wanted to learn about how to properly format and design an eBook so that I could place my first novella, America Goes On, on sale at the Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and Smashwords. With a few notable exceptions (such as Guido Henkel's guide on eBook formatting best practices and Paul Brookes' guide on formatting for Kindle) the information available on formatting is rather scarce at this time. Since we are all in this together, I decided to make some tutorials on formatting for the Kindle Store and NOOK, as well as a supplemental guide discussing formatting for Smashwords.

The response from the self-publishing community has been quite positive, indicating that there is a strong need for this type of information. Therefore, I decided to turn the tutorials into an eBook itself that self-publishers can utilize as a technical reference when formatting their own eBooks.

On Sale
How to Format Your eBook for Kindle, NOOK, Smashwords, and Everything Else is available for the low price of $2.99 at the Kindle store, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and Smashwords. Since the economy is still in the drink, I'm offering a recession special whereby I'll send you a complimentary PDF in exchange for a friendly email to me. The eBook contains edited versions of tutorials on this site, which have been edited, as well as some extra goodies to make your life easier as you publish your eBooks.

Product Description of How to Format Your eBook for Kindle, NOOK, Smashwords, and Everything Else 

Online sales of eBooks have exploded recently, and the trend will only continue with the availability of low-cost technology. Unfortunately, guidelines on how to properly format an eBook to sell on, Barnes & Noble NOOK, Smashwords, and other distributors are terse and geared toward web developers rather than self-publishers. Templates and third-party programs advertised to quickly convert a manuscript into an eBook often leave the final product in a dismal state of sloppiness that offends readers. This is because eBooks need to be converted to the same code that is seen on websites, not what is in a word processor.

This guide was designed by an indie author for indie authors in the self-publishing community to provide the requisite knowledge to professionally format an eBook in all major formats. It will take you step-by-step from a manuscript on your computer to the perfect eBook formats you need for Amazon, NOOK, Smashwords, and other markets.

In this guide you will learn how to:
  • Layout your manuscript for conversion into the major eBook formats (i.e. MOBI, EPUB, PDF) for all the big markets (i.e. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and others)
  • Add styles to different types of text in your eBook
  • Add hyperlinks, bullets, and images to your eBook
  • Create a clickable Table of Contents for your eBook
  • Generate eBooks using open source software
No prior knowledge of web programming is needed, because this guide provides detailed instructions and images to improve your level of knowledge from the ground up. The following detailed tutorials are covered in this guide:
  • Converting your manuscript from a word processor into a text editor
  • Web programming tutorial (XHTML)
  • Web programming needed to add styles to your eBook (CSS)
  • Using Microsoft Word for Smashwords
  • Using Calibre to convert XHTML into all eBook formats
  • Publishing your eBooks on Kindle, NOOK, and Smashwords
  • XHTML/CSS source code
For those interested in the advanced methods and techniques of eBook formatting, this guide also provides the following tutorials:
  • Regular Expressions for eBooks
  • Creating an EPUB from the ground up
  • Using KindleGen to create a MOBI file
  • EPUB source code
Buy this 46,000-word (~200-page) guide that comes with over 150 helpful images, and you will never have to pay to have your eBook professionally formatted.

We now have an eBook design startup—BB eBooks—dedicated to helping independent authors and small presses get their eBooks formatted, converted, and ready for sale at all the major online retailers (e.g. Amazon's Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble's Nook, iBookstore, Smashwords, etc.) Please contact us for a no-obligation quote. For those writers, editors, and publishers looking to go the DIY route for eBook production (you probably are if you visited this page), we offer free online tutorials and apps to help you professionally design your eBook. Please visit our Developers page and let’s work together to improve the overall standards of eBooks. Also, please sign up for the mailing list for promotions, design & marketing tips, plus eBook industry news.

September 21, 2011

Book Bloggistas Save the Day

So you've self-published your brilliant novel, and the only people who have bought it are your sister and the people you kept bugging at work. This is a common problem for the indie author, so don't feel discouraged. Both Amanda Hocking and Stephen Knight have said that book bloggers were keys to their success, and that's why it is important to submit free copies of your work to book bloggers in the hopes that they will review it and perhaps even publish an interview with you. This should be an essential part of your marketing strategy, because book bloggers will publish reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, Nook, etc.  and provide links that are crucial for search engine optimization. Without NY reviews on the sites of the big distributors, most readers are going to think your book is a dud before they even read the product description.

Unfortunately, previous knucklehead writers have pissed off book bloggers in the past by not following submission guidelines, complaining like Kindergartners in the comments about negative reviews, and other shenanigans. Remember that the reviewer is doing you a favor by taking the time to read through and publish their opinion of your work, so treat them with respect.

For my latest novella, America Goes On, I submitted it to approximately 10 book bloggers for review, and so far I've gotten 4. Not bad for a nobody! America Goes On received a 5-star review from Bornean Bookworm, a 3-star review at Novella Reviews, a 4-star review at Hampton Reviews, and a 3.5-star review at My Four Bucks. At Bornean Bookworm and My Four Bucks, I even got an interview published.

Here are some helpful tips when approaching book bloggers to keep yourself out of the shits:
  • You can find a helpful list of book bloggers open to submissions in various genres at Simon Royle's, the GoodReads Indie Book Collective group, and the Book Blogger Directory. Make sure that the genre of your book fits with the reviewer's taste.
  • Every book blogger has different submission guidelines, conveniently located under a tab that is usually labeled "Submission Guidelines." If they want a MOBI file for their Kindle, don't send them a 7MB RTF file with uncompressed pictures. Be sure to provide all the requested information (picture, bio, description, etc.)
  • Do not mass mail book bloggers. Do you like your inbox being shit-bombed with spam about penis enlargement pills? Didn't think so. Every email should be individually written and should address the book blogger by name (if they are not anonymous). Also, about 90% of book bloggers are women, so if there's something you wouldn't say to your mother, you probably shouldn't say it to them.
  • Under no circumstance should you contest a review, because everybody has different opinions. That is why the written word is so interesting--the words mean different things to different people. You should respect their review and learn from it.
  • Don't ever pay for a review. That is just unethical and weird.
  • If your book gets reviewed, be sure to reply with a nice thank-you email for the time they took to read your book. Also, make sure to provide links to their website to help promote yourself and them.
Book bloggers provide an invaluable service in promoting the self-publishing community, and they do it all for free. As long as you are not a jackass and you spend some time searching for book bloggers, you will have no problems getting your book reviewed. Best of all, the reviews provide helpful feedback on how to improve your writing in the long-term.

September 13, 2011

How to Self-publish your eBook on Kindle, NOOK, and Smashwords

Thank you for visiting this eBook tutorial. We now have an eBook design startup—BB eBooks—dedicated to helping independent authors and small presses get their eBooks formatted, converted, and ready for sale at all the major online retailers (e.g. Amazon's Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble's Nook, iBookstore, Smashwords, etc.) Please contact us for a no-obligation quote. For those writers, editors, and publishers looking to go the DIY route for eBook production (you probably are if you visited this page), we offer free online tutorials and apps to help you professionally design your eBook. Please visit our Developers page and let’s work together to improve the overall standards of eBooks. Also, please sign up for the mailing list for promotions, design & marketing tips, plus eBook industry news.

Warning This Content is Out of Date. Please head on over to the BB eBooks Developers Page for the most up to date information on eBook creation.

So, this is it. This is the final step toward having your eBook available for sale to the international marketplace of readers. For publishing on the Kindle store, you will need a MOBI file. For publishing on the Barnes & Noble NOOK store, you will need an EPUB file. Finally, for publishing on Smashwords, you will need a clean .doc file. Please consult the eBook formatting tutorials for MOBI/EPUB and Smashwords for further assistance.

This guide does not cover how to market your eBook, which is the hard part, but there are a lot of great authors who provide free advice on the matter, such as Lindsay Buroker, Stephen Knight, and Dean Wesley Smith. The Amazon Kindle store, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and Smashwords have very author-friendly methods toward placing your eBook on the market. This is of course because they get royalty payments on every copy that is sold, so they would be lousy businesses if they made the process difficult for the self-publisher.

You can self-publish to the Kindle store through the Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Barnes & Noble uses the PubIt platform (US authors only). Finally, Smashwords uses their Meatgrinder and Autovetter system.

One additional tool that may come in handy as you self-publish is the eBook Publishing Quick Reference Guide by Gary McLaren [free]. He also has a freebie entitled The Beginner's Guide to eBooks, which discusses various eBook formats from a reader's perspective.

Pricing: Pricing strategy is an important aspect directly related to marketing. Smashwords allows you to distribute your eBook for free or at any price that has ".99" at the end of it in US Dollars. and Barnes & Noble do not allow you to distribute your eBook for free, and the lowest you can go is $0.99. However, if you make your eBook free at Smashwords, the Kindle store and Barnes & Noble NOOK may decide to make your eBook free. The process is a bit finicky, but it has worked for others. Royalties vary depending on how you price your eBook.

Taxes: Like death, taxes are completely inevitable, especially with the United States Government going more into debt by the day. US-based authors need to provide a Social Security Number for tax reasons, and Amazon will withhold some of your earnings. Amazon and Smashwords require international authors to obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). Like most bureaucracies, it takes 6-10 weeks to apply for one by mail with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The author of this guide applied for an ITIN on behalf of his Thai wife, Lisa, and her passport came back with water damage all over it.

Important Note: You should apply for only one ITIN.

Depending on your country of residence, may not withhold your earnings from sales (nominally 30%) based on existing tax treaties. Consult the FAQ for more details on how taxes work for self-publishers.

The complicated tax structure in America has made Barnes & Noble NOOK reluctant toward allowing users from outside the USA to self-publish using the PubIt platform. Supposedly, they will be opening up the NOOK store to authors from outside the USA soon, but it has been slow.

Metadata: Even though you embedded metadata into your EPUB and MOBI files, you still need to add the metadata online when you self-publish your work. This guide recommends having a set of keywords and your eBook's description ready for exactly how it will appear on the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords sites. Do not overlook your eBook's description, as this blurb is what the reader will see before making the decision to purchase or sample. It is also important so that readers know your book exists as they perform searches.

Cover Images: Cover images are also important to have ready when uploading your eBooks to the international marketplace. Even though the cover images were embedded inside your MOBI and EPUB eBooks, you still need to upload the JPEG file. A good rule of thumb is to use a 600x800px image for the Kindle store, 547x730px image for the Barnes & Noble NOOK, and 600x800px image for Smashwords. You can publish an eBook on all these sites without a cover image, but it is strongly discouraged.

Sales: All of these sites have comprehensive methods to track your sales on a very responsive basis. The only exception is the Smashwords sales that take place at the markets they distribute to (e.g. Kobo, iBookstore, etc.), because those markets report sales to Smashwords on a delayed basis. However, do yourself a favor and don't check it more than once a day. You will drive yourself completely mad.

ISBNs: It costs you absolutely nothing to use Kindle Direct Publishing, PubIt, and Smashwords to self-publish. Additionally, you do not need an ISBN for these three splatforms. ISBNs are automatically assigned by Smashwords when distributing to markets that require them (e.g. iBookstore).

Copyright: If you wrote the eBook, you have the copyright. You do not need to register this with the United States Government, which is where, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords are based. This is the law. The moment you type your own original work, you have the exclusive copyright, because the law actually works in your favor.

Consult Passive Guy if you need legal services with regards to copyrights. He is a lawyer with a lot of knowledge and experience in this area, and he can help authors at a reasonable rate.

DRM: Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a terrible, no-good way to discourage piracy. Not since Crystal Pepsi have consumers so universally hated something foisted upon them. Smashwords is philosophically opposed to DRM and does not allow it for any of the eBooks sold on their website. When you upload to the Kindle store and Barnes & Noble NOOK, you have the option to use or not use DRM. You should strongly consider not utilizing DRM in your eBooks, as a courtesy to your readers. Instead of creating unnecessary hassles for the customer and fretting about someone downloading a torrent of your eBook, which will happen whether or not you use DRM, you should focus on impressing your customer and using a pricing strategy that maximizes distribution.

Publishing on the Kindle Store
Amazon has the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform that you need to register with before self-publishing. They have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that covers every inquiry you probably have about royalties and practicalities. The only thing that is terse is the formatting section, but since you have these tutorials, that is not an issue.

Once you have setup a KDP account, add a new title from your dashboard. The process is very straightforward, and there are help pop-ups for everything you have to fill out. You only get to choose seven keywords, so make them count. Also, make sure that you don't check the option to make your eBook public domain. This means you don't have any rights to the eBook.

The important step is when you upload your MOBI file. You will have the opportunity to "Preview book", which pulls up a miniature Kindle app in your web browser. Click through the sections and make sure that everything looks the way it did in the Kindle Previewer. You may notice that the text goes right up against the edge with no margin. This is actually what you want, because the Kindle has a built-in margin that does not appear on the "Preview book" function.
Example of Proper Preview on KDP

There is a section where you set the price, and you cannot get the 70% royalty unless you set a minimum of $2.99. Any pricing below $2.99 will only yield 35% royalties. You will also have the opportunity to enable lending, which allows Kindle readers to lend your eBook to someone else for a 14-day period. At this time, only allows readers to sample the first 10% of the eBook's content for free. This is unfortunate, since most readers like to sample more of an eBook before they buy it.

Once you have finished updating your information, it takes approximately 24-48 hours before your eBook is live in the Kindle store. Be mindful of this delay if you plan on a specific date for an eBook launch. It is also advisable that you maintain an Amazon author page to tell readers a little about yourself, which will be linked to the product page of your eBook.

Publishing on Barnes & Noble NOOK
Barnes & Noble began PubIt following the success of's Kindle Direct Publishing platform. It is essentially the same concept as KDP, and it allows indie authors to self-publish with ease at the NOOK store. The royalty structure is similar to Amazon: 65% for any eBook sales $2.99 or above and 40% for any sales under $2.99. Registering an account on PubIt is a very straightforward process, and the FAQ section is helpful. At this time, you can only register on PubIt if you have a US tax ID (Social Security Number, ITIN, EIN, etc.), a US credit card, and a US bank account.

On the PubIt dashboard, click on "Add a Title". Everything in there is self-explanatory; however, keep in mind that you will need to add an author biography for every eBook you upload.

When you upload the EPUB file, it will automatically go to a mini-NOOK preview screen. Spend some time to verify that your EPUB is showing up correctly.

Example of Proper Preview on PubIt

Once you have uploaded your EPUB, expect it to go live in about 3-4 days.

Publishing on Smashwords
Obtaining an account on Smashwords is simple and open to the international community. However, publishing on Smashwords requires some additional attention, because you have to troubleshoot how your .doc file gets processed through the Meatrgrinder. Your first attempt through the Meatgrinder will most likely have some wrinkles to iron out.

To publish on Smashwords, sign in and click on the "Publish" tab. You will need to enter some metadata to include a short (<400 characters) and long (<4,000 characters) description. The cover image is required to obtain access to the Premium Catalog, and a 600x800px JPEG is recommended. You will be able to set the pricing for your eBook on this page, but it must be free or have a "$.99" affixed at the end due to the pricing policy on the iBookstore.

In regards to the formats, you have the options of making your eBook available as an EPUB, LRF, MOBI, PDF, PDB, RTF, and TXT. You should maintain the default of having the Meatgrinder convert to every available format. For some reason, uploading your .doc file with Firefox produces a strange error on the Smashwords site. If you are having problems uploading in Firefox, try using another web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Safari, or Chrome).

After you press "Publish", your document gets put through a queue in the Meatgrinder. In the past it took hours, but now it only takes 5-10 minutes to get all of your formats processed, depending on the time of day you are uploading. After the eBook shows up on your Dashboard, you can view the product page and download all the files for troubleshooting the Meatgrinder conversion. The files will be immediately available to the public for sale on the Smashwords site.
Various Formats on Smashwords

You will receive a notification on the Smashwords Dashboard that you have to assign your eBook an ISBN. Follow the instructions that Smashwords provides, and they will assign you a free ISBN that can be used only for Smashwords.

Autovetter errors: Within an hour, you will receive a lengthy form-generated email from Smashwords talking about your eBook being available online. At the bottom of the email, it should say if there were any Autovetter errors. Fix your .doc source file if you have any issues, because you need to have no errors to gain Premium Catalog distribution status.

Now that all the formats have been processed through the Meatgrinder, it is necessary to verify them. The most important format is the EPUB file, because it goes to most of the retailers (e.g. Barnes & Noble NOOK, iBookstore, Sony, etc.) You can use Adobe Digital Editions to inspect the EPUB on your PC. It also advantageous to validate the EPUB, just to be sure.

There are always going to be one or two problems on the first pass through the Meatgrinder. You can adjust your source .doc file, and re-publish in your dashboard by clicking "Upload New Version". It will once again go through the Meatgrinder queue and create entirely new formats. As Smashwords advises, do not publish the same eBook more than once.

Common problems with Meatgrinder conversion are as follows:

Erroneous page breaks: Try using the pagination features in Microsoft Word on your Heading 2 style.

Erroneous margins: Verify that you have set the correct spacing values in the Style Menu in Microsoft Word on each of your styles. Also, check to see that you have not accidentally declared the wrong style in each paragraph. Finally, make sure you do not use tabs anywhere in your .doc file.

Faulty NCX Table of Contents: Inspect the bookmarks in your .doc file to ensure that they are located in the correct place. When inserting a bookmark at your headings, try clicking the cursor in the middle of the heading's text, and then insert the bookmark. It is recommended that you do not select the entire heading, as this can cause bugs during the Meatgrinder conversion.

You should consult the Smashwords Style Guide for detailed troubleshooting, and don't be frustrated if it takes a few times to get it right.

Premium Catalog: To gain access to the Premium Catalog, a Smashwords team member has to look over your eBook. While this is ongoing, your eBook will say "Pending Review" under the dashboard. The review process takes about one week. If there are any problems, you will be notified via email. You should endeavor to gain access to the Premium Catalog, because that will allow your eBook to ship to all markets. Once it is approved, your eBook will say "Approved on mm/dd/yyyy".

Important Note: For the Premium Catalog, you need to make sure that you have no links to Otherwise, you get an Orwellian message saying that other eBook retailers do not like to know that exists. It is advised to not mention Amazon at all in your Smashwords .doc source file.

September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago


September 9, 2011

Declaration of Independents and Self-Publishing

I'm probably revealing my political leanings for the all to see, but I recently finished the new book from my two favorite journalists/commentators: Nick Gillespie & Matt Welch. Aside from a terribly high price of $11.50 at Amazon's Kindle store (but marked down from $25.99!), the book is quite enjoyable, regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum.

One thing that is interesting about the book is how it applies to the self-publishing and indie author community. The book discusses how people's interests are falling into more niches. Rather than the DC/NYC axis telling us how to get our news, MTV telling us what to listen to, and the Big 6 telling us what to read, people are free to peruse their own interests with the dawn of the information age. This is a boon for indie authors, because the possibilities of people interested in what you write are limitless. Even if you're scribbling stories about lesbian elves traipsing through a steampunk universe, someone probably wants to read it.

Here is my review on Amazon (4-stars):
I've been a long-time fan of Nick Gillespie & Matt Welch, and a reader of Reason for over a decade. The way they characterize what is going well in the world (e.g. decentralized culture, mistrust of the elites, savvy entrepreneurs) is somewhat inspiring in these rather depressing times. Even if you aren't libertarian, you will probably be able to appreciate their criticism of the US Government's boneheaded policies over the years, rampant corruption in Washington, and the fact that politicians are often the last to catch up with the modern era. However, I was mildly disappointed with some of the prescriptions to the ongoing malaise. If you've read Reason or Hit & Run, none of it will come as a surprise to you (i.e. reduce the size of the government, eliminate spending, etc.). From two muckrakers like Matt and Nick, I guess I had really high expectations. Heaven knows we need it now.

I respectfully disagree with some of the reviews here that Nick & Matt are being too snarky and hipsterish. That's the only way that US politics is even remotely interesting in my humble opinion. Their style of writing has paved the way for bloggers everywhere to hold our politicians accountable and with no mercy.

Declaration of Independents is a good book if you're interested in the libertarian point of view and why freedom in everything is important. However, don't expect a Jeffersonian silver bullet to our problems as the title implies. Politics is just too complicated and entrenched in every aspect of our lives to cover all the solutions in one book.
Even though the American political system is a joke, it's comforting to know that people are freed from the shackles of how they should partake in culture.

September 8, 2011

Smashwords Formatting Tutorial Has Been Updated

In order to supplement the Smashwords Style Guide, I have updated the tutorial (with videos of my goofy voice) to help indie authors looking to get their work self-published on Smashwords. It is advantageous to go with the Smashwords option, since they distribute to other markets and function as a vendor to online shoppers. The royalties are attractive for the self-publisher, and you have much greater control over coupons, contests, and other goodies compared to the Kindle store or the Barnes & Noble NOOK.

The problem with Smashwords is that the Meatgrinder is a major pain in the rear. This is their system that convert a Microsoft Word .doc file to EPUB, MOBI, PDF, and other formats. It also doesn't help that you can't test the Meatgrinder until you actually update your file to Smashwords.

This tutorial on getting a bullet-proof .doc file to convert into eBook formats through the Smashwords Meatgrinder will hopefully be useful for all us indie authors out there. Good luck selling your eBooks!

September 6, 2011

On Leptospirosis and a My First 5-star Review

So on Sunday night, I was more delirious than an addict withdrawing from smack and my whole body felt like I just got my ass whooped by Manny Pacquiao. After a trip to the hospital, I was informed that I had Leptospirosis. I had no idea what this weird infection was, and the fact that it's got the little red squiggly line under it within blogger's editor means it is probably not too common.

Apparently, the disease gets spread around by dogs and rats, and you get it from their urine in contaminated water. Of course, Bangkok has all of those things in spades. Luckily, I got a good treatment of antibiotics and was hooked up to an IV for 24 hours to make everything better for the time-being. It makes me feel guilty that other people in tropical climates without access to decent medical care have to suffer through crappy diseases that people in the West have barely heard of (Dengue fever, Typhoid, Malaria, and other potentially fatal afflictions).

On the plus side to a bad way to start the week, I received my first 5-star review from Vanessa at the Bornean Bookworm for America Goes On:
It’s very obvious to me that this story to some degree screams a cryptic yet powerful message to its readers. At some point in our lives, we want to be appreciated, to be taken seriously for our unquestionable noble sweats we spilled especially for our country and community.
I never really thought about the novella that way when I was writing it, but I guess that's what makes fiction interesting: it means different things to different people. So thanks, Vanessa, for the excellent review, and you cheered me up after I suffered from this lousy rat feces disease.

Check out America Goes On  right here for links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords for just $0.99.

September 1, 2011

Asia Books Ramps Up eBook Store in Thailand

For those of us trying to break into the ever-expanding Asian eBook marketplace, it is unfortunate that Amazon still has an idiotic policy of slapping an extra $2 surcharge on eBooks purchased internationally. My Thai friends think I'm a real ass, because I tell them that America Goes On is just $0.99, but it shows up as $2.99 on their Amazon page. So thank heavens for Asiabooks, which is Thailand's largest provider of English-language publications.

Their eBook store is still in the early stages, and they do not have an online platform for self-publishing yet. However, you can contact them with your metadata and a signed contract, and they will sell your eBook with a 50% royalty at their store. I haven't tried it out yet, but it sounds promising. The formats they sell are PDF and EPUB, and I noticed in the FAQ that you can now make them DRM-free, which is advised since DRM sucks.

Today's article about Asiabooks in the Bangkok Post pretty much reads like a press release, a common problem with business journalism in Thailand. However, it offers some interesting information for the self-publisher looking to expand into Asia:
"[Amazon] is the new business model for Asia Books as Berli Jucker wants to benefit from our bookstores' locations," said Sirote Jiraprayoon, the managing director of Asia Books.

"From now on, our mindset in doing business will change. More products like iPads, smartphones, educational toys and lifestyle items will be available in our bookshops. We've reached a turning point."
Berli Jucker is run by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, a self-made billionaire who pretty much owns most of Bangkok. The man is an entrepreneurial genius, so if anyone can get the eBook marketplace going in Thailand, it's him. I'm going to attempt to contact Asiabooks in an attempt to self-publish, and I'll let you know how that process goes.