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Advice on my business plan?

5103 Views 46 Replies Latest reply: May 1, 2012 8:13 PM by thye chean RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
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    Apr 23, 2012 2:37 AM (in response to shoobeedoo)

    shoobeedoo wrote:

     

    I would also reserve the right to refuse distribution to a book that I consider inappropriate. There are many possible reasons, such as poor quality (spelling, grammar, layout, etc.) as well as politically or racially offensive material (among others).

    So you reserve the right to censor material in you shop. Why should you decide on how I spell things or whatmy house grammar style should be? Huckelberry Finn is racially offensive to some - does that get approved? Who approves and why? we should know these things.

    As far as I know, refusing to distribute a title is not censorship. Censorship would be if, as a distributor, I altered or selectively removed parts of the material that was passed to me for submission.

     

    Distribution companies are well within their rights to refuse to distribute a particular item, and I don't believe they even owe anyone a reason for the refusal. The only case I can think of where such refusal might be illegal is if it were to be caught under common law, such as antidiscrimination or antitrust legislation.

     

    As a distributor, I have the right to refuse to distribute something I deem inappropriate. For example, if I am a distributor of electrical appliances and I'm approached by a company that produces (in my opinion) inferior electrical appliances, I'm at liberty to say "thanks, but I'm not interested in distributing your products."

     

    Similarly, as a book store owner, I'm at liberty to choose not to publish titles that I deem inappropriate to the nature of my business. For example, there are plenty of book stores that do not sell novels, but exclusively specialize on particular lines, such as technical manuals. And, even then, these book stores are perfectly within their rights to refuse stocking an item that they deem inappropriate, such as a book with poor-quality binding or inaccurate information.

     

    Apple's slow review process is not censorship, as far as I can see.

     

     

    Apple are not the publisher - they are the distributor. A Christian or Islamic bookshop put that title over the door so we all know what to expect inside. Ipad should be a free platform for content. I have no problem with checjking for bugs and viruses to keep the walled garden safe, but if we are going to have a walled garden of opinion too, then I think we should be told what to expect insie that garden.

    I too believe that a level playing field is desirable, and I am generally opposed to censorship. However, I do not see how what Apple is doing could be construed as censorship.

     

    I strongly agree with you that it would be good to have more information on the conditions for rejection/approval. The currently available information from Apple is not detailed enough, IMO. More detailed information would make it easier for authors/publishers to avoid the kinds of problems that lead to rejection, and it would streamly the slow process.

     

     

    My main gripe in the video is exactly that

    The problem is that the submission and review process are slow and insufficiently documented, and that the trouble ticketing system is less than helpful in pointing publishers at the nature of a problem when one is found.

    and that is why publishers will get bored - go somewhere else and let iBooks rot on the vine as Mac Os did in the 90's. Kindle will be just as good very soon and you can get your book earning in under three hours. How can I write iBook material that is time sensitive when I don't know if it will be published in time because a reviewer, who works for a software company, who only really care about syntax, decides I spelt something rong.

    These are all good points, especially the very large time discrepancy between the Apple and the Amazon publishing process. I expect that Apple will improve the process if enough people complain. Or alternatively, if Apple doesn't improve the process, authors may vote with their feet and, as you say, the iBookstore experiment may turn out to be an "also-ran."

     

    I love the iPad and I want iBooks to succeed, but this is not the way to ensure a rosy future.

    I agree that the current process needs a lot of work. But I think it's too early to predict the failure of Apple's approach. The entire eBook thing is very new, and we are roughly at the stage where the web was in 1999. IMO, it'll take another five to ten years for this market and the technology to stabilize to the point where authors, publishers, and distributors have worked out a model that works.

     

    For Apple, the current model seems to be "sell as many iPads as possible on the strength of the iBookstore." They may just succeed at that. Apple became the world's largest music distributor, and they may become the world's largest distributor of eBooks, too. Time will tell.

     

    Michi.

  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 23, 2012 2:49 AM (in response to shoobeedoo)

    shoobeedoo wrote:

     

    Would Apple be so petty to play games with their content providers - the people who create the content that will make iBooks a success?

    I strongly suspect that one of Apple's big problems right now is that everyone who's ever managed to recite the alphabet from beginning to end without stumbling suddenly thinks that they are going to be the next year's New York Times bestseller author. There are probably thousands of submissions to Apple that don't even meet the most basic publishing standards, such as acceptable spelling and grammar, let alone worthwhile content. I'm sure that some proportion of submissions is of high quality. But Apple can't tell which ones are of high quality until after they've reviewed them. To Apple, initially, every submission that comes in is the same any other.

     

     

    I've been waiting over two weeks for approval now. I should be getting appologies from Apple and explanations of what is going wrong with their process.

     

    I'm a die hard Apple fan starting to think maybe my faith is not worth hanging on to.

    I'm frustrated about the long wait time too. But, compared to traditional publishing, two weeks is nothing. My book with Addison-Wesley took nearly four months to get from camera-ready and completely reviewed and approved state into the first bookshop.

     

    This does leave the question though why Apple take weeks to accomplish what Amazon manage to do in a few hours.

     

    Michi.

  • thye chean Calculating status...
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    Apr 23, 2012 2:59 AM (in response to MichiHenning)

    This is the problem. Apple competitor is no longer the traditional publisher that takes months to review, it is Amazon.

     

    My bird book Wetland Wings have been stuck in the review for 2 months now - and without a ticket or explanation. I still love Apple, so I am redeveloping the whole book as app and going to submit for review tonight. My guess is that the App team might even approve the app before the book got approved.

  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
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    Apr 23, 2012 3:02 AM (in response to thye chean)

    thye chean wrote:

     

    My bird book Wetland Wings have been stuck in the review for 2 months now - and without a ticket or explanation.

    That is truly disheartening. I've been waiting for only three and a half weeks, and was hoping that, by week five, it might actually happen. Looks like I'll have to re-adjust my expectations…

     

    I still love Apple, so I am redeveloping the whole book as app and going to submit for review tonight. My guess is that the App team might even approve the app before the book got approved.

    I wish you good luck! By the accounts of other people around here, there seems to be every chance that your app will be available before your book makes it into the store.

     

    Michi.

  • thye chean Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Apr 23, 2012 3:28 AM (in response to MichiHenning)

    It is OK... without the experience of this ridiculous process, I won't think of going back to iOS development, and surprise at the new storyboard features of Xcode (iOS development tool) that make content creation fun again! It is really not hard and within a month, I have already released 7 music apps based on 1 template (and 3 got approved and up the chart), and 2 bird books coming. All are originally iBooks and now they are apps.

     

    Here's a screenshot of iBook turned app Wetland Wings bird book - each icon/thumbnail are clickable, with video playback or showing beautiful bird pictures - or leads to other pages which show more videos and pictures. The whole process are done with 90% drag and drop using storyboard feature and 10% programming (primary to play video). Takes me less than a week to redeveloped and most of the time are spent with layout and develop for both iPhone and iPad (somethings that cannot be done for iBA).

     

    IMG_3137.PNGIMG_3138.PNG

     

    I hope to report back to this forum how things work for my apps vs iBooks of the same content.

  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
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    Apr 23, 2012 3:33 AM (in response to thye chean)

    thye chean wrote:

     

    Here's a screenshot of iBook turned app Wetland Wings bird book - each icon/thumbnail are clickable, with video playback or showing beautiful bird pictures - or leads to other pages which show more videos and pictures.

    Looks great!

     

     

    I hope to report back to this forum how things work for my apps vs iBooks of the same content.

    Please do! It would be really intersting to get some figures on how the same title compares when sold as an app versus as a an eBook.

     

    I've been considering taking the same step, but I've shied back so far because of the amount of effort involved. (My book runs to 83 pages, with over 30 videos and over 100 diagrams and photos, many of them in interactive widgets or galleries.)

     

    Michi.

  • thye chean Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Apr 23, 2012 4:54 AM (in response to MichiHenning)

    Our iBooks sales has been very low (single digit most of the days), so probably it is because we are no-name author in US (we are Singapore company), or iBookstore is really small. Our apps so far are all double digits figure so far, probably because it has a wider audience based (worldwide vs 32 countries, iPhone/iPad vs iPad only).

     

    Our books have close to 100 pages (some has over 100 pages), so I started from the book with lesser pages. This is my strategy:

     

    - do only a subset of the book. In this case, I focus on 2 bird species rather than all 20+ birds. In exchange, the price of the app is only half of the book price. App market is a primary US$0.99-2.99 market, so should not expect to sell a US$9.99 book over there.

     

    - since app allows upgrade, I can slowly add back pages that are missing in the future. Might also raise the price in the future if app is well received.

     

    - iOS SDK does not come with a photo gallery widget, so I have to remove all pictures for the bird using photo gallery, and lay out a few full page pictures on the pages. You can, however, simulate page turning effect.

     

    IMG_0798.PNG

     

    So I only have about 10-20 pages for my app, retain all videos but missing most of the pictures that can be added back in the future.

  • Sputnik Slim Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 23, 2012 7:02 AM (in response to shoobeedoo)

    Was being facetious. Still trying to wrap my head around your first post about selling 20 million children's books. Must be a pretty nice shed that you are working out of. I mean, you got at least a dollar a book, no? Don't mean to be a detective Columbo but just trying to understand why your publisher isn't taking charge of your transistion to ebooks. I mean, 20 million in book sales is a mark that ANY publisher would take note of and want to get on board and be a part of.

  • shoobeedoo Calculating status...
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    Apr 23, 2012 7:28 AM (in response to Sputnik Slim)

    A dollar a book?!!! lol I'm in the UK and they are children's books. One time I was getting 0.5% royalty on one edition! Publishers have sold out to retail bookstores and supermarkets and driving author's royalties down and down. It's not worth being published any more, not by major publishers like I am. They have comoditised the whole business. I feel the only way to make a living as an author in the ebook world is to publish yourself and learn the business. We've had it far too easy for the last 50 years or so. The book business is going the way of the Music business fast:(

  • shoobeedoo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 23, 2012 7:28 AM (in response to MichiHenning)

    That has crossed my mind too

  • thye chean Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Apr 24, 2012 9:02 AM (in response to shoobeedoo)

    How much does Children books sold in UK? Even a small percentage of many million books is a lot of money...

  • thye chean Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Apr 24, 2012 9:07 AM (in response to MichiHenning)

    I just uploaded Wetland Wings app today... finger crossed. My guess is that the app will get approved before the iBooks version which is waiting for 2 months now.

     

    So far our children music video app is performing well, currently reached #2 in Singapore education chart for iPad. We can't market our iBooks in Singapore (since iBooks is not on sale here) so it is not a direct comparison.

  • shoobeedoo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 24, 2012 10:58 AM (in response to thye chean)

    That's spread over  a 25 year carreer and many of those sales are subrights and translations around the world, for which I basically get peanuts as an author. Looks like great figures on paper, but I'd have earned a lot more if I'd chosen a different career!

     

    All those people piling into children's ebooks are going to be very disappointed.

     

    I got a children's story book app yesterday with spellingmistakes and terrible translation into English. It seems there is no quality assurance in apps so maybe that's the way to go?

  • thye chean Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Apr 24, 2012 3:46 PM (in response to shoobeedoo)

    Oh well, I hope this iBook things work, although it does not work in the whole Asia (which I am in).

     

    Apple does not check for content in apps - this should be the work for the author/publisher. It is just a distribution centre.

     

    Is there a place to see your work (not just in iBooks)?

  • JoeScrivens Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
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    Apr 25, 2012 2:05 AM (in response to thye chean)

    thye chean wrote:

     

     

    Is there a place to see your work (not just in iBooks)?

     

    just google shoo rayner to see more, he's a well known author in the uk

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