October 20, 2014

Another Vanity E-Publisher Joins the Party

I just received an email from Ron Pramschufer at www.selfpublishing.com regarding a new player in the Self Publishing business called Kbuuk.  Seems that they have developed apps that will enable you to design a cover for your book, upload your file and have it converted to an epub. They also have other tools for marketing but you have to subscribe to a Premium Plan for that.

Now I’m not an expert on marketing so I don’t feel qualified to address those issues. Having designed over 300 ebooks, I know what’s involved in outputting an ebook that looks good and, depending on the book, it isn’t easy.

Now a simple fiction book with nothing but text can run through “conversion” software and might produce an acceptable ebook, but many of the ebooks we do at Self Publishing are anything but simple. Many of our books have extensive formatting with numerous font changes and style changes, all of which raises havoc with a software conversion program that can’t really “see” what it’s working on. Photos and diagrams add another layer of complexity that will affect the conversion.

When I output your ebook, I use a high-end program called InDesign to do the conversion and, even then, the results are not always perfect.  I then need to look at your ebook and visually compare it to the pdf that was used to create your printed book. If I see any problems, I then crack open the epub with a program called Dreamweaver. At that point, I can change the html code to fix any problems. Now show me a software program that can do all that.

Another issue I see is support. When dealing with Self Publishing, you’re dealing directly with me, the person who actually worked on your file. What happens when you call support at this other company? Obviously, you can’t speak to the person who worked on your file, he doesn’t exist.

Finally, if you use the Kbuuk system, you use an ISBN that’s assigned by them that they have purchased. Though they call their service “self publishing,” when you don’t own the ISBN, you are not “self publishing.” You are the author and the copyright holder, but they are the publisher. While there is no publishing agreement, but using their services, you are agreeing to Terms of Service which grants them publisher status, but holds the author responsible for any liabilities or responsibilities that a publisher usually accepts. They get all of the benefit, but none of the publisher’s responsibility. Nice deal for them.

So my thinking is this. If you have a manuscript that’s fairly simple in scope and you’re not too fussy, you could try one of these one-stop companies. But if you want the personal attention that your book deserves, you’ll come to Self Publishing, Inc. where you truly self publishing.

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Ed Matte

Having majored in Graphic Arts at RIT in the late sixties, Ed Matte has been involved in printing for nearly forty years. Working with top ad agencies, his experience as a high end scanner operator and prepress technician has spanned the commercial printing, book printing, packaging, corrugated and large format printing industries. As Director of the Prepress and Professional special interest group for the Boston Computer Society, he has taught a prepress course for designers at Mass Art and held numerous seminars on solving print related issues at both Montserrat College of Art and MIT. Always looking to future technological advances, he is currently involved with Self Publishing and the intricacies of Ebook conversion. With his experience in scanning and color, he also currently specializes in photo restoration and repair. E-mail Ed at edmatte@msn.com.

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