Friday, 17 September 2010


We keep very close tabs on discussions among ebook reading folks in various  international forums and websites, large and small, to stay abreast of  ever-developing reading trends, hardware and software technology, etc, and to be aware of problems encountered ... especially problems we can help fix for readers.  (I highly recommend, by the way.)

Two of the most common complaints are geographical restrictions placed on titles by  the huge new  online ebook stores (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo et al) that put some books out of reach to readers in some countries, and Digital Rights Management (DRM) padlocks that tremendously and, we believe unfairly,  restrict a buyer's rights of personal use.

Although BeWrite Books holds international rights to all its titles, whereas some publishers' deals with authors and agents are country-specific, the major stores lump BB in with the rest for their own  admin convenience and sometimes there arises the ridiculous situation where someone in the very same town as a BB author can't buy his neighbour's book from a big online ebookshop. This is especially critical in Europe and Down Under.

We have no control over this and can only encourage browsers to buy from our own store where there are ZERO geographical restrictions.

And, although we utterly deplore and fight tooth and nail against DRM, the big stores slap on their own software locks regardless and, we believe, for nefarious reasons. Again we are powerless, although we guarantee that ebooks from our own store are DRM-free.

But where there's a will there's a way, and Tony and I have dreamed up a solution, with a little  help from an anti-DRM-campaigning indie author. You will now see the following prominent notice at the top of our bookstore's front page ...


Should you buy a BeWrite Books ebook from a third party-retailer rather than from our own site, you might find (through no fault or desire on our part) that it is locked by store-imposed Digital Rights Management (DRM) software. We feel this restricts your legitimate owner's rights. So if you ever encounter this problem, simply let us know and we will freely send you the DRM-free version of that title in the format of your choice. (Evidence of original purchase would help us identify the errant store, but isn't strictly necessary for this offer to be fulfilled.) BeWrite Books and its authors want you to be able to share their ebooks with friends and family as you might share  their paperbacks. We want you to be able to easily convert ebooks to any format you like, to read them on whichever device you like, wherever you like, whenever you like. We trust you not to make a business of it, but to fairly use a BB ebook as you would a BB treebook. BB reckons you own the ebook you bought – you've not merely licensed it with strings attached. DRM is not only an inconvenience to you but a downright insult. We'll put it right. That's a promise. And those who know us will attest to the fact that BB never breaks its promises.

And if our third-party retailers don't like that, they can take Kurt Vonnegut's famous flying you-know-what at the mooooon!

Cheers folks. Neil

Thursday, 9 September 2010


I've heard it said by men wiser than I'll ever be that if you can keep your head while all around you are losing theirs ... then you simply don't understand the problem.

Well, I guess Tony Szmuk and I don't understand the problem, or the current panic in the publishing industry; especially at the small independent houses.

Let's see: What don't we understand? Why are we keeping our heads? Why are we making all the wrong moves as a result?

*Wise men say: The end of traditional publishing is nigh because of the threat posed by the mushrooming ebook culture. Publishers simply aren't geared up for such drastic change. It's taken them by complete surprise. No fair ... no fair!

BeWrite Books says
: We've been covering all titles with ebooks from the very start. We invested  early this year in new hardware and software and are well into converting every title in our cataloge into various formats that can be read on ALL digital reading platforms from PCs to dedicated-ebook-reading devices to smart phones.

*Wise men say: Smaller publishers without an official US presence must use a third-party US 'publisher' to place their ebooks in the massive new US online ebook stores for Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Sony's PRS series, Apple's iPad, etc, etc, and pay IRS tax at source, or wrap up the digital side of their houses.

BeWrite Books says: We've been onto this for six months, and with the expert  advice and assistance of specialised US lawyers, our additional official registration as a US publishing house came through last week. We can now deal direct with ALL online ebook stores.

*Wise men say: Latin America and China are out of reach to smaller independent publishing houses.

BeWrite Books says: So far this year, our agent in China has placed six BeWrite Books titles with major publishers for translation and mass-run paperback on the Chinese mainland and BB had over seventy titles exclusively represented at last week's massive Beijing International Book Fair. Our own BeWrite Books English/Spanish agency for Latin America opens later this year.

*Wise men say: Publishing Down Under is dying. Publishers are pulling out or simply expiring in droves. It's On  the Beach. It's the end of days. Run away ... run away!

BeWrite Books says
: Our fully-staffed Australian bureau opens in Adelaide in October/November to cover Oz, New Zealand and Pacific Rim countries. We closed a deal for print and distribution there in August.

*Wise men say: Especially for 'unknown authors' self-publishing is the only option now. Publishing houses can no longer afford to take the risk.

BeWrite Books says: The number of submissions by 'unknown authors' to our house has more than doubled. this year. Our editorial and release schedules for the rest of 2010 and most of 2011 are full of books by debut novelists.

*Wise men say: Things will never be the same in publishing.

BeWrite Books says: You only just noticed?

*Wise men say: Only fools rush in.

BeWrite Books says: Right on. But the late Sir Robert Baden-Powel told his scouts ... be prepared!

So that's it in a nut shell. See why we're keeping our heads? It's not because we don't understand the problem. It's because there is no problem. We foresaw the change ten years ago and got ready to embrace it, not to be taken by surprise and be reduced to panic.

Cheers, chums. Neil