Saturday, 7 August 2010

Have Amazon finally got it together?

I almost missed the email from Amazon yesterday, it looked for all the world like a spam message - but it now seems that they're selling eBooks for Kindle in the UK. I've been waiting about SIX YEARS for them to start selling content in the UK.
This has got to be a good day for eContent retailers in Europe.

And hey, a bit of a bonus - they've released what looks to be a sensible sized new Kindle at a sensible price! £109 for the Wifi, £149 if you want 3G.
I don't think I get out enough to warrant getting the 3G one ;)

Friday, 25 June 2010

Digital Warehouse, and too much Dr Pepper

Oxford eBooks own Digital Warehouse is coming along very nicely!
I've been burning the candle at both ends working on the coding for the system as well as the other day to day stuff.

All that late-night programming kind of takes me back to the pioneering days of games programming in the 80's - inspired by the new Soma FM 'Underground 80's' web radio channel (Loads of Kraftwerk, Yaz, Yello, Depeche Mode).

OE's Digital Warehouse will let publishers and Authors sell their products using their own Payment portal, so you keep ALL your revenue. The DW system handles the secure delivery of your content and download tracking. Selling content can be as simple now as putting a PayPal link up on your site.

I've talked with SO many people who have been through (or been put off by) the PAIN of setting up with aggregators (I know, I've been through the pain myself). Some of them are really good, but you still have to wait FIVE MONTHS before you get your money. Our Digital Warehouse doesn't handle any of your money at all to paraphrase a famous video game... "ALL YOUR SALES ARE BELONG TO YOU...".

A sneeky peek of DW in development... mmmm, graphs!!

If you want to be involved in the fully functional Beta Programme later this summer and get a FREE sign-up while I bash out the last of the bugs, then get in touch - drop by at for contact details.

Monday, 17 May 2010

'The Bodleian Murders' book launch

It doesn't take much to get me down to the pub to listen to some local authors reading from their latest book, and I'm certainly glad that I accepted the invitation from Jane Gordon-Cumming to come to the launch of the OxPens writers' latest anthology - 'The Bodleian Murders'.
There was a great atmosphere at the event and the anthology sounds like it'll be a cracking read.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Write Fantastic

I met up with a host of Authors at the 5th Anniversary Write Fantastic today.
Amongst them, Ian Whates seen here with the eBook version of his novel 'The Noise Within' as produced by Oxford eBooks in April.
Ian also joined in one of the lively panel discussions at the event and was avaialble for book signings throughout the day.
Something that occured to me after I joked that I didn't want Ian to sign the Kindle was, that if eBooks ever spell the death of printed books, then surely it would put an end to book signings... ok so that's not likely to happen, but what if there WERE some digital equivalant? How might that work? I guess you could use the annotation feature on the kindle to write a dedication, but it's hardly the same is it.
Oh.... now hang on a minute I think I know how this might work, I've just had a BRILLIANT idea. I'm going to write a couple of emails to a couple of people. Watch this space.

I also caught up with independant author Dawn Cartwright who'd travelled all the way across the country with some other members of the Welwyn Writers group. Here she is proud as punch with her trilogy of short stories 'It Always Happens in Threes'. As an occasional writer myself, I know the value of being able to get work out in the open and up for sale through channels more serious than the vanity sites. That's why Oxford eBooks is keen to try to support writers by making their short stories or experimental writing into eBooks.

Many thanks, of course to Juliet McKenna for allowing me to ply my trade at the event and of course to Jenni Hill and Dave Moore from Abaddon / Solaris for putting my brochures and business cards on their sales table.

Ian Watson (below) treated us to an improptue and rudely hilarious reading... and shared with us all one of the unfortunate side effects of being a vampire. Being undead and therefore having no blood pressure to speak of it would seem that even the Little Blue Pill can be of no help during those... crucial moments.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Kennington Book Fair and MG Harris

Kennington book fair was an absolute success, a big thanks to Dominique at Kennington Library for setting this up.
It was great to listen to some fascinating talks from some great writers.
Michael Smith talked about the unsung war hero Frank Foley dubbed by some as the British Schindler.
The talented local writers from the Oxford Writers Group talked on the theme of Oxford as a Character in books - I can understand what they mean. Oxford is a city so steeped in history that it just begs to be written about. I was reminded of Jonathan Green's 'Christmas Past'. I worked the eBook of this last December and found the references to places in Oxford heart-warming and familiar.

Bill Heine from Radio Oxford, a writer himself spoke of the darker side of our fair city, and introduced us to his new
book. Heinstein of the Airwaves. I didn't actually know that he's the guy that lives in the famous house with the shark sticking out of the roof.

MG Harris gave an enthralling talk about some of the background to her Joshua Files series and we were all treated to a reading from the next, yet to be released book in the Joshua Files series.

Bill joined in the lively Q&A afterwards but it seems that the election fever brought out his intense journalistic nature and poor old MG got something of a Paxman style grilling over the nature of some of her characters.
Of course, the focus of MG's visit was to promote her Joshua File series - I'm a little over halfway through 'Zero Moment' right now and it's a cracking good read. I really think that the people who are calling her the next JK Rowling aren't exaggerating at all. I admire her drive and commitment to what she does - Pinky says that I looked like a little boy queueing up to meet his idol when I was waiting to get my copy of 'Ice Shock' signed. I guess a little hero worship can't hurt once in a while ;)

After the talk and the signings we had some fun talking about eBooks and looking at a selection of eReaders that I'd brought along. Here's the pair of us geeking out with an iPhone and a Kindle. I think she was particularly impressed with the treatment that I'd done to 'Engines of the Apocalypse' - I have to admit that that's one of my favourites at the moment.

All in all, a fun day and glittering showcase for writers in Oxford from the budding horror writer to the literary superstar!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

London Book Fair

What a fantastic day at the London Book Fair!

Spoke with loads of lovely people, made lots of great contacts.
Despite there being a scattering of empty stalls due to the volcano, there was certainly a brilliant buzz about the place.

One of the best parts for me was seeing the look on people's faces when I showed them some of the beautiful looking eBooks we'd made. That definately brought it home to me that it's worth spending just a little bit more effort to make an eBook that looks good - it sets the title apart from the sweat-shop conversions that I also saw.

Well, I've got a load of work to do now writing back to all the people I spoke with. If you're one of those people reading this - hi, I'll definately get back to you! :)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

See you at the London Book Fair!

I'm all registered for the London Book Fair!

Drop me a line at andy[at] if you'd like to meet up and chat about making some eBooks for you.

It'll be great to be back at Earls Court - brings back memories of the good old days of the ECTS and PC Show ;)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

My BRAIN hurts! But it's a good kind of hurt. After a couple of evenings bashing my face against some nasty PERL script, I think I might have the beginnings of a new tool that's going to make our eBook conversion pipeline significantly more streamlined.

Time to crack open a celebratory beer.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Getting ready for the Kennington Literary Festival

I'm looking forward to the Kennington Literary festival on April-24.
It'll be a great opportunity to meet some local authors and show what we do. We've got some brand new Oxford-eBooks business cards, they arrived today and look absolutely lovely. Spent a couple of quid extra to get fancy rounded corners on two sides - gives it a funky looking shape.

I'll be there to answer any questions about making eBooks and can show off some of the work we've done. As it'll be a busy day, it might be good to drop me a line if you want a chat so we can book a time for a meeting - there's a pub opposite where people are planning to slip away to for 'meetings'... ;)

Find out more at:

Monday, 5 April 2010

1 TERABYTE of eBooks!

That's what I can get on our new lovely shiny spanking server!
I think it'll take a little while to fill that up, but we're sure gonna try.

Worked right out of the box too, no fuss, no fighting or loss of blood - dontcha just LOVE it when that happens?

Monday, 29 March 2010

# We make any EBOOK DOT COM #

Sorry, but I' just CAN'T get that stupid advert out of my head.
I'm a little jazzed on a mixture of coffee and VBA. The new arm of sci-fi-cafe's website goes live today after a hard week's coding and some very exciting talks with some lovely people who want us to make their eBooks for them.

Obviously, making eBooks is what's all about but we've turned up the gas and now have the capacity to sell our services to the world.

If you're a publisher or even a lone author wanting to get a fast and HIGH QUALITY product then enter the eBooks portal on the main site at and read all about it.


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Up and blogging!

Well it's taken about five years but I've finally gotten around to embedding a blog in the main page. Saves having to go write stuff directly in the editorial HTML :)

I've been busy setting up a brand new eBook conversion service - hopefully that'll go live this week. Details to be published very soon.