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We who need an e-publishing hero, part 2.

November 10, 2010 \pm\30 8:40 pm

Part One

I know, we’re living in a free market world and I’m a filthy socialist for suggesting that a non-profit organization that states one of its goals as “to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery” to do exactly that by assisting the much smaller, resource-strapped organizations that put out “the poetry.”

This afternoon I spoke to Adam Deutsch of Cooper Dillon Books. Cooper Dillon is a new poetry press, established in 2009, that has already published an impressive backlist including titles by Jill Alexander Essbaum, Nate Pritts, Gary L. McDowell, Laura Cherry and will soon release a title by Clay Matthews (featuring comics by Micah Farritor and Shannon Wheeler). It’s a three person shop. Adam makes all final decisions on manuscripts, manages advertising, marketing and guides the production of each title, including the interior layout. Taylor Katz is the Assistant Editor, reads submissions in the open reading period and assists with promotion and editing. Max Xiantu designs the book covers, collaborates with the artists to maintain the integrity of their work at every step of the design process.

Earlier this year Adam tried to make Cooper Dillon’s poetry titles available as eBooks. He bought a NOOK because it had better file compatibility than a Kindle. He quickly discovered that his eBook reader couldn’t handle line/stanza breaks. No matter what file format, internal spacing, or export options he chose, the lines and stanzas got destroyed to one degree or another. He contacted Adobe for technical support. He didn’t receive the support that he needed from Adobe. At this writing Cooper Dillon is no longer considering eBooks as an option. Adam states, “moving to digital with the current margin for error totally undermines the whole art of bookmaking, which is a discipline we shouldn’t turn our back on.”

After the fold is the record of the fruitless five month correspondence between Adam and Adobe Technical Support. Could a large organization, working on behalf of all poetry publishers, be better able to work directly with software developers to better improve the current options in e-publishing for poetry?

I say yes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 10:37:48 AM PST
I build books of poetry with InDesign, then export them as PDFs.

They look perfect on the computer screen and if I print, but I recently purchased a NOOK. On the NOOK, I notice that the space I put between lines, between titles and lines, the margins, etc, all get lost on the NOOK. Rather than look like a perfect scan of the page–the way PDFs are supposed to look–a lot of formatting goes away.

Similarly, if I have a paragraph of text that I’ve justified to both left and right margins, it comes up as Left Justified on the NOOK.

How can I save my PDFs to preserve the format to be read on the NOOK?

Adam Deutsch

* * *

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 3:59:28 PM PST
Dear Adam,

Thank you for contacting Adobe Technical support. My Name is Pramod & I am responding in reference to your query on the support portal regarding Adobe Indesign CS4 and NOOK.

Adam, I would like to inform you that Indesign have nothing to do with the setting. As you informed you export them as PDFs they look perfect on the computer screen and in print also.

However this Product NOOK is not an Adobe product so kindly get in touch with the product company they will guode you better on this and inform you in which format it will read the PDF.

For a resolution to this issue, you can navigate to our self help resources such as our knowledge base & User to User forums by clicking on the following links:

KnowledgeBase – http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/search/index.cfm

U2U Forums – http://www.forums.adobe.com

I would also suggest you to upgrade to the latest version of the software by visiting our products page:

http://www.adobe.com/products

Your technical support case number for this interaction is:181483750

Have a nice day.

Regards,
Pramod Kumar Choudhary
Adobe Technical Support

* *  *

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 6:45:56 AM PDT
How does one save a (whether PDF or ePub) in such a way so that the text can be resized, but will NOT reflow in an eBook reader?

Does the PDF have to be saved as an image of some sort, so that the text stays locked in place?

Adam

* * *

Saturday, April 17, 2010 5:13:59 PM PDT
Hello Adam,

Thank you for contacting Adobe Support. I am Piyush working on Case ID 181534291 responding to you in reference to your Web Request posted on 04/13/2010.

I sincerely apologize for not being able to address your query/concern in a timely manner. We are currently experiencing web case volumes that are greater than anticipated. As a result, all of our customers are experiencing longer than average wait time when they contact us for assistance. We appreciate your patience in this matter while we will work together to meet your needs.

Based on the information provided by you, I understand that you want to know how to export an Indesign document to pdf or E-pub to avoid reflow of the text. I realize the importance of your concern and I will do my best to provide you with the necessary assistance.

I would like to suggest you to select High quality print whiel exporting to pdf from the pdf options and also General options Fill in the check boxes that says Embede page thumbnails and then export to pdf

If this does not provide you with the resolution you desire, please provide exact steps you are taking and error message so that we can re-create the issue here and isolate when the problem is occurring for you. I appreciate your patience while we work to provide a resolution to your issue.

Feel free to email us back for more assistance or should you wish to speak to a Technical Support agent, you can contact Adobe Technical Support and quote your Case ID number. For more information about Adobe products we have Free Technical Support
Information available 24 Hour at below links:

Support Knowledgebase: http://www.adobe.com/support/main.html

User to User forums: http://www.adobe.com/support/forums/main.html.

PLEASE NOTE: Dear Customer, we will be waiting for your reply on this case. In case you are unable to respond we will be sending you a reminder on the 2nd day (From the day of our response to you) and then the case will be auto closed on 7th day assuming your issue is resolved. However, you can reopen your case by visiting our web support portal and we will be happy to assist you further.

Regards,

Piyush

Adobe technical support

* * *

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 5:51:24 AM PDT
Hello

We have not heard from you in a while on this case and we would be interested in knowing how things are going. If you are still struggling with this, we are here to help you. Please send us any new information on this case number so that we may continue to build on the progress we have made so far.

If we don’t hear from you we will assume that your issue is resolved and we will close this case. We will wait 3 days from this notice before doing so. Remember that a case can be re-opened up to 14 days after closure.

Please open a new case for every new issue you come across so that Adobe Support Agents can give the proper time and focus to each individual problem.

Thank you.
Adobe Customer Care

* * *

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 7:01:50 PM PDT
Hello,

I made sure to check the box you suggested. From InDesign, I exported the file, and I’ve attached a screen shot so you can see exactly what the settings where when I clicked OK.

Even making sure the thumb nail box was checked, the text, when set to medium, reflows, so line breaks are lost and stanza breaks are ignored in the poems I’m reading.

The only thing I use CS4 for is to design books of poetry. It’s great, but I need to be able to set these documents so an eBook reader can’t butcher the text.

Thanks,
Adam

* * *

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 11:13:15 AM PDT
Hello Adam ,

Thanks for the reply, I would like to request you to follow the steps below to recreate Indesign CS4 preferences

InDesign:

Quit InDesign.
Drag the “Version 6.0” folder from Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Adobe InDesign/ to the desktop.
Drag the “Version 6.0” folder from Users/[username]/Library/Caches/Adobe InDesign/ to the desktop.
Restart InDesign.

Regards

Piyush

Adobe technical support

* * *

Monday, May 10, 2010 4:35:27 AM PDT
Hello

We have not heard from you in a while on this case and we would be interested in knowing how things are going. If you are still struggling with this, we are here to help you. Please send us any new information on this case number so that we may continue to build on the progress we have made so far.

If we don’t hear from you we will assume that your issue is resolved and we will close this case. We will wait 3 days from this notice before doing so. Remember that a case can be re-opened up to 14 days after closure.

Please open a new case for every new issue you come across so that Adobe Support Agents can give the proper time and focus to each individual problem.

Thank you.
Adobe Customer Care

* * *

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 6:42:07 AM PDT
Hello,
I moved the folders you suggested to the desktop, and tried again, but the problem still persists.

Maybe it’s just something with eBook reader technology. Maybe it’s just wrong because nobody thinks about poetry when they design these things. Frankly, it just strengthens the argument for print books to stay alive.

The NOOK (or any other ebook reader) is now fairly useless to me, but Adobe is essential. If you have further suggestions to get this to work, you’ll have my thanks, and from a lot of other people in the poetry community as well, I’m sure.

Peace,
Adam

* * *

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 11:15:09 AM PDT
Hello Adam ,

Thanks for the updated information, I would like to inform you that ima going to escalate this issue to the senior technicians and in the while I would suggest you to install the latest launched update for Indesign ie 6.0.5, The link is given below

http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=4668

Regards

Piyush

Adobe technical support

* * *

Thursday, July 8, 2010 9:39:57 AM PDT
Hi Adam,

I apologize for the delay in providing you a faster resolution to your issue and appreciate your patience with us.

I would like to request you to select the text frame and then convert the whole text to outines. Doing this will prevent the text to be
re-flown during the PDF or EPUB export. You are also requested to convert the complete text into outline from within InDesign CS4.

To perform this step:

Select the text frame you want to convert to outlines and then browse to Type menu and select “Create Outlines”.

Please keep in mind that once you have converted the text to outlines and exported the final PDF or EPUB, this will prevent reflow of text. However, it will make the PDF text unsearchable.

This should resolve your issue. If it does, please let us know, however in case it does not; please revert with any new information that you might want to add which will help us in resolving your issue.

To know more about Adobe products, please visit our product page:

http://www.adobe.com/products

Your technical support case number for this interaction is: 181534291

Thanks for contacting Adobe Technical Web Support and we appreciate your time spent.

Regards,
Adobe Technical support

* * *

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 2:44:04 PM PDT
Hello

We have not heard from you in a while on this case and we would be interested in knowing how things are going. If you are still struggling with this, we are here to help you. Please send us any new information on this case number so that we may continue to build on the progress we have made so far.

If we don’t hear from you we will assume that your issue is resolved and we will close this case. We will wait 3 days from this notice before doing so. Remember that a case can be re-opened up to 14 days after closure.

Please open a new case for every new issue you come across so that Adobe Support Agents can give the proper time and focus to each individual problem.

Thank you.
Adobe Customer Care

* * *

Thursday, July 15, 2010 9:32:21 AM PDT
Clearly you’re not picking up what I’m putting down. See this link for the case about poetry that I’m trying to solve.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/20 10/07/brave-new-world-e-book-edition/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Ha rrietTheBlog+%28Harriet%3A+The+Blog%29

Adam

* * *

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 11:22:49 AM PDT
Dear Adam,

Thank you for getting back to us with the required information and we appreciate your patience in helping us to resolve your issue as soon as possible.

This issue would require support from a senior level and hence I am forwarding your case to the next level of support for extensive research and to find a resolution for the problem at hand. I’ll get back to you once we receive a reply from the concerned department.

Please note that the expected turnaround time for resolution to this case from next level of support is 5 business days. I apologize for any inconvenience caused.

We are always happy to assist you however, in future if you face any technical problems with Adobe products, you may also try referring to our knowledge base & User to User forums by clicking on the following links:

KnowledgeBase: http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/search/index.cfm
U2U Forums: http://www.forums.adobe.com

To know more about Adobe products, please visit our product page:

http://www.adobe.com/products

Your technical support case number for this interaction is: 181534291

Thanks for contacting Adobe Technical Web Support. Have a nice day.

Regards,
Adobe Technical Support

* * *

Thursday, August 5, 2010 2:44:42 PM PDT
Dear Adam,

I apologize for the delay in providing you a faster resolution to your issue and appreciate your patience with us.

I would like to request you to provide us the Indesign files as well as the fonts, so that we can proceed towards the solution for the issue.

I would like to request you to please follow the below mentioned instructions to send files on eftp server:

1) Please create a folder on your desktop with the name as 181534291. (This is your technical support case no with Adobe)

2) Please put all the files to be uploaded in this particular folder.

3) Kindly log on to ftp://eftp.adobe.com

4) Please log in the the following username & password:

Username : cust-ul2

Password: (removed)

After you log in, please paste the folder created in the step 1, to this location.

Your technical support case number for this interaction is: 181534291

Thanks for contacting Adobe Technical Web Support. Have a nice day.

Regards,
Adobe Technical Support

* * *

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 8:59:42 PM PDT
Dear Adam,

We hope you are doing well.

We are concerned and would like to know whether your issue has been resolved or not after following the steps mentioned in the last email.

If we don’t hear from you we will assume that your issue is resolved and we will close this case. We will wait 3 days from this notice before doing so. Remember that a case can be re-opened up to 14 days after closure.

Please get back to us at your earliest convenience.

Thank You!

Have a nice day.

Regards,
Adobe Technical Support

* * *

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 9:46:34 PM PDT
Hello

We have not heard from you in a while on this case and we would be interested in knowing how things are going. If you are still struggling with this, we are here to help you. Please send us any new information on this case number so that we may continue to build on the progress we have made so far.

If we don’t hear from you we will assume that your issue is resolved and we will close this case. We will wait 3 days from this notice before doing so. Remember that a case can be re-opened up to 14 days after closure.

Please open a new case for every new issue you come across so that Adobe Support Agents can give the proper time and focus to each individual problem.

Thank you.
Adobe Customer Care

* * *

Monday, August 16, 2010 1:38:19 PM PDT
Hello

We have not heard from you in a while on this case and we would be interested in knowing how things are going. If you are still struggling with this, we are here to help you. Please send us any new information on this case number so that we may continue to build on the progress we have made so far.

If we don’t hear from you we will assume that your issue is resolved and we will close this case. We will wait 3 days from this notice before doing so. Remember that a case can be re-opened up to 14 days after closure.

Please open a new case for every new issue you come across so that Adobe Support Agents can give the proper time and focus to each individual problem.

Thank you.
Adobe Customer Care

* * *

Friday, August 20, 2010 12:15:00 AM PDT
Hello Adam,

Thank you for contacting Adobe tech support.

We are still awaiting your response on the support provided by us related to your Adobe product, we are eager to hear from you regarding the issue, you contacted us on and we look forward to assist you on the same. Kindly contact us again at your convenience so that we can strive to deliver the required help you may need on the issue reported.

Thank you for choosing Adobe.

Kind Regards,
Adobe Technical Support.

* * *

Friday, August 20, 2010 5:20:29 AM PDT
I can’t move forward with this case because I’ve given my eBook reader to my mother. She loves it, but she’s not reading poetry.

I’ll watch from the sidelines, as I’m sure others will complain about this, and it’ll get fixed eventually.

Thanks.

Adam

* * *

Friday, August 20, 2010 11:53:34 AM PDT
Hello

We have not heard from you in a while on this case and we would be interested in knowing how things are going. If you are still struggling with this, we are here to help you. Please send us any new information on this case number so that we may continue to build on the progress we have made so far.

If we don’t hear from you we will assume that your issue is resolved and we will close this case. We will wait 3 days from this notice before doing so. Remember that a case can be re-opened up to 14 days after closure.

Please open a new case for every new issue you come across so that Adobe Support Agents can give the proper time and focus to each individual problem.

Thank you.
Adobe Customer Care

* * *

Friday, August 20, 2010 12:26:53 PM PDT
Hello,

We have tried on two occasions to contact you and have been unable to do so, therefore we are closing this case. If you still need assistance on this case and would like to continue working on it, you may re-open it using this case number and we will continue to build on the progress we have made so far.

Thank you.
Adobe Customer Care

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17 Comments
  1. L. Deschenes permalink
    November 11, 2010 \am\30 12:18 am 12:18 am

    I will not post a huge list of InDesign CS5 –> .epub conversion problems, but a few key things for the interior designers attempting to get poetry into an .epub file:

    – InDesign .epub export strips all double carriage returns. This means every stanza break must be set by hand with a paragraph rule. Every. Single. One.

    – A paragraph style with a 0.25″ left indent and a -0.25″ first line left indent will keep wrapped lines in a poem from flushing left. This means every line in a poem must be its own paragraph instead of a soft carriage return. Have fun replacing those. All. Of. Them.

    – If you alter a Table of Content’s paragraph style at all from the paragraph rule (so that the formatting shows as “+”, the .epub ToC won’t include it due to sheer cussedness. Don’t use punctuation in paragraph style names, either. .Epub laughs at your attempts at label clarity.

    – Did I mention that .epub export strips all tab stops? Hand set all of those with paragraph rules as well. Every. Buggering. One.

    In hopes the sacrifice of my carpal tunnel may benefit others,

    Lea Deschenes
    Write Bloody Publishing Interior Designer

    • November 11, 2010 \am\30 1:06 am 1:06 am

      Lea, thank you for this!

      • L. Deschenes permalink
        November 11, 2010 \am\30 9:23 am 9:23 am

        No problem, it drives me batty that Adobe doesn’t have a good guide to what does/doesn’t fly in the export filter, forcing most of us to figure things out with brute force or trial-and-error.

        Now, if someone would put up a general style guide for eBooks (like Yale’s Web Style Guide), I would be thrilled beyond measure…

  2. November 11, 2010 \am\30 1:38 am 1:38 am

    You should be able to save poems as an image, then you won’t lose formatting. Might be a cumbersome option depending on how many pages the books are. Good luck, don’t give up, the ship is turning :)

    • November 11, 2010 \pm\30 8:34 pm 8:34 pm

      I wish it were that simple. I tried that too, but then formats are compromised when people want to view the poems in a different size. There isn’t a uniformity between the screen sizes of the devices, and that makes it difficult to know how to size the image boxes for each device. If they make the print very large, the reader would have to scroll over to see the end of the lines, then back to see the beginning of the next, and e-ink refreshes pretty slowly, so smooth scrolling doesn’t really happen.

      The variety of devices and methods of distributing to those devices makes it really difficult to make one formatted file that works well for everything.

      I sincerely believe the technology should be working to catch up with us, rather than us working to accommodate a still flawed, but improving, medium. To have it any other way is to allow us to move backwards in the reading experience. Why shouldn’t the device be able to do the simple function that paper does?

  3. November 11, 2010 \pm\30 1:26 pm 1:26 pm

    Hey guys,

    There’s just a basic misunderstanding here.

    The way that text that’s resizable is designed in most viewing mediums is to flow to the next line.

    If you want it to *not* resize and therefore *not* flow, then you save it as a PDF with JPEG compression instead of the Adobe PDF technology. This would mean that you’re essentially just looking at a frozen image (jpeg picture) on your e-reader. You wouldn’t be able to scroll through the characters with a cursor. The characters would in fact not be characters, but just a full image produced from those characters. So when you would resize, you’d essentially be zooming in on the image, and the quality might go down.

    If you’re looking for a way to tell an e-book reader to resize characters (thereby identifying them as text characters and then making the font—which must be installed on the reader—larger), but also retain line and stanza breaks, well I’m not sure if that technology exists. But if you want to keep the integrity of line breaks, why would you NOT want to keep the integrity of the native typography (font, typeface size, kerning, etc.)????? The only way to retain everything would be to produce an image. Which to me seems like a perfectly easy, reasonable, and viable way to present a poetry book in e-book format.

    I understand this case-study is of a small press and is perhaps typical of small presses and therefore relevant, but in general it’s time for small presses to get more tech savvy.

    Amazon has a lot of resources to help indie presses with Kindle publishing. The reason they do it is because they make a profit with little overhead. The poetry foundation wouldn’t make a profit and therefore is unlikely to provide online learning resources. It’d be great if other internet booksellers (that focus on indie lit and poetry) would focus more on e-books and therefore have more implicit motivation to educate the small press movement.

    • November 11, 2010 \pm\30 2:35 pm 2:35 pm

      “The poetry foundation wouldn’t make a profit and therefore is unlikely to provide online learning resources.”

      ??? The Poetry Foundation is a non-profit that exists to promote and support poetry! This is exactly the kind of stuff they’re supposed to be doing, if you believe its mission statement.

      http://www.poetryfoundation.org/foundation/about.html

      The Poetry Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. The gift from Ruth Lilly has provided the Poetry Foundation with the opportunity to expand and enhance the presence of poetry in America and has established an endowment that will allow Poetry magazine to exist in perpetuity.

      The Poetry Foundation works to raise poetry to a more visible and influential position in American culture. Rather than celebrating the status quo, the Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry. In the long term, the Foundation aspires to alter the perception that poetry is a marginal art, and to make it directly relevant to the American public

      • November 11, 2010 \pm\30 2:45 pm 2:45 pm

        That’s a good point, it is definitely in their best interest to pursue these tools. But their goasl are more abstract and therefore more likely to be guided by select elite “visionaries” than pure-n-simple metrics. SPD (another non-profit) or another book retailer could benefit financially from empowering poetry publishers with these tools. Poetry Foundation I guess could invest a fortune in attempts at educating, and then spend a fortune in market research or surveys deciding whether or not e-pubbing was pushing the cause of poetry.

    • November 11, 2010 \pm\30 8:47 pm 8:47 pm

      Hi D.W.,
      I’m sorry, but it’s not a simply matter of pdf and jpg compression. It’s more complicated because each device has different viewing sizes, and format specs.

      I can’t agree with the idea that the small press world isn’t “tech savy” enough. I believe there are a number of small presses who have more attractive books than anything from the larger houses specifically because they invest more time and understand the technology, as well as value aesthetic, more than larger presses. We trust in small journals and book publishers to make innovations in design, format, presentation, and quality because they are more invested–and often invest more–of their own time, money, attention to detail than the bigger houses. There’s far more at stake for the small/micro/nano press.

      I hate to say it, but the larger publishers don’t have this figured out either. When I got the nook, I downloaded a bunch of ebooks of poetry, and they all looked like garbage. Pages broke in awkward places, and refresh rates broke the flow. Some were just literally scans of books, but because it was a scan of a paper larger than the 6 inch screen, scrolling around the page was just not pleasant.

      I will say this: I love e-ink over an ipad’s LED, but I can’t justify reading off of one for hours at a time. Luckily, they bank on people not reading for extended periods of time.

      I hope someone comes up with something. I had high hopes for the 8.5 x 11″ Skiff e-reader, but News Corp has apparently bought them before they could release the product, so who knows what will happen with that?

      Peace,
      A.D.

      • November 11, 2010 \pm\30 10:41 pm 10:41 pm

        Hey Adam,

        It’s true, there are a bunch of different flavors. .epub, .mobi, .azw, and more.

        There’s no established standard, and that’s problematic for a lot of ways. My day job is essentially the equivalent of this stuff in the video world, which is a lot more complex, and because of the format complexities, there’s a lot of money to be made in post-production.

        So, the basic problem is in a genre that is implicitly post-production heavy (poetry formatting) but has no commercial viability, how do you afford detailed professional services, and individual treatment?

        It’s obvious that e-readers are moving towards native PDF conversion.

        Digital ink will probably never be able to do what poetry editors want it to do. Which is really alright, because digital ink treats each character democratically, as a vector character of sorts, and implicitly misses a lot of the things that poetry asks of layout.

        I don’t see anything wrong with only finishing e-books in PDF locked-image (PNG and JPEG) formats and ignoring digital ink. Poetry is, like a graphic novel, particularly interested in layout. Most of the benefits of digital ink formats just can’t be translated to poetry for that reason.

        So we can’t read proper poetry on our Nook or Kindle. True. But is that a problem? In a year all these devices will support high-resolution native PDFs (some do it already, but not very good) and the devices will have really advanced scaling features that will eliminate most of the advantages of digital ink. For now, it’s best to only master these books in PDF formats that will display beautifully on the iPad and other tablet readers.

        Advances in e-book technology due to demands from genres outside of poetry (graphic novel, magazine, and other more popular things) will likely spill over into poetry and solve many of the issues.

      • November 11, 2010 \pm\30 11:08 pm 11:08 pm

        You make a great points: we can’t read poetry the way we’d like to on ebook readers, and e-ink doesn’t look like it’ll catch up. And I’ll be damned–or, at least blind–if I try to spend a weekend with Milton on an LED. My eyes will burn out too fast.

        I’ll make it plain: I love paper books, and I want to read all my poetry books printed and bound. I want to look at the cover art, and I take time to consider paper quality in the titles Cooper Dillon makes. I also pack each one with care, and spend hours and days and weeks designing goodies to put into the envelopes. I gave my mom the nook, and she loves it.

        But not everyone in the audience shares my preference, and if being a publisher of poetry means anything, it means thinking about what the community needs, and what I have the responsibility to bring them, which often means putting my own assumptions and preferences aside. In doing so, we’ve release 5 books that challenge what I thought I wanted to read. I love each one for qualities I didn’t even know I was hungry for. I got that from reading them off the screen from the submission box, so maybe there is hope for the digitized print.

        I’ll have traditional books for those who want them. When technology and design find a common ground, I might not read the ebooks, but I’ll be happy to provide them for everyone who wants to enjoy the work we stand behind.

  4. November 11, 2010 \pm\30 2:59 pm 2:59 pm

    I think the PF’s goals are pretty straight forward and concrete. Sometimes its methods are a bit mind boggling, but what its trying to accomplish is not.

    The problem with bringing up the capitalism aspect is that while eBooks could really help out struggling poetry presses and poets, it’s still going to be a teeny blip in the midst of all the other eBook sales, so pursing it in terms of “simple metrics” is always going to be the short stick for poetry.

    eBooks are evolving, really quickly, right now — who is speaking on behalf of poetry to the software developers and eBooks manufacturers? Why is it so difficult to conceive that as the publishing software and hardware improve and change, that allotments for texts that needs special formatting be included? Why are we all so quick to throw up our hands and go “yep, poetry is screwed again” or “Hey, if these 1 and 2 person publishing shops can’t figure how to convert their books on their own, tough cookies for them and all their poets!” Why are we so quick to assume that The Poetry Foundation, with its mission statement, money, staff, influence, position couldn’t possibly do something to help out hundreds of poetry presses and thousands of poets? Or that they wouldn’t want to?

    • November 11, 2010 \pm\30 3:12 pm 3:12 pm

      I don’t think I’ve made any of those statements. I think that while we can appeal to Poetry Foundation, it’s more in the interest of the non-profit SPD to pursue this. SPD does in fact have a significant stake in poetry sales. And a much more direct stake than the Poetry Foundation, who constantly talk about their goals of pushing poetry to the world, but mostly keep their resources behind closed doors.

      Maybe the best solution would be for the Poetry Foundation to financially support a company that already has the knowledge and infrastructure?

      • November 11, 2010 \pm\30 3:46 pm 3:46 pm

        I think it’s heavily in everyone mentioned best interest to pursue this–and I hear your point about the PF keeping it’s resources behind closed doors. That seems be the prevailing perception among other poets who have discussed this issue with me. I wouldn’t want to suggest that they spend any more money on something like a focus group, but they appear to have a serious PR problem. But this doesn’t change the fact that this clearly is something in their self-defined domain. They are in a better position than to just write articles about all the poetry presses struggling with eBooks. Clearly they recognize the problem. Can they do something/anything about it? Should they? Surely past questionable decisions should not preclude them from doing something worthwhile now.

  5. November 11, 2010 \pm\30 5:16 pm 5:16 pm

    Reb,

    I’ve been checking out http://www.smashwords.com to see if they would be a good choice for e-books of any sort, including poetry, and they may be a solution for the publishing and distributing. They format the books for Sony Reader, Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, iPhone, iPad, pc, and others. You still may need to resolve the PDF file issues, jpeg or not. D.W. is at least right in poets and poetry presses needing to get more tech savvy. The Poetry Foundation might hire a techie to run a workshop–online would be perfect–that would include their own employees and address e-book formats.

    Also, I think that the e-book’s multi-media dimensions are overlooked, and it shouldn’t have to be only about reproducing the book for the electronic device, rather to think about what the device accommodates. A publisher already exploring these ideas for oroginal e-books might be the person to next engage in an info gathering conversation. That kind of publisher may also be the kind to do “reprints” (posts-of-prints?).

    • November 11, 2010 \pm\30 6:01 pm 6:01 pm

      From what I understand, from what other poetry publishers who have tried are saying, it’s more than publishers needing to become tech savvy (which I certainly agree is something that needs to be done). It’s either impossible to correctly format lineation/breaks/spacing etc., or very difficult and time consuming. This is what publishers who I have spoken with have said and this is what the reporting from The Poetry Foundation (as well as other places) are stating.

      So I think at the moment it’s more than poetry publishers needing to take a class or read a manual. There needs to be an engagement with the developers of eBooks. This is an engagement that individual presses will be hard pressed to get.

      I have not used Smashwords, but am aware of it — have any poetry publishers tried it? In the poetry section, I don’t see any names that recognize to contact. As stated in article at the Poetry Foundation — I have only had one book converted by Lulu and was not satisfied with the experience.

      Several people have said that it’s possible to format poetry for eReaders, but when pressed, nobody has been able to show me an example. I’ll share the call here. If somebody can properly format these two poems so they correctly appear on my NOOK–send me the ePub file and tell me how you did it — I will give you free books. Seriously. I want to know how it’s done and what exactly goes into it.

      http://tinyurl.com/33sdpne

      http://tinyurl.com/37yfgs7

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